Motorcycle Bloggers International.
There aren't any photos for this post. I just need to get something off my chest. I really try not to post anything that could cause offense to too many people. It's a carryover from being a motorcycle safety professional, I guess. While I personally feel that it's possible to be too politically correct, as instructors we have to keep our personal opinions to ourselves. If something we say or do makes a student shut down towards us, we've robbed them of the the chance to get what they need. In other words, the critical training has to take precedence whether I agree with a person's views or not.
That's been the case with this blog. I try to share riding wisdom and tips as well as share stories of commuting. Despite being a fairly opinionated person, I've really tried to keep that out of this blog. Some people make a great living at being controversial. That's not the goal for me here. Which is why most of us don't try to use our blogs for commercial gain. We're all more alike than not. It's so much more fun to celebrate what we have in common than to fight over differences, don't you think?
Nonetheless, I'm going to cross my self-imposed line here. Rather than write something under the influence of a provocation, I've let it sit on the back burner for a few days. I find that I'm still compelled to write this. It has to do with the leadership of the MBI. This will not be complementary. It is not, by extension, an indictment of the good bloggers who belong to this organization. It's aimed squarely at Mike Werner.
When MBI started, I joined, as did a lot of other bloggers. My impression was that it would be a forum for fellow motorcycle related bloggers to interact. Turns out that the expressed purpose was to present annual awards in the motorcycle industry. I'm ok with that even though it's not what I expected. One of our own, Steve Williams received an award last year for best scooter related blog. Something like that. Sorry Steve! His most excellent blog, Scooter in the Sticks, was certainly deserving. In my mind, that's a very positive thing that came out of the awards.
What's not so positive is the communications to those of us who are slow to "participate".
I've been in leadership roles for most of my life. I've also had extensive training in this capacity. Every once in a while I've needed to sit someone down and ask them this question.
"Do you realize that you are perceived as ( fill in the blank )?"
So I'm presenting the following in this light. Yes, I'm also sending a personal communication to Mike, as well. The reason I'm making this as public as my blog allows it to be is that I'd encourage others to express their feelings to Mike.
Here's a couple of recent e-mails I've received. I'm just one of a long list of receipients.
Dear fellow blogger,
It may have escaped your notice, but we're in the middle of our annual award voting process at MBI. Since you yourself asked to join this group, and we've clearly stated that the main reason for MBI was to hold an annual awards program, we ask your help and cooperation.
So, please do make me send reminders after reminders.....So far, only 30 of 152 of you have voted, and 26 have written about the awards. That's really bad !!!!
This is become very boring. Out of 157 members, only 63 have voted at the MBI members area. After a lot of work by some MBI members, plus upcoming costs for the PR releases on the awards (they don't come cheap), it would seem that most of you can't find the time to spend a minute to vote as MBI member.
Are you not interested in MBI, if so, let me know, and we'll remove you from the membership. That way you'll not receive these messages from me.
MBI was created initially for the awards, and with the awards, we hope to gain strength and credibility with the industry. If you think the MBI is a waste of your time, that's fine, but than let us know. If you're traveling, that's understandable (I know some of you are on world tours).
These e-mails didn't make me feel motivated to participate. I'd be more likely to follow the course set out in the second sentence of the second e-mail. In other words, I'm pretty much shut down to the message.
Mr. Werner, you're more perceived as punitive here, not as a leader trying to share a vision. I'm sure many who received these and other e-mails feel similarly. On the positive side, here's a little feedback.
63 out of 157 comes out to around 40 percent. If only that small a percentage are buying in, then perhaps there's a failure to communicate your vision. Up until this most recent e-mail, I personally had no clue that awards were the express purpose here. Maybe I'm not the only one. Better communications presented in a more positive manner might be in order. Here's a formula I use constantly with people who report to me.
Performance = Capacity - Interference
I have to assume good intent on the part of these folks. If performance isn't happening then I have to look at what might be getting in the way. It might not be the person at all. It might be something the company's not doing correctly. Could the same be true for MBI?
That's as far as I'm going here. It's feedback, not derision. If others of you feel the same way then express yourselves. MBI could be a really good thing. Member participation entails more than just following directions, though. Leadership needs input from the troops to help determine how things are going. Done with the right motivation, this input can be a positive thing.
Miles and smiles,