In June we announced that we’re developing a a pilot version of a Collaborative Governance Accelerator to help networks and cooperatives develop the structures, documents, policies, and practices that can help them achieve equity, transparency, shared leadership, and forward momentum — i.e., collaborative governance.
Here are a few things we’ve heard, from the dozens of leaders who have responded so far, about their collaborative governance issues:
“Our network doesn’t feel decentralized…We don’t have a streamlined way of communicating and coordinating without me (the director) just doing it myself and directing people.”
“There is a lack of communication and that makes it difficult to understand boundaries and authority. Without proper boundaries, we end up having great ideas and no authority to carry them out. We waste time, energy, and resources.”
“So many of the structures we’ve inherited are colonial in nature. How can we ensure that our decision-making structure is a system that works for people? How can we make sure our structure is bringing multiple voices to the table and amplifying and centering marginalized voices?”
“As a community backbone organization, our network is happy to let us make decisions, do the background governance work, and find the funds. I would be really interested in ways to ensure that the governance is as collective as the project.
“The operating principles are still guided just by me by instinct, rather than as established institutional protocol.”
“We are doing this for the first time and want to make sure to set up an equitable network that is also productive.” “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
“Conflict is real — how do we deal with it to repair and strengthen relationships within the network and build trust among the group?”
“Competition between orgs with limited resources can be an issue to navigate.”
“Are we sure we are truly initiating change? Are we comfortable taking risks and failing? Are we maximizing our security at the expense of those we are serving?”
Does any of this sound familiar?
If you haven’t responded yet, please tell us: which of the eight governance design issues are you finding most challenging? These responses to the survey are an enormous help as we design this pilot Collaborative Governance Accelerator Pilot Program.