28 Jan 2015

Get involved early

Our recent debates over naming have served

28 Jan 2015

Our recent debates over naming have served as a good reminder of the diversity of opinions in this community. As an example, in the midst of the naming process, we would receive contradictory emails from members. “Three names is too much, you should just propose one name and let’s go for it” wrote one member a few minutes before another member told us: “we have to vote on all names, that’s the most democratic.” At every step of the way, we got contradictory feedback. On the same evening, I spent 1.5 hours on the phone with a member who passionately defended a specific name that another member had, one hour earlier, called “pathetic.” Even with the three names the Branding Committee had proposed, opinions diverged: “I personally like Wayfare a lot” wrote someone on the Facebook group, before another responded: “I don’t get it.” Some loved the “warmth” of Canopy, others find it “bland.” Some loved the symbolism behind One/Thousand, others thought it was “elitist.”

Those differences partly result from the diversity of our individual experiences within this community. Some hubs have tight-knit groups of members who meet on a weekly basis; others only meet a few times a year. Some members are surrounded by their closest friends in the community; others are alone in their hub. Some members travel the world to create bonds of friendship across borders; others rarely attend local dinners. Some members consider our community as a place for authenticity and growth; others leverage it largely as a professional network. As a result, everybody comes to the table with different expectations. It’s heartening to see so many members care deeply about the direction we are taking. At the same time, it’s important to keep this diversity in mind in our discussions and acknowledge that (as another member highlighted) “we will never be able to satisfy everyone.”

As a transition board, sensitivity to this diversity of thought is our primary mission. We do not feel empowered to make decisions on behalf of the community. Rather, we seek to listen to those who want to provide their input, and facilitate a discussion as well as a decision-making process based on those inputs. Process seems to us to be the most important word here. To transcend the diversity of thought our community represents, a collaboratively-designed process becomes our collective ally. Only by agreeing on a process ahead of time can we then move beyond our differences and agree on the outcome, even if we disagree with the outcome at face value.

Moving forward, we’d like to extend an opportunity for every member to get more involved in the initial stages of decision-making – when we’re determining the process. Once the process is engaged, we are charged with taking the community forward following that process. In the interest of rest of the membership as well as time, it becomes difficult (even unfair) for us to change the process in favor of individual suggestions. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be suggesting processes to move forward on by-laws and governance, and we’d like to invite everyone to join the conversation early in the game. As we post, please use the comments section or drop by town halls to ask questions and contribute. If you can’t join in (for whatever reason), please trust your fellow One/Thousand members who did.

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