|Re: Codifying decision-making||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Mac Thomson (ganeshrmi.net)|
|Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 08:14:01 -0500|
Paul Milne wrote: > > We have been discussing the decision-making process, and although there > is a consensus that consensus decision making is a good thing and will > be encouraged, there is a recognition that there may be times when this > isn't possible, and so other structures may be incorporated -- interest > groups / sub-committees, executive board, majority voting, etc. > > I/we would be very interested in finding out how others deal with this, > and *especially* how it has been codified in any written agreements / > constitutions / what have you. Here's our agreement on decision making for whatever it's worth: ****************************************** DECISION MAKING There's a lot of overlap among "MEETINGS", "FACILITATOR¹S GUIDELINES", and this document. Use them in conjunction with each other. All decisions will be made by consensus of a quorum of members except: When we delegate authority to a committee, individual, or some other subgroup. We will rely heavily on delegation in order to streamline decision making and minimize the community work required of members. These subgroups will make their decisions by consensus of their participants. Decisions made by authorized subgroups will have the same effect of those made by the whole community. When the group (or a subgroup) feels that some alternative decision making method is more appropriate than consensus. To choose a decision making method other than consensus, an Alternative Method Vote is taken and requires a vote of 75% of the members present. Examples of such situations are: When a decision must be made in a timely fashion, we may then opt for a Super Majority Vote. See the ³SUPER MAJORITY VOTE² section below for a full description. In the case where we must decide on design details or other issues of personal taste, then we may adopt a different decision process. For purposes of establishing a quorum and Alternative Method Voting, we will consider individual members rather than member households. A person is considered to be a member as defined in the ³MEMBERSHIP LEVELS² document. Quorum is established by the presence of 51% of all members. Only members who are present can vote. If an alternative method of decision making is employed, voting may be done on a per person or a per household basis or in whatever manner the group decides during the Alternative Method Vote. All decisions will remain in force until they are replaced by another decision. A majority vote is necessary to reconsider a decision previously made. CONSENSUS Philosophy Consensus is different from other kinds of decision making because it stresses the cooperative development of a decision with group members working together. Since the goal is group unity, rather than winning a majority of votes, every member is considered important and the group tries to listen to and respond to each person¹s needs and opinions. Because of this process of incorporating all members¹ wisdom, consensus can create better decisions. A consensus decision has 3 essential ingredients: It is made from the community¹s perspective. Everyone feels heard. Everyone agrees not to hinder its implementation. Although reaching consensus can often take more time initially than other forms of decision making, the decisions will be much better implemented because all members own the decisions made and there will not be as much time required in the future to ³fix² poorly implemented decisions. Consensus does not mean that everyone must be completely satisfied with the final outcome. Rather, consensus means that everyone is at least able to say, ³Whether I am in complete agreement or not, I feel heard, and the decision appears to be in the best interest of the community. Therefore, I will participate in its implementation.² Consensus fosters important values and skills such as respect for others¹ opinions, responsibility for the group, and cooperation that help build community and carry over into other activities. Consensus Decision Making Requires: Unity of Purpose We are working together to make the best decisions possible for the good of the group, even when issues stir strong emotional responses within us. We trust that a wise decision or solution exists and that we will find it. We are guided by our shared beliefs which are described in our Vision and Values statement. Cooperation We share information and resources and provide mutual support and suggestions. We are all pulling to find a solution that best meets everyone¹s needs. Our power to persuade will depend on truth, creativity, logic, respect, and love, and will not involve deception, coercion, or malice. Mutual Trust We feel free to openly contribute facts, ideas, opinions, conclusions, and feelings. This trust arises when we know that, despite differences, others will respect us, be fair with us, and care about our feelings. Common Ownership of Ideas A consensus decision is owned equally by all of us. Personal attachment to ideas hinders the process. That Feelings are Valued Feelings have wisdom also. If emotions are not addressed, the process suffers and good decisions cannot be made. That Conflict is Valued Argument and conflict do occur. In fact, conflict is an important element that can spur us to clearer thinking, better understanding, and greater creativity. Anyone who feels uncomfortable about a proposed solution must have the honesty and courage to speak up and take the risk of engaging in conflict until a solution emerges that they can support. See the policy on ³CONFLICT RESOLUTION². Equal Power We strive to ensure that all of us have equal opportunity for participation, roles of authority, and access to information because consensus decision making requires a high level of involvement and responsibility from all participants. In fact, each of us needs to feel responsible for every meeting we attend. Time & Process In order to make good decisions and nurture our community, we respect the process and give it the time that it needs. Willingness to Learn Skills Consensus decision making requires skills such as communication, facilitation, and meeting participation that we may not have yet developed. In order to develop these skills, we are willing to work to learn them. SUPER MAJORITY VOTE Although, not the only reason for utilizing a Super Majority Vote, timeliness will sometimes preclude the use of consensus. Once a decision has been exempted from consensus by an Alternative Method Vote, the decision needs a Super Majority percentage of votes for passage. The Super Majority percentage is usually 75%, but that needs to be agreed upon during the Alternative Method Vote. The decision to use a Super Majority Vote should be considered carefully because many of the advantages of consensus can be lost. When using a Super Majority Vote, the concerns of the minority must be heartfully attended to. RESOURCES Building United Judgment, A Handbook for Consensus Decision Making CoHousing Magazine, Spring 1994, pg 10. CoHousing Resource Guide 1995, chapter 1. On Conflict & Consensus, a handbook on Formal Consensus decision making, C.T. Lawrence Butler. *********************************** -- Mac Thomson San Juan Cohousing ganesh [at] rmi.net Durango, Colorado "When the forms of the old culture are dying, a new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid of being insecure."
Codifying decision-making Paul Milne, May 21 1997
- Re: Codifying decision-making Mac Thomson, May 28 1997
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