(Part 3 of a 4 part series)
Part III: John Scalzi Was No Moses – Evaluation of Leadership & the Potential to Lead
“Philosophically, I’m opposed to having only one candidate for a leadership position of any organization I am involved with. I don’t think it speaks well for the organizational health of the body; it suggests an apathetic membership. One can debate whether the membership is apathetic because the organization is not useful enough to be engaged in, or whether the membership is simply apathetic in a general sense (or both). Whatever the cause, it’s not an encouraging sign.” [Emphasis added]
– John Scalzi
John Scalzi, in prior SFWA elections, ran for office unopposed. Has his opinion changed since 2007? Or, is this flip-flopping and waffling? Let’s evaluate Scalzi’s term in office and use some questions as the criteria (or balancing test) to evaluate the fitness of the 2013 candidates (i.e. Theodore Beale & Steven Gould). If you are a SFWA member, you should consider these prior to casting your vote.
In reviewing Scalzi’s departure sermon, do we really need to be made aware of his “personal” triumphs while he held office? It’s really no big secret that Scalzi (who wrote several books while in office), Victoria Strauss and Ann “A.C.” Crispin have used their positions with the SFWA to expand their marketing activities. True Leadership involves self-sacrifice . . . not self-promotion.
“ . . . [I]f I am elected president, you should know now that I will view the position as something I am doing in addition to my writing career, not something of equal importance. I might as well be honest with you on that score.” [Emphasis added]
– John Scalzi
A true leader identifies completely with his/her people (membership), their purpose and is willing to give up everything for them. Did Scalzi epitomize this kind of leadership? How much did he give of himself? That is, did he devote himself to undertaking the duties and fulfilling his responsibilities relative to strengthening the SFWA membership? How much did he sacrifice? Did he sacrifice everything or was his own self-interest and self-promotion a version of his own “Golden Calf”? How encompassing was his commitment to the SFWA and its membership? Did his commitment extend to every member of the SFWA . . . or, was it handed out arbitrarily or selectively? What steps were taken, during his term in office, to ensure the timely filing of compliance documents with state and federal officials?
“I’ve never expected SFWA to do anything for me because I require nothing from it. However, I have the luxury of regarding my membership as an affectation; other members of SFWA might actually want it to do something useful for them. I happen to think SFWA can be useful; I happen to think it doesn’t do a particularly good job of being useful.”
– John Scalzi
Conversely, to what degree were all members of the SFWA able to connect with Scalzi? Was he accessible? How much influence did he weld? How effective has his leadership been? Are there still SFWA members that are in exile? As a “shepherd” did he sustain the external faith (i.e. non-members) in the organization . . . thereby causing individuals to actually want to join the organization? Did he nurture faith (or doubt) with the members of the organization? Did the membership grow or deplete during his term in office? (Note: Beale and Gould have both raised concerns about “membership” in their platforms.) Did he take steps to effectuate a positive culture within the SFWA?
I’ve never expected SFWA to do anything for me because I require nothing from it. However, I have the luxury of regarding my membership as an affectation; other members of SFWA might actually want it to do something useful for them. I happen to think SFWA can be useful; I happen to think it doesn’t do a particularly good job of being useful
– John Scalzi
During Scalzi’s term in office, based on the answers to these questions, what standards, if any, did he set for future Presidents of the SFWA? Would either of the two candidates want to emulate any of his leadership qualities . . . or merely view it as an “affection”? A true leader is able to extend his commitment to everyone . . . even those that rise direct in opposition to his own values, beliefs and concerns. Your own answers to these questions should help you evaluate both of the 2013 candidates. In addition, we hope that the candidates internalize these criteria and update their platforms to address the SFWA’s current short comings.
“I’ve been a SFWA member long enough to know that it’s a fairly thankless position, with lots of herding cats and dealing with aggravating minutiae, and I have a career to look after at the moment.”
– John Scalzi
In our opinion, Scalzi was no Moses in terms of his leadership and commitment to the SFWA. The past election results appear to indicate that his popularity was questionable. In addition, upon first review of the current platforms, it appears that a vote for Steven Gould is a vote for John Scalzi.
Part IV: Organizational Partisanship & Biasness: The Need for Change
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART IV)
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART III)
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART II)
- THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART I)
- Perfect Patsy: Steve Gould Running for SFWA President . . . Not “Interested in Sweeping Changes”
- Author Jim Hines Running for SFWA Office (but NOT President) . . . Let’s Debate.
- SFWA’s President Makes HUGE Political SNAFU! Was this Predicable?
- 2013 SFWA Presidential Election: Change or Status Quo?
Annual Reports of SFWA are (were) a Fantasy: Conflicts with Bi-Laws, Responsible Leadership and Timeliness | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). The Write Agenda™ | We scrutinize claims made by others in the publishing industry to evaluate the transparency and accuracy of their reporting. Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/annual-reports-of-sfwa-are-were-a-fantasy-conflicts-with-bi-laws-responsible-leadership-and-timeliness/
Dissention on the Rise Within the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA): Scalzi’s Departure Raises Concern About Undesirable Presidential Candidate(s) and the Future of Writer Beware™ | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). The Write Agenda™ | We scrutinize claims made by others in the publishing industry to evaluate the transparency and accuracy of their reporting. Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/dissention-on-the-rise-within-the-science-fiction-fantasy-writers-sfwa-scalzis-departure-raises-concern-about-undesirable-presidential-candidates-and-the-future-of-writer-beware/
I Am NOT Running For SFWA President (Again) (Again) (Again) – Whatever. (n.d.).Whatever. Retrieved from http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/01/14/i-am-not-running-for-sfwa-president-again-again-again/
Self-Promotion on Writer Beware™ . . . It’s an Everyday Occurance | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). The Write Agenda™ | We scrutinize claims made by others in the publishing industry to evaluate the transparency and accuracy of their reporting. Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/self-promotion-on-writer-beware-its-an-everyday-occurance/
THE 2013 SFWA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: HYPOCRISY, HERESY & HATE (PART I) | The Write Agenda™. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-2013-sfwa-presidential-election-hypocrisy-heresy-hate-part-i/
Whatever: SFWA President: I’m a Write-In Candidate. (n.d.). Scalzi.com — The online home of writer John Scalzi. Retrieved from http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004960.html
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