Strategic planning update #4

The Strategic Planning Workgroup’s first two surveys have been deployed! On July 11, one survey went out to the Tag Wrangling volunteers and another to the Tag Wrangling staff members. A third, designed for former wranglers, is being edited and reviewed right now.

The survey deadline for TW volunteers and staff was July 25th, and we were excited to see completed surveys rolling in steadily for the full two weeks. We’d like to publicly thank everyone on the Tag Wrangling team for their willingness to engage with us and give us their honest assessments of the Tag Wrangling team, the OTW, and also the survey itself. The meta-commentary on our survey is going to be very helpful going forward — for this incarnation of the SP workgroup as well as all the future ones.

The next group we plan to examine is VolCom; the survey is complete and being reviewed by the VolCom chair. Once we have Renay’s comments, we will edit as necessary, and then deploy that survey to VolCom staff. We are also currently reviewing documentation and brainstorming survey questions for the Open Doors and Wiki committees.

(While we aren’t currently planning to make the survey questions available to the public, the text of each will be available to OTW staff and volunteers in the Strategic Planning Workgroup section of the OTW’s internal wiki soon after each survey is released.)

On that note, let’s talk about confidentiality: The Strategic Planning Workgroup takes this issue very seriously. What we mean when we say “confidentiality” is basically that the people who talk to us — whether via our surveys, e-mail, in chat, or through the Strategic Planning Workgroup contact form — are entitled to have their identities protected at all times. The practical application of this is that no one’s name or identifiable characteristics/information will ever be mentioned:

  • during our meetings
  • in our meeting minutes
  • in these updates
  • in the updates we send to the OTW’s internal newsletter
  • when we discuss our information with VolCom, the board, or any other committee
  • in the committee-specific reports
  • in the general-org report

We do talk about people by name and discuss the specifics of their responses during our meetings, but only after we have “locked” our chatroom. A locked room means no transcript is being automatically saved. Transcripts of our locked meetings are circulated internally and may eventually be kept in the OTW’s Vault, but they are not available to anyone outside the SP Workgroup. We also discuss these specifics on our mailing list. The mailing list is archived automatically, but the archive is private to the SP Workgroup, and members of the SP Workgroup are the only people who are subscribed to the mailing list.

Eventually, the raw data from surveys and interviews will be stored in the OTW’s Vault. This is a private, locked area that no one can access without the appropriate credentials (in this case, being a member of the SP Workgroup).

The SP Workgroup also takes seriously the concerns that people have expressed (both directly through private correspondence as well as publicly in personal journals and various discussion forums) that people who have negative opinions about the OTW will be silenced. While we aren’t empowered to prevent others from doing this, we — as a team and as individuals — believe this would be wrong and unethical if it’s occurring. We do not believe there are wrong opinions or wrong experiences; we want to hear everyone’s thoughts and learn about everyone’s experiences, from the completely negative to completely positive and everything in between. One purpose for the Strategic Planning process is to help create a space for everyone in the org to be heard. Nothing said to us will ever be held against the person saying it. The more honest responses we receive from current and former staff and volunteers, the more it will help the Org in drawing up a comprehensive strategic plan.

(If you have had a negative experience in which you believe your opinions have been used against you, we strongly suggest you get in touch with VolCom. This is the kind of issue which will be more fully addressed by the code of conduct VolCom are currently developing; in the meantime, they still want to hear about any problems that occur)

As always, people with questions and comments about the strategic planning process and/or who would like to get in touch with us about their OTW experiences are all welcome to contact us via our (new!) direct contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!