Talk:Affiliate Chairpersons meeting November 24 - 25, 2018

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Notes of the Affiliate chairpersons meeting November 24 - 25, 2018

Attendees, see: Affiliate Chairpersons meeting November 24 - 25, 2018

Training session Saturday morning: Creating the atmosphere and setting the scene[edit]

Core question: How to be an effective chair of my board?

  • Effective (competent) people have two knowledges/abilities: (1) Knowing how to do something and (2) Knowing how to be and relate.
  • It is about experiences/skills in general, not only in the Wikimedia boards.
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson. A good resource on how to speak in public.


  • Group discussions about atmosphere: relaxed, trustful: share experiences that should not leave the room (safe space), knowing each other better (backgrounds etc), sharing failures, help to participate and step up, celebrate successes.
  • Tips from Koenraad: face the public when you talk, start with a small story to connect, insert humor & lightness. Face audience: Eye contact. Spatial set up: Where do you position yourself?

Effective & Accountable Boards Indicators of well-functioning boards:

  • People engaged
  • Decisions made
  • Decisions based on reasons & rationale
  • Inclusiveness : Different voices heard
  • Shared understanding strategic priorities
  • Not bogged down in details
  • Lessons are learned about decisions and process
  • Respect and use differentiate roles (stakeholders)
  • Communication to outside world (transparent)
  • Board members represent decisions taken
  • Take responsibility for decisions
  • Decisions not always unanimous, consensual
  • Time management
  • Different enabling ways to make contributions
  • Find necessary skills
  • Self-awareness: skills - bias - missing
  • Look ahead: Sustainability of board
  • Assertiveness: "Positive firmness"
  • Leadership
  • Preparation and documentation of issues brought to the table
  • Self evaluations (see below example from Poland)


  • Set strategic direction
  • Advocate / profile raising
  • Compliance legal requirements
  • Financial viability
  • Looking out for staff: HR
  • Represent who get you on board. Handle given responsibility.
  • Push ambition for organization to the next level.
  • Reputation management / risk management
  • Build confidence within the board
  • Lobby for free knowledge by public institutions, for position of the organization and for contributions e.g. education
  • Collaboration - other chapters
  • Appoint, oversee and dismiss the Executive director, or (with some chapters) all staff members,
  • Ensure diversity in the board and in the broader community
  • Define policies
  • Sign agreements with other organizations
  • Preparing board member transition (onboarding & unboarding)
  • What do you bring to the board?
  • Responsibility to each other
  • Set annual objectives

Accountable boards

  • Members (Members vs. Community)
  • Comply to national laws
  • Stakeholders (+ volunteers)
  • Financial institutions
  • WMF
  • Yearly financial / annual reporting to Government or government agencies
  • Board member official registration
  • Money donors

Self evaluation experiences

  • Scrum boards (both for the board and the staff (Poland) - retrospectives on those boards and what worked / didn't work
  • Community surveys (Austria), diversity questions (NL)
    • Surveys to measure how the community thinks about the work of the chapter - also introduce questions about diversity but be sensitive about it
  • Annual review of process of board and board-ED (Norway)
  • Annual talk by the chair with the ED (Norway)
  • 360 degree feedback for staff members (Austria) (3 simple questions: What does the person do well? What could the person improve in their work? What one tip would you have that that person could implement right away?
  • WMF sets goals for their ED

Reference Framework for a Effective & Accountable Board

  • Self evaluate
  • identify priority improvements
  • Share good practices

Training session Saturday afternoon: Inner leadership[edit]

Inner leadership

  • Thinking-Oriented Roles
    • Plant: innovations & roles. Prefer to work alone
    • Monitor Evaluator: Separate good ideas from bad
    • Specialists: skills in a specialist job
  • Action-Oriented Roles
    • Shaper: Challenge norms, take lead, push team
    • Implementer: Executors of plans
    • Completer: Finisher. Complete the fine details
  • People-Oriented Roles
    • Coordinator: Natural team leaders
    • Team Worker: Diplomats, keep team cogs turning
    • Resource Investigator: Find external external resources


Communication styles (The whole brain theory) Types of smartness (orientation towards):

  • Intellectual ("have we got the facts")
  • Entrepreneural ("what is the big picture")
  • Organizational ("What contingency plans are in place")
  • Networker (Have we communicated this with the others?")

