RE: consensus and the greater good of the group
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 1997 08:28:57 -0600
One way to evaluate an issue or proposal in terms of personal interest vs. 
group interest is to ask the person, How is this issue in the best interest of 
everybody in the group?

You don't necessarily have to make every decision in the best interest of the 
group either. You can be aware of, and support as a group, a personal interest 
if you choose to do so. The key is, being aware of what you are doing. When it 
gets murky one thing to do is to jump into problem solving mode, brainstorm up 
all the pros, and cons you can think of about the issue, and identify areas 
you need information, and then identify all the assumptions you are making. I 
have found this clears the mud pretty quickly sometimes.

Another way is to look for a common goal or purpose. Why should we have a pet 
policy at all? Why should we look for an urban site at all? Why should we have 
childcare at all at meetings? etc.  Identify the broad goals for the issue 
first, then use them to define the specifics. This can also let you filter out 
stuff that doesn't fit by asking, how does this support the goals we are 
trying to accomplish

If the primary goal for an urban site is ease of public transportation, and 
you find a less than urban site, cheaper, with great public transportation, 
you may have a solution.

As for site selection stuff, I would advise breaking your group into two if 
you need to, with one pursuing exclusively an urban setting, and another 
working on low income setting. You may merge and cross pollinate each other in 
many areas. Remember that once a site is selected, this is a place where many 
groups experience some turn over in their membership. So expect people to 
leave the group, and don't get paralyzed over site requirements, if a great 
site appears, take it, let the folks it doesn't work for, continue in another 
group. The worst thing to do is to get set up with impossible site 
requirements, never find a site, then eventually just fading away.

Rob Sandelin

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.