Q of the day – what could have changed the outcome of the last two years?

Posted on 11 Dec 2010 at 7:44pm

NOTE: Today I’ll be on the Las Vegas-based The Sausage Factory (hosted by Chris Miller, Derek Washington & Laura Martin) at 3PM ET.  www.vegasallnetradio.com


After calling for Joe Solmonese’s resignation on Friday, the question that next popped into my mind was “what could have made the last two years different” — as in more productive regarding pro-LGBT legislation that we were promised action on.

So I’m tossing this out for you to chew on…

Q of the day – was there any way we could have acheived a favorable political outcome re: major LGBT issues versus the flaccid outcome we’re left with after the last two years?

***

Second Q of the day: building a better leader

By the way, another logical question, looking forward, is pretty obvious. If not Joe Solmonese, then who should head up the largest LGBT organization? My answer may seem like a punt, but it comes from my own professional experience — I don’t know; that’s up to the HRC board, which should do a thorough analysis/rewrite of the job description and form an appropriate search team (or contract that out).

What are the musts? It really depends on what HRC would prioritize in a leader, that’s why a job description overhaul is needed to suss things out. But this list includes general things that any good org should think about. Feel free to add your own items.

* Crafting a pool that is outside of the box in many ways (that means including people outside of the existing incestuous pool of LGBT movers and shakers)

* Do they want a figurehead/fundraiser type?

* What is their vision for HRC’s role and mission?

* Someone with media savvy/communication is a must.

* DC/Beltway experience?

* Excellent managerial/supervisory skills (a woefully underrated quality, in my experience, in this case a motivational internal leader is needed)

* A smart delegator who knows when to take the baton and when to pass it.

* Recognition of the role of new media/social media/new outlets for communication.

* Grassroots organizing experience?

I’m partial to the behavioral-based interview, which commits the candidate to answer questions based on how they’ve handled a particular issue/situation in the past. It prevents the generation of speculative/hypothetical answers, which are not necessarily going to generate an answer that you can bank on in terms of the person’s capabilities.

The fact is that there is no perfect candidate for this tough job; but to get the best match it requires a lot of introspection and discussion by any board if it wants to make an effective change at the top. Whoever is selected would need to instantly and publicly signal and project a new direction that build internal and external morale.

Doing so would show great maturity of the board in challenging existing thinking about HRC’s role and relationship to the wider LGBT community. That takes work and a time investment, but a committed board member should be ready to roll up the sleeves when so much is at stake.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Discuss!
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