DAO Confrontation and Conflict Reflection - Week 5

My First DAO Conflict Management

DALL-E "A cyberpunk poster of two keyboards in conflict over writing the constitution."
DALL-E "A cyberpunk poster of two keyboards in conflict over writing the constitution."

Conflict management is an essential skill in any workplace, and it’s one I normally feel very comfortable with, but only because I’ve spent years learning that skill (and making lots of mistakes along the way).

This week, I faced direct conflict for the first time in a DAO and Web3 and wanted to share that experience and my lessons learned.

The Conflict Case Study

In the PM Guild, we encountered a situation where our forum proposal was incorrect, and we had to address a discrepancy in the accounting role's pay.

In the PM Guild, we pay our role holders 63K BANK per season, and this reflects a 1K BANK per hour expectation and estimation of the work that the Guild Coordinator, Talent Workstream, and Education Workstream lead put in.

For the first time in Season 6, we had scoped out an Accounting Workstream Lead role.

Issue 1: The role was defined in Season 5, and all the agreements were made in a Discord chat. This was not documented anywhere else and was not part of our governance.

  • We had initially agreed that the accounting role would be paid two hours per week (so 2K BANK per week).

Issue 2: The forum proposal stated all role holders in the guild would be paid the same, so 63K BANK.

  • I was unaware of this discrepancy until it was time to run our monthly payroll for the first time on the first of the month.

Seeking guidance from the MultiSig Signers

This situation was foreign to me, so I reached out first to the signers of the MultiSig.

This is why the signers on the MultiSig must be trusted members who should be stewarding our governance.

What I needed to understand was if the forum proposal was binding and if we should be paying the 63K BANK salary regardless of how the original role was scoped hourly.

I was given the guidance that the role hours in the proposal are just “general role hours” and do not correspond to particular roles, and I received confirmation that we should be paying the role hourly, which needed to be addressed.

It was time for me to start the hard conversation.

Take This Public or Private?

I knew that I had to address this head-on and was faced with the decision to have this discussion publicly in the guild channels or privately in a direct message (DM).

I made the judgment call to first work to settle this privately in DMs.

I decided to address it this way as I truly value this individual and their contributions to the guild. Starting with public discourse before talking one-on-one didn't feel like the appropriate place to start. It was important for me to maintain respect and keep them motivated while finding a middle ground where we could agree on a solution.

While we reached a general understanding, there was an overall dissatisfaction with the resolution of the originally agreed-upon hourly wage and expectation to be paid what the forum proposal stated.

Finding The Middle Ground

Our Accounting Work Stream Lead in a role of high esteem and one of great respect and importance.

I wanted this individual to know and ensure we resolve this on the right terms.

My goal was to ensure they had been compensated appropriately for the work they were doing, but also to ensure we were conscious of and holding to what we had agreed upon when we scoped and proposed this role.

I acknowledged that the situation was frustrating and disappointing; however, in my role as Guild Coordinator, my duty is to act as a steward for the guild and the decisions we make as part of our governance. …

This one was unfortunately not documented in our forum proposal appropriately, which made it murky.

Bringing It To the Guild

While we did resolve the discrepancy privately in DMs to stick with the original accepted hourly scoping of the role, however, after now having been active in the role and having a true feeling for the day-to-day, the accounting lead did feel the guild should revisit it.

I encouraged them to begin a discussion thread in our PM Governance channel, and I fully supported engaging myself and ensuring we get this right.

My goal was to be sure that the Accounting Role was compensated for the work being completed and required to fulfill the role successfully.

I encouraged them to lead the discussion and advocate for themselves here and let them know how much I appreciated the open and respectful conversation we had on this topic.

Reaching Resolution

The guild agreed that the accounting lead needed to be compensated for the work that was being done following our 1K BANK per hour rate.

However, based on the hours submitted, there was an acknowledgment that the system for accounting is not asynchronous, nor is it sustainable. We need to set up a system where the people responsible for checking the work done are recording it so it can be consumed asynchronously.

The accounting lead should dictate their intake process and workflow to make it easy for people to submit guild costs so they won’t have to come daily to check for activities.

