|Questioning Consensus||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (Robsanmicrosoft.com)|
|Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 09:29:12 -0500|
I would offer the following group process suggestions: 1. Use a variety of decision making processes. =20 2. Do your homework before applying consensus. I suggest at a minimum = reading Building United Judgement. There are important pre-requisites to = using consensus. 3. Recognize that the goal should be do create a collaborative process, = which elicts ideas from everyone, examines all the facts and details, = searches for all the alternative solutions. If you do this, you can = hold a vote, be on the losing side, and still feel Ok about it. I agree with Dan that many cohousing groups use consensus very poorly. = However, I disagree that the problem is consensus. My observations have = taught me that the real problem is a combination of bad facilitation and = poor/destructive communication. I have observed groups who use consensus with great success, and who = have used collaborative process for a long time. (FIC, NICA, Love Isreal = family, Teramanto, Wesleyian Community, SOngaia) However, these groups = also have what I would call high levels of sense of community. They = work together well, like and honestly care about each other, and have = very good interpersonal communication skills, and excellent = facilitators. I have seen consensus fail miserably in groups who are not very tight, = where people care more about themselves than the group, and have poor or = even destructive communication behaviors. Many groups never really = experience high quality facilitation or even honest collaborative = process. Facilitation is the key to any group process and it requires = training. In my opinion the worse problems in the groups I have = observed could be cured by good facilitation. A significant mistake I = see is groups who rotate faciliation, regardless of training, or = interest. In my opinion, many cohousing groups are not really committed to each = other , or the group enough to really work out communication and = interpersonal issues. I have found that you have to have a high level = of interpersonal communication skills, both individually and as a group = in order to create an environment where consensus will work. When = people get attacked, disregarded, disrespected or just ignored consensus = doesn't work. I would also agree with Dan, that consensus has very high requirements = and is very difficult. I disagree that it isn't worth it, or doesn't = work. I have experienced well facilitated, dynamic consensus process = enough to know that it works very well. I agree that many cohousing = groups would be better off using another form of collaborative process - = If you don't honestly love and care about your community, you are = wasting your time with consensus. I would encourage you to attend an FIC board meeting. They run a pretty = impressive consensus process amoung a pretty rowdy, opinionated and = radical bunch.=20
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