Hello, Here are the Meeting Notes for the Nov. 16, Nuts and Bolts meeting at the Wright Street Resource Center. Please look them over and insert any comments. We look forward to getting your feedback.
At the next Nuts and Bolts meeting, we will be focusing on defining work groups. We need a facilitator and a recorder for that meeting. As soon as possible, I think we also need to create a shared mission statement for Nuts and Bolts. This will focus the group’s purpose.
Maybe, ask everyone to write a mission statement and bring it to a future meeting.
Thanks, Chris Terbrueggen
Meeting Notes for Nuts and Bolts meeting- Nov. 16, 2010
Facilitator: Michael Pettit
Notes taker: Chris Terbrueggen
Introduction of facilitator. Michael Pettit
Overview of meeting program. Scratch paper distributed to record questions raised by presentations or other comments
Introductions - All attending share name, role in TM thus far, and what they hope to get out of this meeting.
Review of last Nuts and Bolts meeting:
Michael: By the end of the last Nuts and Bolts meeting we had agreed to have a viewing of the Starhawk Webinars and that our top priorities of issues to address were:
1) General Policies and procedures of TM
2) How to create better tools or improve on existing tools for member interaction.
3) Education and public outreach strategy
4) How to begin the public “visioning” process. (refer to upcoming branding meeting for 3 and 4)
Michael Reviewed Starhawk webinar, Part 1:
How does the five-fold meeting structure concept apply to this and other meetings?
1) Consensus is NOT an organizational structure.
2) Different decision making processes are needed for different types of meetings/groups.
We did not Review Consensus and modified consensus and how it applies to TM
Chris asked why we are not having an open discussing about Starhawks’ webinar content as we agreed to do at the last Nuts and Bolts meeting. Chris would like to know each person’s perspective on how practical consensus decision-making is in an organization with 300 members.
Michael tabled the question and moved to the next topic.
Just wanted to comment here, by way of explanation for all those who may have been disappointed or confused at the fact that this was not explored in greater detail at this meeting.- I decided that since we already have scheduled meeting times dedicated to viewing and discussing these webinars, that it would be of greater value to explore and experiment with including elements of the consensus process directly, as a part of this meeting's structure. This is why I only provided a cursory review of this topic and then moved on to topics which it seemed to me were of higher priority to address, in the minds of those who spoke out at the last Nuts and Bolts meeting.
TOPIC 1: Intragroup communications policy:
Michael’s Discussion point #1:
Adjustments are needed in the way online communications system operates to create greater functionality and usability by group members and facilitators. Example: Facilitators of meetings involving whole group or specific areas of action should have the ability to invite members who they feel are most invested in the topic of the meeting. Asked for other examples.
Member Comments: We are not using Ning to its full potential. We need to gather together some tech experts, unskilled users and Web developers. Christie said we need to provide some formal training on Ning site.
Dan Felix said there are many challenges with the Transition Milwaukee website, Ning, that need to be addressed. Dan said that he would work with Takis Kinis to form a team to investigate different online communication tools, like Droople on Transition US and Joomlah, content management software. http://www.joomla.org/
Barb: Some details about the website team still need to be worked out. Like who is going to be on the team. No timeline or deadline or arrangements for reporting back on this was established.
Michael’s Discussion point #2:
Tools for member interaction: Simple information sheet should be created for all incoming members, stating – Who is on the steering committee and what resource or function each holds for the group. How the NING site is designed to work with the group. (facilitating personal connections) what are the general policies of TM as an organization? What is the nature of the leadership structure of TM?
What are TM main areas of focus? Info sheet for new members, detailing policy and procedures already defined. Where to get literature. Who runs website. Responsibilities of members and work group leaders.
Member’s Comments: Erik said it is important to define or explain what it means to be a member of Transition Milwaukee. Jess said many members have an online presence, but not a public presence. It is important to create movement and initiate action. Sarah said Ning members can not e-mail groups. The original e-mail does not contain the message. You have to login to see it. Comments from other participants: Administrators on the Ning site can e-mail members. Members cannot e-mail specific Admin. Debra said its difficult to connect different levels of involvement on Ning. Jess supports using technology for decisions. Like Polls. Barb said the Ning site is more like a Facebook site. Technology is a small aspect of communication. Meetings need to be face to face. Christie said Transition Milwaukee has created online communication guidelines. They are posted on the Yahoo website. During the discussion an idea emerged that the outreach group would create information familiarizing Newcomers with the structure of the organization as well as names, emails and phone numbers of Steering Committee members would be collected in one place and given to new and or existing members. Sarah Moore or Christie suggested that Natalie would do this. No actual decision was made on this. Sarah said I think Christie said she would make up a simple sheet/list who is on the SC committee etc, who to contact for basic issues.
TOPIC 2: Defining policy for leadership roles and public communications.