I followed two principles from a fellow guild member Sprinklesforwinners had posted earlier in the week:

1) Clearly expressing yourself without judgment and re-presenting facts that are documented.

2) Listening empathetically without judgment.

These two principles made the entire process smoother and enabled us to reach a resolution that was fair and just to all involved.

The resolution allowed us to move forward, ensure the role holder is properly compensated, and use this experience as an example of how we can handle and address issues as a guild.

I realize now that while this wasn't the perfect scenario, it was a prime opportunity to learn and grow as a guild.

Learning From This

But the question remains: how can we teach this skill to others?

Conflict management is not just a technical skill but also an art form that requires empathy and the ability to read a situation. It's a skill that I believe can be learned and improved upon with practice, but it's also important to recognize that everyone may have a unique approach to conflict management.

On top of that, every situation is unique, and doing this in a DAO and with anonymous contributors levels the challenge up.

I believe by fostering a culture of transparency, empathy, and respect within our guild, we can create an environment that allows open dialogue and encourages conflict resolution among our members.

It also means that we will need to use our governance documents to clearly and concisely outline the roles and expectations that our contributors have so that everyone is on the same page.

We still have a lot of work to continue refining our guild processes. Still, I am confident that if we continue to put the effort in and communicate openly and honestly, we can continue to build a strong and thriving guild.

Wins Of The Week

It felt like a huge milestone on Friday, 12/9, to present for the first time at the Community Call. I attended my first ever Community Call on 6/17 and minted my first POAP. I never envisioned that six months later, I’d be up there on the stage, getting the opportunity and privilege to discuss all the great work we are doing in the PM Guild!

Samantha Marin - Guest Speaker

Samantha Marin has been one of the pillars of DAO education. I’ve consumed almost everything podcast article and relevant forum post I could to get up the learning curve on DAOs and guilds.

So, I was super excited to get the chance to invite Samantha Marin, a legend of the DAO space, as our Guest Speaker this week to the PM Guild.

The timing felt write as the guild is at a pivot point right now, and there are a lot of new contributors in the PM Guild. I was hoping the conversation could help frame how we should be looking at ourselves and our identity as a professional organization, education, and talent hub of PM Skill.

Samantha more than delivered. The call was informative, educational, and thought-provoking and elicited great engagement and questions from various attendees.

It also left us with some great content to distill into our strategic roadmap as a guild.

ALPHA ALERT - Samantha recommended the PM Guild begin to get a more external-facing thought leadership identity. I’m working actively with another guild member to release our first Guild content on Mirror that recaps Samantha’s visit.

We’re already working with her feedback to identify how we can further collaborate on building even better educational materials to help onboard and refresh the guild on the constantly changing DAO space.

Here are the articles she reviewed with us and walked through:

Putting on the "Venom Suit” and Talking Governance

I’m a Producer Token Holder in StoryDAO, and the DAO had a chance to review and give feedback on the first proposals submitted since we had formed. One of them was expanding the Producer Token Holder pool and bringing in more contributors.

Without even thinking, I submitted the following feedback:

Now that we are making the shift to where we are making shared decisions as a DAO on the treasury and hiring talent for bounties, we want to apply that lens of how we make sure that the individuals who are active and have the context to make them collectively are appropriately represented.

We are heavily weighted towards in-active Producer Token Holders vs. Active; however, we'd all weigh in equally. Which is an approach we can keep, don't get me wrong.

The good news is in this community, as it stands through your application process, you've filtered down for values-aligned token holders. So your risk "bad actors," and there isn't a high risk of a Sybil attack.

However, once this token goes to secondary, we will be more at risk of that, and you could have bounties go up like the one we are discussing for 7 ETH.

Then the voting power is weighted towards bad actors who award the bounty to themselves or the group of individuals they are working with to subvert the reputation system.”

I surprised even myself and chatted with BPetes and likened it to putting on the Venom suit; it’s just part of me now.

To which he crystalized it even more:

"Like I put on a Venom suit" -- a voice in one's ear that is powerful, protective, but sees the worst in the world with clear eyes. Incredible analogy for that which once seen can't be unseen.

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