|RE: Governance: Decision board idea from Sharingwood||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 14:42:26 -0500|
Meeting process and goverance are continually being experimented with at Sharingwood. We often try out different ideas, evaluate them, then adopt them or try something else. We are finding that many things do not require large group meetings to decide, and also many things fall outside of the committee structure. People have ideas or projects they want input on, or decisions need to be made. One thing we are doing to deal with the above is called the decision board. There are bunches of niddly little things that need to get decided, everything from how to rearrange the furniture of the commonhouse to the layout and design of the drink station, to how much money to credit for meal reimbursement. The decision board works like this: I have an idea which does not need large group decision, but I want to consult and get input from people interested. There is a folder on one bulletin board with bright pink papers on it which have a heading in big letters that say: To Be Decided. I write my idea under the heading, add a date, time and place for a meeting and post it on the decision board. (Have to give at least 5 days notice)=20 People check the decision board, those interested in my idea come to the meeting or write their comments on the form. Me and those who come to the meeting, make the decision, record what we decided on the back of the form (for record keeping purposes) and implement the decision. Full automony. Note: this method currently is only used for decisions which meet certain criteria so they do NOT need full membership approval. The criteria are posted next to the folder with the forms. This system requires all Woodies to check the decision board regularly (cruise the commonhouse at least once a week or have a buddy alert you) which puts the responsibility on everyone to stay in the loop. It also provides a way for individiuals to do things, take action, make stuff happen, and also do it in a way that no one can say, I didn't know about that..... As to some of Macs questions, Sharingwood is both in the living together and constuction stage so we have committees for continual stuff, and the decision board and task forces forms the rest. If an issue arises which we need a group to formulate policy, we form a disappearing task force which holds meetings, drafts a proposal and presents it at the large group meeting. Our commonhouse committee for example is currently transitioning from construction, which is almost over, to maintenance and policy. There is some turn over, the folks who were interested in the electrical plan, don't care much about the cleaning schedule, and vice versa. Average hours in meetings a week widely varies by the individual. If you want to be involved in everything, and there are few *special* folks who do, you could spend 6 hours a week. Most of average 5-6 hours of meetings a month, excluding dinner, which sometimes functions as an adhoc meeting. Committee membership turns over regularly and sometimes committees disappear from lack of participation. Our social committee has dissapeared for example. No one is interested in planning parties, so we have unplanned parties instead.=20 Rob Sandelin's tip of the day Inside every old person is a young person saying, How the hell did this happen? >Original Message----- Sent: Thursday, May 16, 1996 8:12 AM Subject: Governance One of my interests is in cohousing management, governance, organization structure whatever you want to call it. There hasn=B9t been too much=20 talk here about what groups have learned in these areas and how they go=20 about taking care of the business of the community in the most efficient and satisfying manner possible. Since every group must deal with this,=20 I would think that we could learn quite a bit from each other. As our organization evolves, I=B9ve been checking some past coho-l=20 postings to see how other cohousing organizations have evolved in terms=20 of governance. There seems to be general agreement that the use of=20 consensus in no way precludes the use of delegation. I=B9ve also = noticed=20 that a few groups (Southside, Nyland, and Sharingwood) have consolidated their committee structures. My understanding is that there was a=20 problem with too many committees all responsible for different=20 miscellaneous activities and some activities perhaps falling between the cracks and being the responsibility of no committee. In consolidating,=20 the group created an oversight body of some sort and created just a=20 small number of committees to whom ALL activities were distributed. Here=B9s some questions to stimulate some discussion: Is my explanation of what happened with these groups somewhat accurate? Have other groups gone through similar consolidation? Who has a system that they think works particularly well? Particularly=20 poorly? Does the construction period require the same type of governance=20 structure as when you=B9re actually living in cohousing? How many hours per month does the average member spend in meetings? --=20 Mac Thomson San Juan Cohousing ganesh [at] rmi.net Durango, Colorado "Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love." - Henry David Thoreau
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