Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/R

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1 F: 1, start with you?
2 1: (1a) I picked the value I feel I’ve been advocating for since the beginning. People that come from a varying array of perspectives… the best (only?) way to get dialogue and come to a decision. Avoid groupthink. You might not consider something that someone coming from a different background would think of. More encompassing decisions. Wide variety of people in the conversation is what end up creating the best decision
3 2: (2a) we’re often afraid of new things, and say the community doesn’t want it, because people don’t want to discuss things with the community People feel there is distrust from the community, but sometimes it’s just an excuse not to be bold. Sometimes we’re afraid of the backslash from the community. Courage to try new things or stand with your own decisions.
4 3 (3b) Trust: Mutual trust can create a really productive work environment. Abilities are… respected. Not micromanaging people. Empowering people. There’s a reason we write user stories then write code; create intent of the work. It makes people efficient if they can work on problem in the way that suits them best. Agency and letting people do the work they were hired to do. And also the other way: trust the leadership and their decision.
5 F: exploring competence, reliability, etc. as components of trust
6 3: Those are  a factor too. Honesty is such an important value; I can trust people if I feel they’re being honest. Example: in hiring interviews, people who BS their way through vs. people who simply acknowledge they don’t know.
7 4 (Openness): Being open is good and we generally try to be open, with exceptions I don’t want to mention. “Not keeping secrets”: I can look at other people’s calendars, not just to schedule meetings, but to get an idea of what they’re working on. We don’t have special teams that do special things that we don’t need to know about, including the community. Not everybody needs to know about everything, but to a certain reasonable point.
8 3: I like that you said openness instead of transparency
9 4 transparency is a complicated word, I wanted a simpler, clearer word.
10 5: accountability: permeates throughout the org. Stakeholders how have a significant in the org. When you start working you may be siloed. It’s important that donors can trust us. Decisions that were made and why. And also accountability to the community; we wouldn’t be here without them. Similar to transparency, but we also have a responsibility as an org, as a nonprofit, to be able to explain our decisions.
11 1: respect: I used a negative example. In the office, between colleagues, we have this AGF principle, and sometimes it can be taken advantage of. Lack of trust, they don’t trust you to hold yourself accountable to aspects of your own job. You have this job, you’re well aware of the things you’re tasked to take care of.
12 F: how would you know that you’re respected?
13 1: I don’t have a problem with being challenged. Ex: during 1:1, it gets assumed that you’re prioritizing X vs. Y. Sometimes there’s a lack of respect that there may be something else going on. People not seeing the whole picture. Also relates to 4’s point about openness.
14 F: I hear a lot that people are being challenged that they’re not doing their job. Is that part of disrespect, lack of trust?
15 1: A combination of both
16 3: I had the situation happen to me in reverse. I wasn’t trying to tell this person they hadn’t done their due diligence. Also, see essay about assume AGF (?)
17 1: solidifies my point. We so regularly have to AGF that you’re more sensitive when someone makes a critique. Earn AGF again
18 2: flexibility (related to courage). To do new things as an individual, and team, department, organization. We have a lot of people who volunteer for discussions like this (values, all hands). We’re always looking for a formal process, and we’re sort of killing informal discussions and processes. Things aren’t “validated” otherwise. Breaking from tradition; trying out new things. The more professional you are as an org, the less flexible you are. Permeates through the org (eg difficult to schedule meetings). We’re not an old org but we’re pretty inflexible.
19 F: set in our way? Or mindset? Bureaucracy?
20 2: The movement itself is a huge bureaucracy, and it translates to the WMF as well
21 3: agree
22 3: honesty. Related to trust. Saying no, being direct, honest. Not lying. Being straightforward than feigning politeness and social norms to be more efficient and earn trust. Bad signs: if you’re too direct, it can come out the wrong way, and you need trust to make that feasible, otherwise it comes out as an attack. Directness is a big element of it.
23 4: consensus building: Here at the WMF (at least at my level) I don’t remember anyone telling me what to do because they’re the boss. This is something I kinda like. After a few countries in which I worked, this is something I greatly appreciate here. It’s important to make sure that our management goes all the way upstairs.
