Further, by policy, SHM will continue to reserve absolute control over all content and speakers at its educational conferences; content will continue to not be influenced by brand or product consideration during development or revisions. All potential partners will be informed from the outset that a partnership with SHM does not imply that SHM endorses the policies, values, and missions of the partner organization; any significant deviation from the values and mission of SHM will dissolve the partnership. SHM will establish from the outset that a partnership does not imply SHM’s support or endorsement of any products from a partner. As noted above, transparency of these relationships will be of paramount importance: All relationships, including the dollar amounts received as a product of those relationships, will be posted on SHM’s website.
Transparency in Decision-Making
As noted from the outset, the benefit of small organizations with limited agendas is that every member knows every decision. With limited decisions to be made, the vetting and review process is virtually assured. As organizations grow, as agendas expand exponentially, and as the pace quickens, the multiperson review of each decision becomes difficult to assure. The result is that errors start to appear—not due to intentional wrongdoing, but because the luxury of intense oversight is lost as the organization expands. For an organization to grow and still maintain oversight of its decision-making process, it is vital that the organization evolve to develop new methods of accountability and transparency.
To meet this need, SHM has enacted a change in its communication infrastructure to ensure “double-checks” for all of the important organizational decisions. An SHM leadership and staff “wiki” has been developed to promote and ensure transparency of all organizational decisions. Because it is accessible only to the SHM staff, board, and committee chairs, the wiki is invisible to the SHM membership. Nonetheless, you should know of this important innovation.
The wiki requires that all committee chairs post the results of their committee activities. This ensures that staff and committee leadership are on the same page, ensures that other committees are not duplicating work, augments collaboration across committees, and, most importantly, ensures collective accountability for each decision made.
Technology-based innovations have been enacted to improve the transparency of the executive leadership of the organization. The board of directors meets four times a year; the purpose of the board is to ensure oversight for all SHM decisions. Because the board comprises exclusively volunteer members meeting only four times a year, it is practically impossible for the board to approve every decision made by an organization as large as SHM. To ensure the necessary efficiency and effectiveness (i.e., being sufficiently “nimble” to act on important issues in between scheduled board meetings), the executive committee (EC) was established years ago. The EC, comprised of the president, the past-president, the president-elect, and the CEO, meets every two weeks via teleconference to review and approve all essential SHM decisions.
As an innovation to augment accountability and transparency, the agenda and minutes of the EC are now posted on the SHM board portal, allowing all board members to review and comment upon the decisions made by the president, the CEO, or the EC as a whole. Any board member, at any time, can request that the full board be convened to review an agenda item or decision.
And underlying all of these initiatives to improve an already exceptional organization are the tireless efforts of the SHM staff. Though there are nearly 50 staff members now, each continues to do the work of multiple people. SHM is arguably the fastest-growing organization in history, and advancing the organization to level after level has been an exceptional challenge. But regardless of the challenge, SHM leadership and staff has come through. I have no doubt that during this next chapter in SHM’s history, the result will be the same.