Matty Bowers 2015 Q&A: General Management

How would you describe your management style? Your communication style?

A good manager tailors their approach as needed; it changes depending on the situation and the people involved. If the group calls for a ‘take charge’ leader, I can do that. If they instead need a ‘facilitator’, I can do that as well. As a Board member I’ll take the approach best suited for whatever situation I find myself in.

I tend to be friendly, honest, and tactful in my communication with others. I also believe that listening is a key component of communication; it’s important to speak with people, not at them.

You all described your thoughts on “the key responsibilities of a/the Board” in your manifestos. However, with the exception of the bylaws, which are legally rather than functionally focused, there isn’t a clear publicly available list of the duties and responsibilities of the board. Would you be interested in changing that?

I would be very interested in changing that. As chairs, we are required to document the key responsibilities for chairing our committees; these same requirements should be made of Board as well

There has been a lot of mention of Board micromanagement and workload. What are two things that you would like to see immediately shifted off of the Board agendas to both decrease micromanagement of the organization and free up Board time for focusing on more strategic issues?

1. Staffing decisions: There is little point in having Board approve staffing changes; volunteers are allowed to serve under any name they wish and it is possible for them to simply change names and volunteer under a name no one knows. Having Board vet staffers does nothing but allow them to undermine a chair’s decision.

2. Personnel Conflicts: Board has neither the training nor the time to deal with these sorts of issues. We would be better served by setting up a more effective system for handling them.

The OTW has now spent over 3 years developing a 3-year strategic plan. This seems extremely long based on practices in other organizations and raises concerns both about the relevance of such a plan due to organizational shifts and, from the outside, raises questions about the ability to find consensus in the organization. What are your thoughts on how long it has taken to develop the strategic plan, and what steps would you take as a Board member to improve or streamline the process of both finishing up the current plan and setting up the development of the next iteration of the strategic plan?

Our Strategic Planning committee started collecting information several years ago, and designed the current plan around that information. However, I worry that much of the data collected then would now be outdated, meaning the plan will not be as effective as it should be.

Ideally, Board should be working in partnership with the SP committee to produce a streamlined, achievable plan which focuses on the big picture and does not get bogged down in details. Any future strategic plans should have both a comprehensive plan and timeline set from the beginning. It should take into consideration any possible setbacks and have steps in place to accommodate them.