Dysfunctional teams

  • different expectations / goals
  • availability - lack of time - phantom members (phantom board members)
  • misunderstanding about roles
  • lack of willingness to compromise
  • lack of capabilities
  • lack of commitment
  • lack of appreciation
  • confusion due to lack of/inadequate communication
  • inability to listen
  • lack of proper procedures-methodology
  • non-respect of confidentiality weak listening skills

Tips from Koenraad and others:

  • Be aware of unskillful behavior
  • Risk with consensus: Never come to conclusions, or always decide on the lowest common denominator.
  • It is not always necessary to come to consensus; sometimes consent is enough.
  • Test voting (useful when the discussion is on a minor point to avoid those discussions)
  • Write down (on whiteboard f.e.) the exact wording of the decision to be taken
  • Test votes (feel the temperature of the room on this question and when there's no strong opinion against the proposal, move on to the next topic - helpful in scenarios for less important question)
  • Take time to build support before the meeting

Gradients of agreement To be used for formal decision making:

  • I endorse
  • I agree with reservations
  • I have mixed feelings about this issue
  • I disagree, but go with majority ('consent')
  • I will block this decision

Five dysfunctions of a team (Patrick Lencioni)

  • Inattention to results
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Lack of commitment
  • Fear of conflict
  • Absence of trust

Five common toxins on relationships

  • Blaming: aggressive attack, bullying, harsh, start up, chronic criticism, domination...
  • Defensiveness: Deflecting, not open to influence
  • Stonewalling: Avoidance, withdraw, withholding, uncooperativeness, passivity, disengagement
  • Contempt: Cutting others down, undermining, disrespect, demeaning communication, hostile gossip
  • Flooding: Emotional overwhelm, which leads the other person to become deskilled

Feedback Toxic situations come about with interpersonal interaction, including the 'packaging' of messages

Non-violent communication for use in tense situations:

  • What I observe
  • What I feel (express the emotion)
  • What I need
  • What I request (from you)

Expressing what I feel and need, and not blaming anyone in anger. Express the need first, and then the request, so it becomes clear why I do the request. Be aware of the emotional field (and the "elephants"). Requires self control, responding (thoughtful) instead of reacting (impulse). Tricks to prevent reacting: count to 100. Ask: "Do you need a timeout?"

Listening People do not listen because of:

  • No substance is communicated
  • You are impatient (you know already)
  • A feeling that it is useless
  • Not clearly communicating >> Offer help to articulate.

Core part of my being a leading person are my listening skills. The leadership style: "Good listener", brings with it strenghts and risks.


  • By good listening you build up trust from the other
  • Listen what is behind the words. Show interest, empathy.
  • People feel valued
  • Encouraged to contribute


  • People think that you do not have an opinion or vision of your own.
  • People expect that you act upon their questions/demands.

How to handle a situation where the rest of the board does not listen to what someone says?

  • Switch off internet
  • Maintain energy, introduce energizers, f.e insert a break of a physical exercise
  • Choose a space with natural light
  • Sometimes a break
  • The way we speak, change your voice (soft, loud)
  • Asking questions
  • Ask others to lead a track

Feedback How do I need feedback to be, to benefit from it?

  • Honest
  • Polite
  • Complete
  • Focused on a certain issue or specific behavior
  • Constructive guidance, suggestion how to improve, provide alternatives
  • Concrete - specific
  • Right time, f.e. soon after a certain situation, but not during a heated discussion
  • Recurring issue
  • Start with positives
  • Why is it important? Motivate.
  • Acknowledge the thing brought to your attention, accept the feedback
  • Provide opportunity to reflect

10 common mistakes in giving feedback

  1. The feedback judges individuals, not actions
  2. The feedback is too vague
  3. The feedback speaks to others
  4. The negative feedback gets sandwiched between positive messages
  5. The feedback is exaggerated with generalities
  6. The feedback psychoanalyzes the motives behind behavior
  7. The feedback goes on too long
  8. The feedback contains implied threats
  9. The feedback uses inappropriate humor
  10. The feedback is a question, not a statement

A leader is a person who can ask good questions with the essence. Asking powerful questions is a tremendous useful tool.