24 F: The part that you appreciated?
25 4: I felt that usually you get to be heard, you get to discuss it with multiple people, and there will be at least an attempt to find a solution that will be good for everybody.
26 5: Trust, especially in my team. Money and mission aren’t binary concepts (?) We need an understanding of what people are doing in their team. It’s hard to do your job if people don’t appreciate the work you do, or feel it’s not kosher.
27 1, 5 : this office is very siloed; it’s gotten better, but still.
28 1: If I don’t talk to certain people, I won’t know what they’re doing at the WMF. People in my department don’t know what I do. Even within departments, we’re siloed. People have their own corners, their own meetings, etc.
29 1 (1c) Passion/collaboration. When I don’t know what other people are doing, or if they don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t feel valued. My job is more difficult to do. Collaborating with other teams has been helping. Being impactful makes me feel valued in the movement. If I wasn’t looking for those opportunities myself I don’t know if that would happen. Because I want to find ways to be useful, I do that,but people need to be given those opportunities to feel valued and useful.
30 2c: Realism. We’re sometimes a bit dogmatic about what we do. Strong vision and mission, but we don’t have to be stubborn in what we want to achieve. Sometimes the good is better than not achieving the perfect. We should think more about how this is perceived from the outside. We should be prepared to compromise to get things moving. Not look for dogmatic solutions. It doesn’t help to say “we’re right and you’re wrong”. We should be compromising more. Motion is good, standing still is not.
31 3: (impact) Trust and honesty are useless if you’re not achieving something with it. Everything else seems like a means to that end.
32 4: Our mission. People who are here for the mission tend to stick around, those who don’t not necessarily. Downside: sometimes we turn into a microcosm of Wikipedia; turn dramatic, turn to WP as a model for solutions. Everybody who works here should understand what they work for, they don’t have to be expert wikipedians.
33 5 (Tact) Biggest impediment to collaboration. So many wild emails. Once I’ve been able to extract what they really want/feel, I can understand. Etiquette, AGF. Think about the message you’re trying to convey.
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35 5: Tact and trust; foster environment in which people can collaborate and have an impact on the world. Creating an environment in which people feel good, safe. Without it you create an atmosphere where people don’t trust their peers. When there’s tact, it lowers your guard. Avoid hostility.
36 2: in diplomacy, you have formulas about how you address people. That’s the LCD, and on top of that you build work and discussions.
37 5: Tact as how you present to each other. Necessary to establish trust. It’s difficult (different cultures, language barriers). I don’t know what the solution is. How do you create a set of understandings?
38 4: We need consensus to work on our mission.
39 3: Trust and honesty, and good work places, and efficiency. All of these are a means to an end for impact. The mission of the org is what I want to achieve.
40 2: my 3 values come together. Flexibility is probably the core, the most important one. Courage needs flexibility for something to happen.
41 1: What do I need for myself, vs. what I need for others. Respect and diversity are what I need for others to… They lead me to having that passion. They’re prerequisites. Once you have those different thought processes, and you what they can bring to a discussion, to a movement. It helps me that passionate person in my work, and make this movement a movement.
42 F: a lot of overlaps, and a lot of values about how we treat each other.
43 3: And polarities? Tact vs. honesty. You can be critical and respectful at the same time.
44 2: it’s about taking apart opinion about the idea and respect for the person.
45 3: it’s like in code review. People find mistakes, and they get corrected.
46 1: Maybe that convergence is because that’s what we’re lacking the most. I’m curious to hear how that’s being addressed at a higher level, at the end of those discussions. Implementation etc.
47 F: It’s difficult for any person or group of people to shape culture without a clear set of values. I don’t want to define table stakes values. Aspire to the ideal place to go, and set that as the bar.
48 1: There’s still this feeling of ruins from the “Dark Ages”. The office is still very empty. It makes you feel you don’t want to be here. Maybe discuss why we’re not coming back? The only way to heal is to come back and see that we’re not in the state that we use to be in.
49 3: Balance with freedom of working from home.