6 reasons group fail
From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousmsn.com)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 23:30:46 -0600
Six Reasons groups fail:

1. No burning soul. The person who organizes all the first meetings, keeps 
things moving, never gives up, even when all seems lost.

2. Trying to find a site without help. Groups often fail at finding a site, 
and then don't ever bother to get help with this task for some wierd reason. 
There are a great number of professional brokers who, for a fee, will locate 
property on your spec. I am amazed that cohousers do not use these services 
more often. Take a developer to lunch and pick their brains on how THEY find 

3. Initial group dysfunctional/lacks group skills to get through it. This has 
killed 4 groups in the Seattle area that I know of. Very fixable with help. 
Remember, very few people who get involved with cohousing will have the skills 
needed to work effectively as a group. You need to grow these, and there are 
lots and lots of resources to help you.

4. Group buys land without adequate research into infrastructure or other 
criteria and finds out land is not developable. This killed a group on Vashon.

5. Group can't attract capital, has unrealistic fiscal expectations, for 
example, oh we'll just get grants to pay for everything. 

6. Give up after first crisis. Too many projects have gone away because of one 
or more of the above problems, or other problems, then everybody bails on the 
idea. I heard a story of a group that found a good site, but did not have its 
act together to make the purchase, took them a month to get organized with 
down payments, attorney, etc. only to find the property sold in the first 
couple of days on the Market (It actually had an offer on it when they first 
heard about it).
All five families then gave up on cohousing!  Sheesh. 

Reverse these and you will have a list of six ways to make your group succeed: 
 Have at least one totally committed person, Get professional help to find 
your site if you can't do it yourself, Get training about effective group 
decision making and conflict resolution, Do your homework on the site and have 
a good option agreement that you can bail on the site if need be, Be realistic 
about the capital required to do real estate development in your area, but 
also investigate ALL sources of capital, not just your own bank accounts, 
DON'T GIVE UP, EVER. Even if the whole group folds, just take a short break, 
then put in another ad, set up another meeting, and try again - maybe with a 
new name.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communities Association

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