Training session Sunday morning: Functional governance[edit]

Repetition Effective boards

  • Strategy, annual objectives, finance, legal
  • Board functions: meetings, decisions,
  • Board as a team: If this doesn't work, it has an impact on the two previous points.

Non-violent communication

  • Listening (deep & empathic; question-asking leader / respond, not react)
  • Giving feedback (emotional intelligence)
  • Reflex towards conflict

Tip on email conversation

  • Insert meta-messages (reasons) about why you ask / propose things

Team Conflict Protocol Questions to ask - Conflict protocol

  • Conflict protocol
    • When conflict occurs, what behaviors do you want to model? Not model?
    • How do you want to hold each other accountable to the Team Working Agreement?
    • How do you want it to be...

Team Commitment to Each Other

  • How do we want to work together?
  • What are our expectations of each other?

Instrument: Charter of commitment, containing behavioral rules to set a common area for the emotional atmosphere.

Failing forward: fail fast, learn fast, moving forward fast ("failing fast and failing forward" - becoming better because of your mistakes, not in spite of them.) Source: John C. Maxwell - Failing Forward. Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success. ISBN 978-1491513132

What is failure? unexpected results from us, them, natural disaster...

Do we have a failure protocol?

WMF don't have one for the Board

How and who recognize the failure? Failure is a materialization of risk

Do we have a process of learning about the failure?

How to transfer the knowledge?

Should know the expectations of each other.

Staff should say to the Board if it's doing something wrong.

List of failures:

  • Hiring problems. Turnover of people. Board should do exit interviews from people who are leaving to understand the problem. WMF and WMIT are doing that. They have a standard list of questions.
  • Prioritization of activities, specially if your are fund by external donors (will do what donors want). No more focused on wiki-projects. Strategic plan and year per year action plan is a solution.
  • Problems to establish a Strategic plan. Solution: put in place a working group outside the Board.
  • Not recognizing a possibility: build a bigger chapter. Comfortable to stay independent, DYI approach. But could have done a lot more with a mature organization.
  • ED-Board relation: fix clear goals, Board should know what is doing staff-ED, working plan, values. Set expectations, goals, policies. And enforce them.

Evolution of a WM chapter (break-out session)

Handout "Growth Cycle": Example of Wikimedia Netherlands (LINK)

  • Growth cycle / growth path
  • Having a look at other organizations that have a global strategy with national associations: Maybe we can externally initiate the building of an organization / community in areas where we do not have an active community (e.g. Latvia, Slovenia ...
  • More bureaucracy leads to loosing some of the engagement and spontaneity of volunteers, but it's nevertheless advantagable (more efficient

Evolution steps

  • Informal organization
  • Establishing a formal organization: Legal, bylaws, protocol, money
  • Hiring the 1st employee -> operational board continues to work: strategy, employer, professional, office, money! -> WMF grants, APG
  • Establishing a Governance board: more employees, financial independence, diverse funding, partnering, external board members

Note: It is not necessary to go through all steps and reach the last step, it is absolutely fine to be at any level. But it is important no know where we are, and where we are going. And there is transition period between informal-formal and operational-governing boards.

Circles of the community, members, employees, ED and board, and how they overlap

It would be interesting to define where different affiliates/chapters currently are.

A discussion about how to move to a professional organization with ED, staff and governing board - should it start with ED or governing board? One conclusion was to let it go hand in hand. The governing will take time with policy documents. Have to be prioritized to get the most important first, e.g. role descriptions.

Failures (break-out session) Why failure?

