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Finding And Inspiring The Best In People March 7, 2011

Posted by ismywebsite in general.
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I’m going to open with one of my favourite quotes from professor William James:

“Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses power of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.”

That’s the real challenge in everything. We already have highly competent skilled providers managing every node, thousands of amazing clients that have been helped over the years, and a team of dozens of volunteers each with a unique skillset that could easily benefit the service in an amazing way. And yet I’m absolutely completely positive we are still so much less than what we could be.

Based on the feedback I’ve got from a lot of volunteers, here’s what I’m understanding:

1) I hire too fast and don’t provide enough training.

2) There aren’t adequate resources available to find the answer.

3) Myself, and certain other key staff are difficult to get ahold of.

4) To quote what was posted once on a forum (since removed) there are “too many idiots running this place”.

It’s become pretty clear to me that continuing in the same direction only leads to the same outcome. And the outcome we need is vastly different. Obviously, there are a lot of things I can’t change, and a lot of things which I haven’t thought of. Feel free to weigh in if there’s something you think you could change, or something I can change directly.

1) In 4.0, I will be limiting hiring to one volunteer per week. This will help ensure I can get the best of all available volunteers, and that this new volunteer has sufficient time and one on one attention to perform their job.

2) Training sessions will be provided for the new volunteer and structured in an intuitive way.

3) I will set up a Skype hour (though 9PM was a bad choice). I expect 4 PM (GMT – 7) will work considerably better. Every volunteer must also have a regular Skype hour each day when they are available, and any availability problems must be posted. (We will use Twitter for now.)

4) I’m not sure how, but we need a way to keep volunteers accountable for deadlines.

5) Obviously I plan to do a full screening. A volunteer contract will be written up with all requirements, and it is assumed each volunteer honours it.

6) I’m going to see what else I can do in terms of providing references or tracking achievements, down the road.

So I suppose, if you have any ideas that I may not have thought of then please mention them. About the only thing which can really go horribly wrong in 4.0 is the whole people aspect. Everything else is fairly well covered.

I’ll have the first week’s hire for you shortly.

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