Creating the Future is preparing to recruit new board members!
This is an exciting step for us, as we design a recruitment process that can live on as the organization grows and changes.
As with all things at Creating the Future, we are employing Catalytic Thinking to guide this process. Our conversation began at our February board meeting (find a summary of that conversation here). In March, we continued the conversation (you can watch or listen to that discussion here). The following is a summary of that second conversation.
What will our recruitment make possible for Creating the Future?
In our first discussion about recruitment, we focused on what the process could make possible for possible recruits, as well as others whose lives would be touched by our efforts. During this current discussion, we looked inward, asking what the process will make possible for Creating the Future as an organization.
– The infusion of different life experiences, cultures, perspectives will help us to act with integrity, while regular involvement of others will help us to reflect changing social attitudes and values.
– The process will also force us to continually articulate our thinking to others, which is a good discipline / practice
– There’s also a quantitative element – more of us is better – different people, different ideas and perspectives
– It makes the board more joyful and interesting
– More ambassadors telling the story of our work
– Diversity is deeply embedded in our values. More intentional inclusion of BIPOC people models the benefits of having a diverse board
– Adding new people can push the board into areas where there may not be an easy answer, where thinking is emergent, where there is discomfort. That will help us to identify new practice / ways of being
– The recruitment process itself as a learning process for those who are already on the board, listening for feedback on how / whether we are walking our talk
– Our mission – bringing together people who are in a position to disrupt systems and create change. That position could be “positional authority” as a manager / administrator / positional leader within an organization or company, or the disruptive power of people in community leading from the middle – no positional authority, yet huge power to effect change.
– Recruitment forces us to clarify… how will the integrity board work? How will decision-making work, given the structure we have designed where decisions are made by those closest to the decision? How will our “compliance” role be implemented? (Perhaps a small group taking on the compliance role?)
– Accomplishing our mission of systems change – more people learning to disrupt systems as a result of the board’s practice of Catalytic Thinking
Conditions for Success: What would people joining the board need to know, in order for those outcomes to be realized? What would they need to feel? What would they need to be assured of?
Recruits to the board (and existing board members!) would need to know / feel / be assured of the following, in order to realize our potential.
– What do we mean by integrity?
– What am I responsible for? What will be expected of me?
– How much time will I be asked to commit?
– Is there an expectation that I will be asked to make a donation?
– What is Creating the Future? What are our programs, what do we do towards accomplishing our mission?
– How do I participate on an equal level? How do we include people who might feel a bit over-awed by us? (Not hubris, a reality we’ve experienced).
– Know and feel: We want your whole voice (vs. group think). Ask challenging questions. Feel safe contributing with your whole self
– Know: This board’s job is to think things through. This is not an “action” / “doing” board. As an intermediary organization, our focus is influencing the thinking that guides social change. The board’s role in “integrity” is to think things through, to explore possibilities, to consider what our values look like in action.
What would BIPOC people joining the board need to know / feel / be assured of?
– They are not going to be token appointments. We are recruiting for the person and their life experience, not to tick a box
– ‘Why me?’ and ‘What do you think that I am bringing?’
– We acknowledged the importance of getting women of color onto the board as a next step. No more white board members (and no more men) until progress is made re: inclusion on the board. The suggestion that we bring on 3 women of color in a block – a condition for their own success, not feeling alone / feeling they have community / support / encouragement to bring their life experience and insights to this work.
Taking Action – Next steps for creating those conditions for success
Acknowledging the importance of focusing on human qualities vs. qualifications and position, we categorized the qualities we are seeking into 3 questions:
1) What qualities must every board member have?
2) What qualities would it be nice if some board members have, but not everyone needs to have that?
3) What qualities do we never want to see in our board members?
“Must have” qualities:
– Passion for the mission of systems change
– Time for attending meetings once/month for two hours, the 2nd Monday of the month
– Spirit of exploration (vs. “this is how you do it” / know it all / expert)
– Strong social justice focus
– Team player
– Willingness to explore their own personal integrity / alignment of walk and talk
– Commitment to the values that guide our work
“Would Be Nice” Qualities:
– People who are already working to disrupt systems
“Never in a Million Years” Qualities:
– People who want to keep things as they are – white moderates
– Know-it-alls / “experts” giving advice
At our April meeting, we will design recruitment and orientation processes that create those conditions for success – as well as the conditions for success noted during our February meeting. And then we will begin inviting people to join us on the board. To be part of that process-design session, join us in April!