  • No (un-agreed) expectations
  • Unclear expectations
  • Insufficient resources: time, interest, money
  • Operational targets not aligned with general goal
  • Lack of control of situation: no strategy, no info
  • Insufficient risk handling
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of popular understanding
  • Failures from partners
  • Other agendas (partner...)

Learning from failures

  • Anticipation on Risks, Operations, Strategic, Financial, Reputation, Agenda's
  • Learning loops: Risk management, Risk avoidance, Risk reward
  • Monitoring by Regular reporting

Meeting of the Chairpersons - Sunday afternoon[edit]

Frans opens the meeting at 13:30. On the agenda:

1 Financing across the network

2 Board member training Berlin April 1 - 2, 2019

3 Expanding chairpersons group

4 Update international strategic process

Two more issues are proposed by Josie:

5 LGBTQ+ collaboration across Europe

6 Leadership across the movement and board member transition

Financing across the network[edit]

Input (and structure) for discussion: Input Discussion on Finances in Prague November 25, 2018

Revenue streams[edit]

Comments and suggestions:

  • Ask more basic questions about revenue streams
  • How transparent should the revenue streams be?
  • How should fundraising be conducted in the future?
  • Pay attention to the role of WMF-staff
  • Also consider that collecting in each country separately requires more resources (using local money sender application)
  • Do some piloting in some countries
  • In many countries there are tax reductions, where the donors can get tax reduction, in case the donation is done locally.
  • Centralized fundraising is more efficient and gives us the chance to send similar messages and do it in a similar design (not send totally different messages in different countries)
  • Different revenue streams that need more consideration than just putting up a banner
  • Which forms of affiliates should be doing fundraising. There should be a formal organization (registered with bylaws etc) doing fundraising. What happens in case there are several organizations in the country?
  • Local laws need to be considered when deciding on this issue - some affiliates might not be able to transfer funds outside the country (e.g. Ukraine)
  • Funding projects is easier than finding funds for the basic administration of the affiliate
  • Coordinate and/or collect and share expertise on grant applications for international funding schemes (for example the European Union)

Resource allocation[edit]

  • Currently five different schemes to receive funding from the WMF, only 2 are mainly used by organizations
  • What should the Resource Allocation Working Group focus on and how? Metrics, Equity, Impact of the funds used?
  • Supply an analysis of the current systems and point out the strengths and weaknesses (may be parallel to work that Ressource Allocation is doing)
  • Supply criteria / examples of cases that should be considered / covered in the new model that the working groups are working on
  • Fulfillment procedures should be added too, might be necessary to specify ranges of amounts requested
  • Organizational structure of a resource allocation body: Are there duplicates, is it efficient? We can give thoughts of a future structure and stakeholders to be involved.

Questions on future design[edit]

  • Can we design the very basics of an overall grant program. Think of: goals, target groups, minimum organizational demands for grant applicants, max-min amounts, need for consultancy, fulfillment procedures (apply, report, feedback loops and timelines).
  • Can we design the basic organizational structure a resource allocation body? Which stakeholders must be involved? Where are the decisions made?
  • Discussion: We should more include the NEEDS that we as organizations have as an input also for the Wikimedia 2030-working groups, not necessarily make a suggestion for a new design from scratch. May be it is possible to come up with criteria?

Control questions[edit]

  • How to include the outcomes of the Movement Direction (Knowledge as a service, Knowledge Equity)?
  • No tunnels in the strategic direction :-)
  • Make sure to separate legislative power, executive power and judiciary power
  • There is a relation between Grants and the Recognition process (see also Discussion paper: Development of organisations of the Wikiverse – what do we need to evolve?
  • Frans: With regard to strategic direction: knowledge as an equity (as a social movement) will make it necessary to rethink our funding sources and to see if and how it's possible
  • This should be an input to the working group -> this might change the future organization of the movement.

=>Writing group: Frans, Mattias, Pierre-Yves, Vojtěch.


  • Should be done within two months in order to provide input for the evaluation process of the working groups (especially Ressource Allocation, Revenue Streams and Roles & Responsibilities)
  • Feedback on the first draft during Christmas.
  • Frans will edit the notes and give it a little more structure, distribute to the members of the working group as a first draft.
  • Feedback over Christmas (first round), than eventually some more experts, then second round and finishing the document on the last week of January.

