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This page is a translated version of the page Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Board Service and the translation is 53% complete.

This was a draft for a blog post that has since been published at https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/02/28/board-service-every-board-needs-a-bit-of-maintenance/ .

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Styretjeneste: Ethvert styre trenger litt vedlikehold

Alice Wiegand, December 2011.

Tross alle forskjellene mellom de 40 regionale organisasjonene (kapitlene) og en tematisk organisasjon i Wikimediabevegelsen, er det en ting som finnes hos alle registrerte Wikimediaorganisasjoner: en frivillighetsbasert overvåknings- og kontrollkomité. For Wikimediastiftelsen er dette Stiftelsesstyret, ved Wikimedia Frankrike er det Administrasjonsrådet, ved Wikimedia Tyskland er det Presidiet, og det er selvfølgelig flere andre navn. For enkelthets skyld brukes her ordet "styre" for alle disse organene.

Gjøre det mulig for styret å gjøre jobben sin

Vi tar det ofte for gitt at en komité satt sammen av individer med ulike forventninger, erfaringer og kunnskap kan finne veien til oppgavene sine helt av seg selv. At de løser dem dem godt og effektivt, alltid kommuniserer åpent og profesjonelt. Men kan man alltid anta det? Er det ikke egentlig svært vanskelig å komme sammen som en gruppe for å fastslå ulike styrker og svakheter, og bygge opp tillit? To ting jeg tror er essensielle for funksjonelle styrer: a) evnen og villigheten til å delegere og b) evnen og villigheten til å akseptere og promotere ulike synspunkter og konstruktiv kritikk innad i styret. Begge er bare mulige dersom komiteen har blitt enige om grunnleggende regler og prosedyrer, og hvis den aksepterer nødvendigheten av at den hele tiden må utvikle seg som et organ.

Et styre må holde tritt med organisasjonens utvikling for å kunne utføre sine tilsynsforpliktelser på hvert trinn i utviklingen av organisasjonen og samtidig støtte organisasjonen, promotere dens utvikling og legge føringer for dens strategiske retning. Hvis hele styret jobber med spørsmålet om hvordan det skal settes sammen eller fungere, vil det gå i sirkler og oppgaver vil ikke bli utført. Hva kan være mer passende enn å betro disse tingene til en mindre gruppe, og dermed lette arbeidsmengden for hele organisasjonen?

BGC - en komité i bakgrunnen

Since 2010 there is such a group in the board of the Wikimedia Foundation: the Board Governance Committee (BGC), whose chairman I have been since joining the Board in 2012. Why am I doing this kind of work in particular? I actually find it fun to deal with policies and the development of processes. I believe that it is generally helpful to have a resource for looking things up, a resource that is understandable for everyone, and I know that the Board of Trustees has not yet reached its own ideal conception of a board. And to this, I can and I want to make a contribution. Even though we publish our annual agenda and the minutes of our meetings on Meta, our work is naturally more in the background and is only known to few people.

The BGC's purpose is to ensure that the Board fulfills its legal and fiduciary obligations, and that it improves its control function, efficiency and effectiveness. Sounds good, but what does that mean? Traditionally, a BGC takes care of the composition of the board, finding suitable candidates and preparing the appointments. Since the Foundation's Board only partly consists of appointed board members, and we consider additional areas such as policies and our own evaluation to be as important as the composition of the board, our BGC has an extended scope of tasks. In essence, the Wikimedia Foundation's BGC takes care of three areas: 1. policies and processes, 2. composition of the board, 3. training and evaluation of the board.

Specifically, this includes - for example - the Board Handbook, the search for new board members like most recently Ana Toni, the support of the community and Wikimedia organizations in the respective selection processes for board members by the Board liaisons or an Elections Committee, the 360-degree feedback for board members and the evaluation of the entire body. The latter is currently taking place in close collaboration with the HR Committee. In the board's daily business, the BGC is positioned especially well to regularly question processes and threads. From time to time, this includes reminding the Board to concentrate on tasks that nobody else can do. Depending on the size and structure of the organization, this can mean different things. For example, the board of the Wikimedia Foundation does not itself create the annual plan, that's the job of the ED, in person of Sue Gardner (see the process summary). Our responsibility as the Board is to provide directive input for the annual planning. In contrast, at organizations without full-time employees, the annual plan is created by the board itself. It is important to identify this explicit area of responsibility for each board. Because that is the challenge to face, which should be any Board's main focus.

Utvikling er ikke et mål i seg selv

A Board must not only take care of itself - but it may not lose sight of its own development, either. Under the assumption that a Board's constellation in the wikiverse changes relatively quickly, it must ensure to become able to work effectively within a short time (and continue to be so). The board must develop as the organization does, because only then can it ensure a trusting and fruitful cooperation in the board and - if applicable - between the board and the management. Regularly questioning its own working methods and self-conception is part of this. The trick is to implement the necessary legal or rational procedures and processes, without losing yourself in a cage of rules. A working group, whether it is called BGC or completely different, can provide valuable support - in every board.

I'm looking forward to the Boards Training Workshop in early March in London. We all can learn from each other, we only haven't yet found the right ways to share our ideas and experiences in this matter.

Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) has been serving on the WMF Board of Trustees since 2012 as a Chapter selected trustee. She has been involved with chapter and movement issues for many years and served on the Board of Wikimedia Deutschland from 2008 to 2011.