This time last year, I was nominated for the Apache Board of Directors, and I wasn’t very keen on it. I was on the down-swing of getting burned out with ASF stuff, which comes every few years of any volunteer effort, no matter how much you believe in the mission of the organization. It does one good to step back from it every few years.
I made a rather half-hearted position statement that basically said: “all of the people on the ballot are great, and any board chosen randomly from this slate will be great.” I wasn’t elected to the board.
However, midway through the term, there were some resignations, and I found myself on the board again.
This time around, I am much more passionate about it and have actually made an attempt to state what I think the board needs. In short, it’s more delegation.
We have arrived at the size where we must delegate, trust those to whom we delegate, and resist the urge to tinker in the minutiae. This is very, very hard, and is especially hard for our current slate of directors, because we are all so deeply passionate about the mission of the Foundation.
Non-profit and volunteer-based organizations have the tendency to rely on heroes – people who take on 90% of the work, rather than delegating. The thing with heroes is that they are awesome as long as they are around. But eventually, they burn out, or retire, or move on to other things, and then suddenly you have a crisis. We need to find a way to identify areas where one person is doing a disproportionate amount of the work, and find a way to delegate that work to several other people, and then be willing to let them do the work, even when we think they’re not doing it exactly the way we’d do it ourselves.
The election of the new board will happen at the ASF members meeting on March 28th. And whether or not I’m elected, I have my work cut out for me in the coming year at Apache. There’s just so much to do.