Barb said she would like to see (notes, minutes, documents) collected by the steering committee and founders of transition Milwaukee should be collected and published for all to see. Far as I know, no decision on this was made and no one accepted the responsibility of accomplishing this task.
Chris said that he would create a Nuts and Bolts Group page on Ning to post agendas and minutes. It has been created, but we need to collectively write a shared mission statement for Nuts and Bolts so that we are all on the same page.
Michael recommended that TM establishes a monthly news letter. Broadcasts minutes of all central organizational meetings- Steering Committee, Nuts and Bolts. What other? It was suggested by Michael and Jess that a monthly digest or newsletter be created to inform Transition members about strategies, structure and possibly events coming up in an effort to coordinate events a bit better so that they were not all scheduled for the same day. Jess said he would be a public relations medium. We did not decide on who was going to head it up. No actual decision was made.
There was also a discussion about creating a clear policy for broadcasting events on the Ning website to the 300 members. Hub meeting, Nuts and Bolts and Reskilling have been using it. The Water Working Group has not been permitted to use the Ning Event Broadcasting Tool by members of the Steering Committee. Sarah and Chris agreed that it needs to be a future agenda item in Nuts and Bolts.
Michael recommended that Group establishes written policy, expected procedures, and operational boundaries for specific roles, defines expectations. Acceptor of specific role or leadership position signs a simple agreement to abide by the stated guidelines. Decision not to abide by guidelines then constitutes refusal of responsibilities for the defined role or duty. Officer is removed from this role and group as a whole is informed of this decision. No final decision was made on this item.
Michael Recommended: Steering Committee: Define the state of operations that would indicate there is no longer the need for the steering committee to exist. I think it is valuable to add here that an answer to this question was stated and confirmed, to the effect that the Steering Committee foresees disbanding at the point that the defined work groups have firmly established their focus and process, and can function effectively without the need for direct leadership or assistance from the Steering Committee. Then, a core group would be formed, made up of representatives (1) from each of the work groups.- as per the described Transition model of development. Use [this assumed structure of process] to establish a rational hierarchy of ideas and goals needed to reach this state of planned demise. Larger defined goals, in turn define group agenda and inform project ideas. Group needs define roles for individuals.
Barb shared Transition Wiki document with Nuts and Bolts members that defined Steering Group’s function.
TOPIC 3: Defining overall operational structure for TM
Michael : Group question: How does TM frame its mission and work focus in a way that allows outside organizations to collaborate and make reference to Transition as a larger effort which they identify with and contribute to, without feeling subsumed by TM?
Erik said TM should put qualifications in place, before allowing a member to participate in developing a mission and Vision for Transition Milwaukee. No final decision was made on this item.
A discussion emerged about work groups. The Water Working Group is the only official work group of Transition Milwaukee. Participants asked Questions like what defines a work group. Barb asked if there was enough structure in place to keep work groups alive. Erik said in the past work groups left because there was not enough people to keep them going. Members decided to focus on defining work groups at the next Nuts and Bolts meeting. Sarah said I am not sure what Erik meant but I thought many agreed that groups didn't really leave but just became thier own groups, Ie time bank, vgi, cream city hens is the group that has really floundered and needs our help but leaders/members have not reached out to us much either, realized what a resource we are of new energy. VGI and time bank still gets new members from TM all the time.
Michael's Suggestion: Action oriented, community based structure. Group tracks progress on all fronts- movement towards resilience/sustainability (in positive numbers) Manages resources and training/education, and communications within itself and other groups. Maintain base of operations at Wright Street Resource Center, to receive new members and direct to needed resources. (refer to analogy of Theater as a mission-based structure) Time did not allow for me to describe what I meant by this, but refers to the idea that a theater group is an organization in which the written script is the ultimate director of any production, and all efforts within the group refer to the goal of communicating that script to its audience as its ultimate guideline and directional focus. Leadership roles are then defined by level of expertise in accomplishing the tasks needed to achieve this goal, and separated into departments related to specific aspects of the overall production. It was my intention to suggest visualising our group's organizational structure in terms of this analogy, thinking of the Transition Handbook as our "script". (offered as an alternative to a traditional hierarchical leadership structure.)
Define mission in terms of goals and challenges-
What do we want people to be able to do?; What methods of getting needs met do we want to be possible for people in the event of collapse?
At the conclusion of the meeting, we did not set a date for the next Nuts and Bolts meeting and we did not select a facilitator. This is a question we should not hesitate to get feedback on. If we are to have a Nuts and Bolts meeting in December, and if it is going to be at WSRC again, group should be aware that the second Tuesday of the month will ALWAYS conflict with RNA meeting time, and is not a good choice. This means we are left with Dec. 7th and Dec. 21st to choose from.
Michael said he was open to facilitating the next Nuts and Bolts meeting, but if someone else want to do it, I won't mind at all. In general I think it is good for everyone to take a turn at it, to practice and develop our facilitation skills and assume a greater sense of personal responsibility for moving things forward. Any volunteers?