|Re: consensus and the greater good of the group||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Mac Thomson (ganeshrmi.net)|
|Date: Sat, 8 Feb 1997 08:47:07 -0600|
This is a timely issue for us at San Juan Cohousing as we are just working through our policies on consensus. > Carrie Burmaster of Liberty Village that is looking at how we > use consensus. Our reference point is C.T. Butler's book on Conflict and > Consensus. My question relates to how you go about deciding whether a > person's concerns about an issue are or are not related to the greater > good of the group or whether they represent individual preference, > possibly leading to that person standing aside. Does the decision about > whether it is an > individual or group concern become another issue upon which consensus has > to be reached, does the individual him or herself get to determine that, > is there a vote, > etc., etc. As I remember Butler's book, formal consensus requires that the person standing in the way of a decision must do so based on the previously recordered documents and decisions of the group. So, for example, if a person can't show that the Vision Statement (or some other policy or decision) calls for respect for the environment or use of native plants only, he couldn't stand in the way of a decision to plant Russian Olive trees on the grounds that they are a non-native plant and the use of them would be bad for the community. In a way, this is a more formal/rigid approach to what Rob recommended in his post about getting back to the purpose or goal of a decision and comparing that with the reason someone has for standing in the way. Hopefully your group's Vision will be a statement of purpose or goals and so you can compare how the decision does or doesn't support your Vision. Regarding the post from Canada in which someone was standing in the way of the group buying a piece of land because it wouldn't work for them personally, the question raised was is it possible that someone "could live with the decision" even if they couldn't live in the community if the decision were made. A resounding "YES". This would obviously be a very difficult decision and poosibly a personal sacrifice, but I think that it's obvious that in thinking of the good of the group, it's much better to have the group create a cohousing community with whomever can live on a particluar piece of land than to wait forever for a piece that works for everyone that may never come along. And finally, in response to a comment made by Molly of Cambridge Co-Housing where a person standing in the way of a decision may change to standing aside with the statement, "I feel the sense of the meeting is to move forward, I will not stand in the way..." This is a very scary statement to me. I feel that a person should stand aside because they think that the decision will be OK for the group, but not so good for them personally, not because the group is impatient to move on. Consensus is about spending the time necessary to allow everyone get to a decsion they can live with. If someone decides not to stand in the way because "the sense of the meeting is to move forward", I don't think this is consensus at all. Other comments? -- Mac Thomson San Juan Cohousing ganesh [at] rmi.net Durango, Colorado "Have the gumption to live differently AND the sense to let everyone else live differently."
consensus and the greater good of the group Carrie Burmaster, February 3 1997
- Re: consensus and the greater good of the group MollyW, February 4 1997
- Re: consensus and the greater good of the group Sarah Kerr, February 4 1997
- RE: consensus and the greater good of the group Rob Sandelin, February 6 1997
- Re: consensus and the greater good of the group Mac Thomson, February 8 1997
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