Dan Lamson 2015 Q&A: Other Questions, Group 1

Note: Dan has withdrawn from the race, but he completed his answers before withdrawing, so they will be posted to the site.

What kind of training would you like to receive for the position of Board member, if you could get any?

I think an important training for board members would be in communication skills, and how to deal with each other and the rest of the org. Kind of a group therapy thing where can learn together and bond over the experience. This kind of training would be team building as well as improve how we deal with each other and the org in general.

I’d also like to see some kind of apprenticeship with a sitting board member to go over the ropes and talk about how things are done. You could shadow them for a bit and see how it all works. I think this would a lot better than stumbling around, and probably would stop some mistakes from happening.

The Board originally had 7 members. This number was raised to 9 when we realized 7 members weren’t enough to manage the OTW efficiently, then lowered again to 7 due to low participation. As it stands, this election would bring the Board to a total of 5 members. Considering the number of candidates in these elections and the growth of the org so far, what are your thoughts on the number of Board seats?

I think the board could expand its membership again if it wanted to. I don’t see a problem with a 7 or 9 person board at all. I wouldn’t want to see it much bigger at the moment, because it is functioning more as an executive committee at the moment, and it’s not always easy to make executive decisions by committee on a good day. In the future, if the org has full time executive staff, I could see the board expanding quite a bit.

What do you feel is your responsibility if the Board you are serving on is poised to make a decision that you believe to be ethically or legally questionable? Conversely, how would you respond if one of your fellow Directors raised similar concerns about a decision you supported?

An interesting dilemma. If there was a decision before board that was legally dubious to one or more board members, regardless if it was my idea or someone else’s, I would suggest we loop in the org’s top notch legal team and ask their opinion. Once we had that we could move forward.

Ethics are a little murkier, because what is ethical to one person may be unethical to another. I would want a full discussion of both sides, even if I was the one with the accused unethical decision. I would say my piece and they could say theirs, and I would try to be as objective as possible. I always try to listen to those around me, because I know that other people can often have amazing ideas. Basically, I would want a civil discourse on the issue and try to reach common ground or an understanding between the parties involved.