I’ve grown up reading Tom Clancy and probably most of you have at least seen Red October, so this book caught my eye when browsing used books for a recent trip. It’s a fairly human look at what’s involved in sailing on a Trident missile submarine…
Today PASS released a bunch of stuff for the upcoming election including the attributes of an “ideal candidate”. We put in quite a bit of time on that description, in part because people often ask “am I ready” and in part because it is the next step in doing a better job of qualifying candidates (and someday, in providing training to help those candidates prepare).
I hope you’ll understand that this “ideal” is a dream and a goal, but not a requirement. We’re never going to have perfect candidates, nor do I think we necessarily described the attributes that a perfect candidate might have, or even think a candidate that is less than our ideal may not serve exceedingly well. We just tried to write something that would help someone prepare to serve successfully and by success I mean both serving the members well and being able to look back on it as positive experience.
We simplified the application, not to reduce the time required (though it probably does take a little less), but to ask questions that mattered, either to the NomCom or the voters. Some are to guarantee a pre-requisite is met, but many are there to be “question generators” during the oral interviews and public interactions during the campaign. The application is one good way to compare candidates side by side. Is it perfect? Nope, but I think better than it was. Think about it as we vet candidates this year, what else can we reasonably ask them to provide that helps you make your decision?
We also left in, at least for this year, the somewhat ambiguous language around what Chapters can do to stump for (or not) candidates. That ambiguity is in my mind a mistake from the last time I served on the NomCom. I advocated for the change but not for the communication and discussion needed to make it work without confusion. We were reluctant to do too much change this year (and so repeat that mistake), but it’s an area that still needs much thought. It’s not simple, at least to me.
I think we’ve done good work, thoughtful work, but once again we’re doing that work behind a wall. The Board will review and approve our changes, but that’s far from having a public discussion before those changes are submitted. I have been and remain uncomfortable with the NomCom reviewing and revising rules, potentially each year. That’s not to attack anyone involved or question their ethics, I just don’t think its good governance to not have public discussion of changes. More than that, I fear, for lack of a better word, that future NomCom’s will not appreciate the subtleties or goals of some of the rules and will do wholesale rewrites. We need a system that allows change, that responds to issues, but doesn’t allow big changes without significant member input.
If you’re reading this I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through the link at the top, then think about who you know that is ready, or close to ready, to run for the Board, and contact them. A bit of encouragement can go a long way.