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How Will You Handle Suggestions From the Members?
Last Post 25 Sep 2013 08:25 AM by Richard Douglas. 6 Replies.
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Andy Warren
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23 Sep 2013 04:36 PM  
Candidates, a few weeks back I posted a list of suggestions(http://sqlandy.com/2013/09/my-2013-...ami-list/) that I thought might benefit PASS. As a Board member you're going to get a lot of suggestions, some good and some bad, some doable and some not. I'd like to hear how you'll evaluate and respond to suggestions if you're elected. As a follow up, please comment on one suggestion from my list that you would support and one that you would NOT support.

Thanks for running for the Board!
Amy Lewis
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24 Sep 2013 03:16 PM  
Hi Andy,

Love the question. One thing I feel the sqlpass.org site is missing is a "Give us your Feedback" page where the community can give feedback and suggestions like you have done in your great blog post. This will help centralize the large amounts of suggestions and be a central place to keep feedback. I would like to see a use of a tool, like UserVoice or another crowd sourcing type tool in this area throughout all of the sites (VC sites, local chapters, SQLSaturdays, etc)

Every suggestion would be evaluated on applicability to the PASS org., on the practical limitations and costs of implementing vs the benefits to be received. Organizationally I would ask 3 or 4 fellow PASS members (BOD members and non-BOD Members) to review the suggestion and give me input regarding their opinion regarding the suggestions over all value.

You have A TON of great ideas and suggestions in your blog (http://sqlandy.com/2013/09/my-2013-...mi-list/).

Suggestion I would support: (hard to chose just one) Portfolios + Committees
This suggestion ties very much into my leadership style. I tend to use a collaborative leadership style. I like to gather people around me to help solve problems and to get input from various organization elements so that many people will have a stake in the success of any selected solution to a problem. A good example of this today is the Programs Portfolio. Adam Jorgensen is the BOD owner of the portfolio. He also had involved BOD Member JRJ in the BAC Programs committee as well as Thomas LaRock. He also has great community involvement with the program managment team (now, more than just 1 position). This has proven to be extremely successful in both the Summit and BAC Program Teams.

Suggestion I would NOT support: Change Officers to a One Year Term
I do not believe 1 year is enough time for an officer or BOD member to make a solid and effective impact. Yes, he/she can get a lot done in that short period of time. Using the above example - it takes some time to develop a team, to get the creative processes flowing in the team, and to deliver impactful change.

-Amy

Want to learn more about Amy? Please check out the below links:
Candidate Page: http://www.sqlpass.org/Elections/Ca...Lewis.aspx
Board Application: http://www.sqlpass.org/LinkClick.as...&mid=18041
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amy-lew...9/47b/Edit
Ami Levin
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24 Sep 2013 03:49 PM  
Hi Andy,

I'm copying the relevant section of my reply to Rick (http://www.sqlpass.org/Elections/Di...fault.aspx ) that deals with the question of how I believe member ideas should be handled:

"... There are hundreds of community leaders who also demonstrate exceptional commitment and vision. There are more than a hundred thousands members, many of which have brilliant ideas and a much needed fresh vision.

I believe we should focus on establishing a well-defined process and communication channels between PASS and all its members to share and discuss ideas and how to get those ideas to the board for action.
A feedback page like Amy suggested is a great channel.
However, I think that the channels are not enough. You can't have the board seriously consider each and every idea and therefore we need a well-defined process to filter and prioritize those ideas.

At the risk of going into over-detail, I think the first elimination phase should be completely up to PASS members. The ideas can be discussed over any of the channels and then voted upon. We can then have a committee review and refine the selected ideas. It should also perform the initial research. The committee will in turn deliver to the board of directors a well-documented, broad scoped analysis of the facts to make the decision making cycle quick and efficient..."


I read your very interesting suggestions carefully. I think you have some real gems in the rough there which I would love to see come true. Some of them are already part of my campaign (http://amilevin.com/?page_id=13). I really liked your last point "Dream Bigger Dreams & Do More Good For the Member.". Unlike the others, it deals with a mind-set and not a practical action item but I agree that having this mind-set will affect each and every one of the action items.
I second Amy for the non-supported item. I think that a one year term is too short for optimal officer performance.

Thanks again,

Ami Levin

My Campaign Page: http://www.amilevin.com
My LinkedIn Page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/levinami/
Neil Hambly
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24 Sep 2013 04:19 PM  
Hi Andy
Finding some time to go through and provide answers to these great election questions, so having had a look at your excellent list I have chosen one I feel particularly passionate about and that is providing a better platform for all our speakers @ PASS events, this would also include finding and nurturing new speaker talent and helping with feedback on existing speakers and allowing them to improve their skills @ presenting

•Speaker Bureau. This a project I started and then had to give back because I had too much on my plate (a good decision then, but it still remains undone). I want one place to manage my events, my presentations, and my evals. SQLSaturday has made it easier, but it needs to be moved up the tree so that it one system works for all events

and one for not supporting {ask you asked} off you list would be this one

•License the PASS logos. Think of this as a follow on to the Store idea, let’s make the logos available to craftspeople everywhere – think of what we might find on Etsy if we did this! Maybe it all gets sold through the store, maybe there a licensing fee, I don’t know

Not sure what real impact it would have to PASS revenues and maybe it would seem less of a community focused organisation and more corporate by charging for license fees for the use of Logo

