Why does the SEMA Board of Directors need to reduce its overall size?
- The current SEMA board meetings total 26 individuals. A smaller group would be able to have more productive discussions, see each other eye-to-eye, be prepared and be accountable. Board members in a smaller group setting are often more comfortable stating what they believe or know, voicing an “unpopular” point of view and asking questions. The result is higher quality input, analysis and better board decisions and guidance.
- Large group meetings tend toward “nobody wins” compromises rather than consensus decisions. Consensus does not mean everyone gets a half loaf. Consensus means working through an issue until people can see that, while an individual may not agree with what the majority believes is best, that person has had a chance to be heard and considered and can live with the majority’s decision. This often allows for quality analysis and the correct direction without “diluting” the decision simply to make “everybody happy.”
- The current SEMA board meetings are so large it is impractical to have representation from the councils and other committees – some of the best voices for member input and needs. By reducing the number of board seats, we could more often include and benefit from collaboration with council leaders and others, improving member input and the quality of the board’s work.
- A large board spends far too much time getting through various matters –this means the board does not have the chance to make as much progress as it should.
- It is more costly to maintain and cover the travel for a board of 26. The association spends more money to maintain a board size which creates more drawbacks than advantages.
What are some of the drawbacks of pursuing a smaller SEMA Board of Directors?
- The proposed board size may not entirely solve the difficulty of having direct conversations vs. the “group broadcast” approach requiring a microphone in the meeting room.
- The proposed board size is still fairly large and “responsibility loafing” may still occur. There will no doubt be an improvement in preparedness and accountability but it may still be a challenge to get to “consensus building” discussions.
- Reducing the number of board members could be perceived as reducing the input on board decisions – despite the board involving the council leaders and committees more directly.
What exactly will change with regard to the SEMA Board of Directors?
- The number of Board seats is currently 22, along with the chairman and the chair-elect, for 24 voting members. Additionally, the bylaws make provision for seats for a secretary treasurer and immediate past chairman, for a total of 26 at the board table. The proposed downsizing would take the board seats to 10, along with the chairman and the chair-elect, for 12 voting members, plus the secretary/treasurer and the immediate past chair, for a total of 14 at the board table.
- Manufacturer seats will be reduced from 12 to 5.
- Distributor/Retailer seats will be reduced from 8 to 3.
- Manufacturer Rep seats will be reduced from 2 to 1.
- Services will become a new category (no longer within the Distributor/Retailer segment) and will be allocated 1 seat.
- The Board will also have the discretion to increase the overall number of Board seats from 10 to 12 – one manufacturer seat along with and one retailer seat – at any time in the future if deemed beneficial.
- Each SEMA member company would be provided the opportunity to cast votes for board candidates in all categories (currently each member can vote for candidates in only the member’s category (i.e., manufacturer).
- The Board members would be eligible for to 2 three-year terms rather than the current 3 two-year terms, providing them with more opportunities to lead with less time and resources spent for re-election campaigns.
How will the SEMA Board ensure that each membership category maintains proportional representation?
- There are fractional increases in proportional representation for the Manufacturer Rep and Services categories as compared to the Manufacturers and Distributor/Retailer categories which each lose a fraction of proportional representation (Manufacturer: 54% to 50% & Distributor/Retailer: 36% to 33%).
How does permitting “voting across all categories” benefit the SEMA membership?
- The board believes that the current limitation of voting only within one’s category means the election process does not get the benefit of many voters who know a candidate in another category and are well positioned to vote on their qualifications for a board seat. Voting across all categories would allow those to vote for those who they know well, regardless of category, providing SEMA with the opportunity to have the most capable leadership possible.