On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 1:34 PM, Oliver Keyes <ironho...@gmail.com> wrote:

. What I was thinking about was how we pay attention to
> organisational hiring, to how we promote, to how we treat people, what
> empathy we have and how we value empathy.
> I have consistently found the Foundation to lag in all of these
> regards. It is not good at making sure that the recognition of
> employees is fair and treated equitably (be that who gets called out
> in presentations, who gets given opportunities, or who gets raises).
> It is not good at making sure that how we hire is fair. It is not good
> at making sure that concerns of employees are given weight. All too
> often the people marginalised by our approaches are the people
> marginalised outside the Foundation, as well; women, people in
> "non-technical" roles, people in roles that we code as "support work"
> (and guess what tends to correlate with a role being coded as support
> work?) All too often the work marginalised by our approaches is the
> work that Doesn't Product Code (again: guess who tends to do the heavy
> lifting on things like organisational health and process and
> structure?)

This is an important thing to say and an important lens to look at the
organization through; thank you for saying it, and thank you for being

How can an organization turn itself around?
Many of you know I changed jobs last year, to be at MIT Libraries.
There's a lot of good things about this, but one good thing is that
the head of the library is remarkable, and thinks a lot about how to
make equity and diversity an actionable part of our daily work.

One of the first things she did was to add a section to our
performance review forms (which also include sections for goals, etc)
to include a section called:
"Demonstration of organizational values of diversity and inclusivity–
Note participation in formal and informal activities and demonstrated
behaviors that enhance these values (past year, ongoing and planned)."

She also added a similar category to our staff awards process. She
invited two line staff on a semi-annual rotation to join the
leadership group (our equivalent of the C-levels). Then she did the
same thing for a big formal strategy process. Then we sponsored an
outside organization that supports underrepresented librarians. Now,
because she's set a tone, rhetoric in meetings and among all levels of
staff is similar.

None of this is perfect or earthshaking, and I suspect there are a lot
of ideas yet to come. But what she's taught me, in the few months that
I've been here, is that an organization can address systemic and
societal problems through concrete actions without a lot of drama.

 In other words, the litmus test for me is: what
> happens when the socially and politically weakest person in the
> organisation has an idea?

A question that we sometimes talk about for the community, too (and is
sometimes framed as what ways can a person develop a positive
reputation sufficient enough to make a change); not unrelated to the
question of how we treat smaller projects too.


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