On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM, Anna Stillwell
<astillw...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>  +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.
>
> The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.
>
> Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
> respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation yesterday 
> *when
> we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
> supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were forward
> thinking.

This is great! I am glad to hear it.

One thought. Given that it is a complex situation, with many
individual reactions and experiences as Brion points out, I wonder if
it would be good for the organization to appoint a temporary, but
on-site, omsbud who could listen to staff needs (...and those of
contractors, and those working closely with staff).

I'm imagining someone who could both be a sounding board outside of
current structures, and who could assist any interim ED -- who
themselves will likely not have enough to time to do all of this and
also run the organization. An omsbud could triage issues: from those
requiring changes in process or even Board attention to those that can
be dealt with in other ways. And they could provide a place for those
who simply want to vent or discuss can do so. Ideally it would be
someone respected, empathetic and open, and with channels and
influence at a high level, but not someone with too much history at
the organization -- especially not recent history.

I suggest this because I worry about the emotional load on people at
the WMF who others turn to the most -- people who are respected and
empathetic and thus have no doubt gotten a lot of extra work to do in
listening to their colleagues in recent months. I worry about people
who don't feel like they have anyplace to turn.  And I worry that the
official structures in place to report areas where change is needed
may not be sufficient given large-scale dissatisfaction.

I think Jimmy's heart is absolutely in the right place for wanting to
listen to staff and I commend him for it, and for doing what many of
the other trustees are likely logistically unable to do right now. But
even he doesn't have enough time or energy to be at the WMF for a few
months, and calmly help facilitate the organizational processing that
seems like needs to happen. I think that needs to be a separate,
actual position, even if just for a brief period. And ideally, such a
position would not get in the way of but rather be able to facilitate
and sustain the self-generated group dynamic of support and energy for
forward momentum that Anna describes.

-- Phoebe

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