Neil Hambly

This was the one I felt we should be able to develop a solid platform for both speakers and organizers to find each other and collaborate
Andy Warren
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25 Sep 2013 04:54 AM  
Neil, I probably wrote it badly, but my intent behind the licensing was not to generate revenue (it might add up to a $1k or so a year if I had to guess), but to control how the logos are used. I don't know if the world is ready for PASS branded thongs! Licensing would make sure that PASS thought the use of the logo was appropriate and that the item being offered 'appeared' (no guarantees) to be of reasonable quality. Would that approach change your mind on that suggestion?
Allen Kinsel
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25 Sep 2013 05:43 AM  
Andy,

This one is a place where PASS processes let the community down.,. We pay for a great tool to do crowdsourced ideas/suggestions in uservoice http://feedback.sqlpass.org/forums/...ummit-2012 We should implement this concept across the PASS site, draw attention to it often and integrate it into what we as a PASS community do. That would help a lot with corralling the ideas into one place. To answer your direct question though, for me personally, anytime I hear an idea about PASS that I find interesting I write in down in a notebook or onenote whichever is handy. Ill usually follow up from there and occasionally interesting things happen (like ½ day sessions at the PASS Summit)

One thing from your list Id support in a heartbeat is the company store idea. This is so overdue and such a no brainer it hurts. Given the maturity of online shops that do custom printing like zazzle and cafepress I don’t know why this isnt already done. I still remember buying and proudly wearing my first PASS shirt at the 2004 Summit

One I would be very reluctant to see implemented is changing the officer’s terms to a year. I think this does encourage them to see things in a very short term view plus, what I’d really like to see is officers stand for an actual election (another on your list). Those two things really wouldn’t mix well, an election cycle takes a lot of time and energy and to ask them to do that every year wouldn’t be in the best interests of the organization.

More information about me and my platform can be found on my site
http://www.allenkinsel.com/pass-election
Richard Douglas
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Posts:11

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25 Sep 2013 08:25 AM  
Hi Andy,

Thanks for yet another interesting question.

As well as providing a suggestion that I would say "yes" to and another to say "no" to, I would like to add a third "Really, this isn't happening already?"

Let's start with the "really"

Five and Ten Year Plans. Most successful businesses do this, we should too. No one can predict the future, but it’s useful to have a roadmap based on what you want to happen. Revisit every year or every other year.

I find it incredulous that given the reputations of people on the board that this isn't already in place. I am sure that some of this must be happening in order to secure financial stability for the organization.


Yes)
All of the board wants growth, but to be able to grow we require extra funds to change our infrastructure and invest in tools and services that will allow us to grow at a sustainable rate. To reach that end I shortlisted two suggestions from what is a very good list. These are:

PASS/Community Store. This was something I tried to get done in my first term on the Board and just couldn’t get done (as silly as that sounds). It’s funny that I have far more SQLSaturday branded items and apparel than I do PASS. I like wearing SQL stuff and I’m happy to promote the PASS brand where I can – and I’m willing to pay for some stuff to do it!

and

Consider Moving PASS Inc to Delaware. We pay a lot of taxes each year, we should take a look at moving to state with a lower tax burden than Illinois.

The second shortlist suggestion sounds like it could save more money than the first could make in a year, however not being a US citizen I am not aware of the finer details that such a move would involve and so could not give an unequivocal yes. For this reason I would say yes to the first in the shortlist.

Why did I choose this? The community loves SQL apparel and there are many sites out there such as Cafepress that will do the hard work for you. Whilst it is easier to set up the profits will not be so great, you would also run the risk of other copying you and losing potential revenue. For this reason an online store would provide greater returns but would require more initial work in terms of finding suppliers affordable shipping and administration processes. I take on board the logo suggestion which would probably need to be incorporated as part of the project and look forward to PASS branded kilts and onesies at next years summit/

No)
Denise has the following question on the forums about how we would approach saying "no" to a good idea:

PASS has a lot of passionate and creative people with many good ideas. Like all organizations we have finite resources, which means we can't do everything we want to do.One of the hardest things about being on the Board is saying "no" to a good idea. How would you approach that aspect of the job?

With that in mind I have picked the following suggestion, so let's see how this goes...

SQLSaturday in Every State/Country. Tell me why we aren’t having at least one event in every US state? What about every country? PASS Board, you want to see a vision for growth, here it is.

Thank you for your idea Andy, however at the time we do not have the infrastructure or the finances in place in order to be able to undertake a task of the magnitude to which you are suggesting at this moment in time.

In order to clarify why this is not possible we need to look at the constantly changing landscape of world affairs. A quick internet search provides a number of different answers to the number of countries that exist ranging from 189 to 196 (The US State Department recognizes 194 according to http://www.worldatlas.com/nations.htm). This is a large number of events that would require more administrative staff with specific language and cultural skills than we presently have. It could also place a great financial burden on not only PASS but our sponsors which may detract from existing planned events on the calendar.

As a long term goal the vision is noteworthy, but I think we need to make this a staged approach. If you would permit me here is how I think we can turn the suggestion into a more reasonable and sustainable growth plan:

1. Make a prioritized list of languages that we feel would increase membership.
2. Create a new virtual chapter for each of the top 5 languages.
3. Report on engagement numbers and see if there are any volunteers in those regions that would be willing to either help lead or provide translation skills for organizing physical events.
4. Plan to hold 1 - 2 SQL Rally size events per year in each continent outside of the US where we have language support within the next n (possibly 3) years.
5. Revisit and reassess step 1 based upon outcome of growth and engagement of step 4 every year.

I hope that you understand the rationale behind the decision and would love to hear further input from you on this matter.
Thank you for your continued support of the community.

Regards,
Rich
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