Mr. Wolfe Goes to Washington

MWGTW13

An important - and amazing - decision

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This past November, in one of its most important decisions in decades, CSI's Board of Directors unanimously approved a recommendation to restructure the Board. The most obvious difference would be a change in size from twenty-nine members to twelve, but related changes will be just as significant if not as visible.

I am not going to try to explain the recommendation in this article; you will have ample opportunity to read about it, ask questions, and discuss it online. Furthermore, I am not going to try to convince you that we made the right decision, except in a roundabout fashion. Instead, I want to explain to you how amazing this event is, and to impress upon you the significance of the unanimous decision.

Unanimous decisions are anything but common in CSI Board meetings. The only time they can happen is when an issue is clearly defined, the proposed solution is well prepared, and the recommendation is supported by overwhelming evidence.

Despite what you may have been told, we do have politics in CSI, and the Board definitely is not a rubber-stamping body. In the first half of my three-year term, we have had many spirited debates. In some cases, the executive committee was split almost evenly; other times, as one reasonably would expect, a majority supported one view. Unanimity, even within this smaller part of the entire Board, is a rarity. When the full Board discusses an issue, some directors will support an executive committee recommendation, while others will oppose it. There are no permanent alliances; directors will support one officer's view on one issue, and oppose that same officer on another. With rotation of officers and directors on a two- or three-year schedule, it is difficult to believe that anyone would be able to continually convince a majority of Board members to support a position that is contrary to the best interest of the Institute.

So what does all that mean? Simply this: a unanimous decision by the Board cannot be anything but a response to a convincing argument, one that persuades all officers and directors, regardless of where they come from, when they joined the Board, or who their friends are. The same group that has passionately argued different aspects of many issues considered this recommendation, debated it, and agreed to support it. As noted in an earlier MWGTW, directors do not represent regions to the Board; directors and officers alike act in what they see as the best interest of the Institute. We may have politics, but we don't have a pork barrel to influence our judgment.

I know this sounds like a "trust me" message, and in a sense it is - but please don't just accept it as that. Read the whole recommendation, and think about the purpose of a board of directors. Talk to your chapter, region, and Institute leaders, and post your questions on CSINet. And, whatever your conclusion, don't forget to vote on this important recommendation.

2006 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, swolfe@bwbr.com 


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