Get used to transparency, IABC

In yesterday’s edition of The Hobson & Holtz Report, our bi-weekly podcast show, Shel and I talked a little about IABC. We’re talking about IABC a lot these days.

Our conversation was a further extension, so to speak, of the critical post by Allan Jenkins that he published last week. Like Shel and I, Allan is a long-time IABC member.

Allan’s post has generated 24 comments at the last count, with the conversation extending to topics beyond the original points he made in his post. A key point Shel and I were discussing yesterday was that this very interesting conversation about IABC is taking place openly in a blog authored by an IABC member and without anyone from IABC itself – neither the association’s leadership nor its administration – participating.

This is a perfect example of how a blog can be a highly-effective catalyst for open and transparent discussion, which will happen wherever and whenever people want to discuss a particular topic. And it will happen with or without the subject of the topic joining in, as this example shows.

I was very much hoping that Allan’s post would have prompted someone from IABC – perhaps the incoming Chair, Warren Bickford – to join in the conversation. No such luck, so obviously a wholly naive expectation.

Yet I really would have expected by now that someone from IABC’s leadership or the headquarters staff would see what’s going on with the various critical posts in recent weeks in blogs like Allan’s, Shel’s and mine.

Heck, three people from IABC headquarters in San Francisco participated in the New Communications Forum 2005 conference in Napa in January (invitations, I might add, that were extended to them by Shel and I). I would imagine that they learned a lot about new media channels like blogs, as did the other participants, and were able to articulate their learning experiences to others in the association.

So what’s the hold up here? Is it to do with command-and-control thinking about who owns the conversations? Or is it a view that a conversation on a blog isn’t worth paying attention to? Isn’t it just a bunch of members whinging and bitching in a way that’s just not right where such discussions should be held behind closed doors, as they’ve always been?

I think it’s all of the above. In which case, sorry IABC leadership and headquarters, you’d better get used to the open and transparent way of discussion. Better still, why not join in? You have absolutely nothing to lose. And you know there are at least three committed members who are ready and willing to help you see the advantages, as we keep saying in our blog posts.

(I’ve just seen an excellent post Shel’s written today on this candid, no-holds-barred debate about IABC over which IABC has no control. Do read it!)

Related NevOn post:

6 thoughts on “Get used to transparency, IABC

  1. Neville –
    While I respect your considerable intellectual heft about technology, this situation is not all that it appears.
    Allan Jenkins is no mere member. He’s an ex-IABC board member who quit after failing to attend several scheduled meetings. As finance director, he knew about IABC’s deficit. In spite of that, he asked IABC to call him internationally (from the US to Denmark) so he could listen to meetings – at IABC’s expense.
    IABC has a policy about Board member missing meetings. Jenkins fails to note his own job hops and inability to travel, instead using the blogosphere to cybersmear IABC.
    He’s abusing the technology, and all the pro-blog forces, who are ignorant about his charade. He’s got an axe to grind, and he’s taking his own failure out on the leaders who asked him to attend or leave.
    Jenkins is a traitor. Turncoat. Benedict Arnold.
    Why on earth would any current IABC leader or staff member dignify Allan’s blog?
    After one of his posts, I put in a critical comment. He violated his own published blog ethics by deleting my comment and his initial remark. And he lied and said it was by my request.
    Don’t be fooled by Allan Jenkins.
    Charles Pizzo

  2. Charles, I am extremely troubled by the turn of events in your relationship with Allan that’s now become rather public as evidenced by your comments here and elsewhere (in Shel’s blog for example).
    If you believe there are any issues surrounding Allan’s conduct when he was a member of the Executive Board, then you should formally bring that to the attention of the Board in accordance with IABC bylaws.
    The real issue here is the matter of IABC leadership and direction that have been the focus of the debate on Allan’s and Shel’s blogs, and which Allan’s original post started. A parallel discussion eventually began in Memberspeak, the member-only discussion forum, as well.
    None of these discussions has concluded anything. Yet. But they are an excellent beginning for a dialog that may prove to be a tipping point for change in how IABC develops in the coming year.

  3. Kistle Reports Progress, Quits Blog: Notes on IABC

    IABC Chair David Kistle released his 2nd Progress Report as Chairman last week. First, there was the very good news that IABC’s deficit dropped to

  4. Kistle Reports Progress, Quits Blog: Notes on IABC

    IABC Chair David Kistle released his 2nd Progress Report as Chairman last week. First, there was the very good news that IABC’s deficit dropped to

  5. Neville, I respect your position on this matter. At Jenkins’ request, I am issuing the following clarification:
    Allan Jenkins has requested that I retract certain statements (see original post above).
    He informs me that he does not, at the present time, have any outstanding accounts receivable due IABC.
    Technically, under IABC’s current accounting system, that is true — but only because the notice Jenkins has received about said expenses do not meet his exacting criteria for an invoice.
    Since Allan desires transparency in this matter, he can set the record straight if he so chooses:
    a) did you attend the Fall 2004 Board meeting in person, as you agreed to do when you signed on as a director?
    b) did you instead participate by phone, via long distance conference call, from the US to Denmark?
    c) were you advised that the expense of the call, for those who particpated by phone, would be borne by Board members?
    d) have you received e-mails regarding this topic, and then a copy of the conference call invoice?
    e) have you made any payment or reimbursed IABC for the expense related to this phone participation?
    f) please specifiy precisely what would constitute a proper invoice to you, and how you must receive it.

  6. I had a hard think about your comments, Charles, on whether to delete them or leave them up. I decided to leave them up and make these comments in response.
    I am truly at a total loss to understand what’s driving you in your vilification campaign of Allan Jenkins. That’s what it looks like to me. You are using public blogs like mine to pursue what seems to me to be an unholy agenda based on some personal issue with Allan. As I said in my previous comment, if you believe that Allan has committed some kind of misconduct, or has in some way not fulfilled his obligations when he was a member of the Executive Board, then you should be raising that with the Executive Board in accordance with IABC’s bylaws or policy document, rather than displaying your dirty laundry here.
    Charles, I also want to say that you are someone I have always had great respect for. As a past IABC Chairman, you led the association through some tricky times. Yet, in my eyes, you are undoing this respect by your actions at the moment. Not only your comments here but also comments you have made, for instance, to a post on the IABC blog in reply to comments by Robert Holland.
    But I really do not intend to get into a debate or any further discussion with you in my blog about your issues. As I said, please take those issues and raise them through the appropriate formal IABC channels.
    My final comment is this, and is addressed to Allan. Allan, if you are offended by any of the comments here and wish me to remove them, let me know (email) and I will do so. Otherwise I will leave things as they are.
    I am now closing further commenting to this post.

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