Last week I talked about creating a ‘customer advisory board’ that would be dedicated to help providing feedback to and from the PASS Board of Directors. Since that blog post went out I have had a handful of conversations about the idea, including about a 15 minute talk with the Board during our meetings earlier this week. The consensus was that the idea had some merit, but not everyone was excited about it, and they had good reasons:

  1. PASS already has a group of volunteers, so why not just use them instead of creating some new, elite group?
  2. How are the discussions moderated to make certain that any NDA items are kept NDA?
  3. How are people selected for the group? Who decides?
  4. Why would anyone want to join? What incentive would there be for someone to participate?
  5. Who is allowed to start discussions?

Honestly, I really don’t have the answers to every roadblock tossed my way on this idea. All I know is that I feel we need to do something in order to increase and facilitate some open and honest discussions with the PASS Community. And right now I just don’t feel we have that vehicle. Well, not yet at least. And rather than let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’, I have decided to stop trying to make this perfect and to just dive in and get started.

I have decided to create a private group on LinkedIn that will be named the ‘PASS Community Advisory Board’, or PASSCAB. This is the vehicle that we will use to foster some communication between the Board and the Community. Unlike Thunderdome, we need a handful of rules, and we also need to decide who is allowed to join. So, here are my thoughts on the items we need to iron out.

NDA is always implied – Anything discussed in the group will be considered to be under NDA. No, I am not going to send out forms to make you sign where you promise to abide by an NDA. I am just going to rely on your honor and professionalism that you not discuss the threads with others, or write blog posts, or communicate the materials in any way. Much of the time we will probably write the words “this is NDA” when posting, just to remind people about things. If we find that you break the NDA then you are out of the club and shunned by everyone. And yes, there will also be times when we ask for you to talk about some things with others, but you should always ask first if it is OK to do so, just to be safe.

Anyone can start discussions – All Board members will be members of this group, and I expect that they will initiate some discussions, but I also want to allow for the group members to initiate discussions. We need the conversations to flow both ways.

You need to be invited to join - I am not trying to keep this group secretive, but it will be by invite only. I am going to have a badge created so your participation will be displayed on your LinkedIn profile, so people will know if you are a member. But who to invite? I have my own ideas, but I cannot have this limited to just my contacts. So, that is why I am going to ask for people to ‘nominate’ someone for membership in this group. If you know of someone in the community that you believe should be a member (including yourself), then either leave a comment here or drop me an email. For the time being I will approve the people that are nominated to join. I am not looking to limit membership to just bloggers, or just vendors, or any specific group. I want as diverse a group of community members as possible, spread throughout the globe, so that we can have the best possible feedback with regards to our ideas and direction. Oh, and you’ll need to be on LinkedIn, apparently, in order to take part in the discussions.

Why would anyone want to do this? - Good question. I am not at liberty to hand out benefits other than a virtual pat on the back as well as the badge for people to display on their LinkedIn profile. And there is always the satisfaction of helping others, as well as having a place for your voice to be heard.

I really just want to get something started with regards to the PASSCAB and see if this can grow legs or not. If it does then perhaps we move to something with a bit more structure. If it dies, it dies, and PASS doesn’t lose out on spending time and resources trying to build something perfect.

I’ll get the group set up soon enough, and expect to start sending out invites shortly thereafter. If you want to be invited to the group, just let me know. And if there is someone you feel should be included, let me know that as well.