|RE: To accept or not to accept||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 12:01:56 -0500|
One thing that I think would have been enourmously helpful for us would have been some sort of training program for members. If every member knew the basics of Consensus, cooperative communication techniques, and basic mediation techniques, things would go SO much easier. These things are not taught by society or in typical schooling, but can be learned. (I teach just such a weekend course) Sort of the Community school idea, giving folks who have no experience or training in group endeavors, proven techniques for being effective members of a group.=20 I have found that people with good communication skills, no matter what their personality types, can be great members of a group. Conversely, great people who lack cooperative experience and have poor communication skills can, without intending to do so, really cause huge problems within a group. I know of one start up group that died after the first couple of meetings due to one persons poor communication skills. This is pretty extreme, but it happens. Often the person causing the problem is unaware of their style and its effects and they blunder along without getting any constructive feedback or training. These people are not bad, they are just ignorant of group communication needs. It would be easy to reject such a person as being "difficult", yet all they really need is some training in how to be an effective member of a group. =20 I am not sure what criteria you could use for who becomes a member. A very common place cohousing residents seem to get out of balance over is the sense of community vs. convient place to live debate. Many folks who found cohousing groups put in huge energies because they want to build a sense of community. Often, folks who join later join for the benefits and convienance, with much less willingness to make commitments to the community. This dichotomy can become an undercurrent of dissatisfaction from both sides, those who want more community activities and involvements and those who want less. I have heard this from residents of 9 cohousing groups so it seems to be pretty common place. >From my place on the soap box, I would encourage you to filter for those who seek community and are willing to commit time to it. Creating a strong vision statement which must be ackowleged by signing, would be a good place to start. Creating a membership survey process might be another, where prospective members explain why they want to join and what they bring to the group. Unfortunately, most capital project groups find that at a late stage they will sign up any warm body with money in order to make the project fundable and spend their recruitment time "selling" all the benefits of the project, never once asking potential members what THEY can offer. So picking members may be kind of luxery that you don't really have. Rob Sandelin Sharingwood Community Northwest Intentional Communities Association
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