Board member training Berlin April 1-2 2019[edit]

  • Tim gave a presentation with introduction and background. It will be after the Wikimedia Summit conference in Berlin.
  • A first draft of the program was presented. In the document a comparison with the previous years' trainings was listed.
  • The idea for the 2019 training is to share experiences between organizations with staff etc. Target group to be recently elected board members.
  • A first draft of a budget is in the document. Unclear if 75 € per person as a participant fee are enough. Seems that 150 € is also be doable
  • There might some money left from the Chair meeting in Prague (today's meeting) to cover costs for the Boards Training in Berlin.
  • The timing of the Board training in general was discussed as several organizations have their annual general assembly in March-April, mening that new board member's aren't elected, or have any experiences, when the training is in April. For 2020 it could be considered to have it later, e.g. June or September.
  • Invitations for the 2019 training will be sent in December.

Resolving conflicts between WM affiliates[edit]

  • Philip proposes to think about the formation of a group of people who will act as mediators?
  • Support by sister organizations could easier be accepted than involving staff. And, be cause of their background they could more easily come to a deeper diagnosis of the conflict.
  • Koenraad: There is a difference between an arbitrator, a mediator and a facilitator
    • Arbitrator: You will need to be given authority
    • Mediator: You are kind of the protagonist and lead the process
    • Facilitator: The acting individuals are protagonists and own the process, you help them achieving it their way.
  • Other condition: Both sides must be willing to have a mediation
  • We decided to form a small working group, Philip will brief them.

=>Working group: Lorenzo + Aktron (vice chair of WMCZ) + Philip - Review group: Biyanto, Suzanna, Santiago

LGBTQ+ collaboration across Europe[edit]

  • At WMCon 2018 and Wikimania 2018 there was a meeting about international cooperation on LGBTQ themes, especially EuroPride 2019 in Vienna and the commemoration of the Stonewall riots in New York in July 2019
  • Look at the administrative issues of supporting LGBTQ+ themes in Europe (be it volunteers, staff or members)
  • Suggestions of financing an international coordinator to support events and volunteers - WMUK is suggesting to host and support that coordinator, unless any other chapter would like to step in.
  • Next steps: Sign off on the job description for the coordinator with the LGTBQ+ user group
  • Stepping up communication efforts on this to make this more widely known

=>Josie will distribute the job description and ask the chapters to support this initiative.

Leadership across the movement, Board succession[edit]

  • Mozilla, ... have leadership program
  • Should Wikimedia organize that?
  • If yes, who in the movement will take the lead?
  • Remark on age gaps: we don't reach Facebook generation and senior people
  • Comment from Koenraad van Brabant: "leadership-trainings" are not the right method (can be misleading), but a long-term mentoring-relationship for upcoming leaders (maybe with a focussed session within a few days but continuous mentoring) can be effective.

=>Working group: Michal, Nataliia, Tim.

Expanding Chairpersons-Group[edit]

  • Some arguments were exchanged regarding the stability of the group, diversity, the financial effort for the other groups, which criteria to use (e.g. whether their is staff in place or whether the groups get funding from APG or SAPG...).
  • Simple APG+APG: Add 12 organizations or in case of affiliates with employees: 7-8. This does not change a lot the list of to the meetings. But what about the future?

=>Philip will make a pro/con-proposal and send it to the chairpersons list.


Philip gives an overview on the timeframe for the working groups:

  • Set up & diversification - July-October 2018
  • Recommendations: Scoping - November 2018-February 2019
  • Recommendations: Analyzing - March-June 2019
  • Recommendations: Concluding - July 2019-September 2019 (critical)
  • Implementation - October 2019 - June2 2020

Timeline as of November 2018: c:File:(MSPRO) Visuals Timeline Working Groups 2.png

Frans closes the meeting at 17:00 o'clock.

Evaluation and feedback[edit]