|meeting times and feelings||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Jennifer Lynn Mccoy (poljlmpanther.Gsu.EDU)|
|Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 10:34:52 -0500|
In response to the questions and discussion about how to handle how all of the issues and process needs within a reasonable meeting time: At Lake Claire in Atlanta, during pre-construction and construction, we were meeting weekly on Thursdays, 7:00-9:00 pm, with a potluck for newcomers from 6:00-7:00pm during the early stages when we were still looking for people. Once we filled up and got into heavy contract, finance and then construction phases, we dropped the potluck. We realized, however, that we were spending all of our time on such details, and no time at all on community. Five months after groundbreaking, we held a weekend retreat at a state park and invited a professional facilitator to work on consensus skills, address latent personal concerns of individuals, build interrelationships, and lay out an agenda for "community life and house rules" discussions. At that retreat we found out individuals had different needs to make decisions, and so we planned to incorporate all the styles -- brainstorming free for all, quiet time for thinking, written proposals, and orderly, facilitated discussions (raising hands) at appropriate points. We decided to change the meeting schedule to allow time for everything we needed, and moved to the following: 2 Sundays/month -- 2:00-4:00 pm (strict time schedule), Community Life meetings, with two issues per week. No other business allowed. We would start with a half-hour of brainstorming on a new issue to get everyone's feelings on the table. Then the Community Life committee would take those feelings and parameters to their committee meeting during the week and draw up proposed house rules/guidelines, also utilizing information we had been culling from this list, to bring back to the group for discussion, modification, and approval at the next Sunday meeting. Each issue discussion was structured with: 10 minutes to read the proposal and write down personal comments, 10 minutes of free-for-all discussion, 5 minutes quiet reflection, 15 minutes ordered discussion and resolution of the policy guidelines. This worked extremely well. The facilitator used a little bell to indicate the times were up. 2 Thursdays/ month, 7:00-9:00 pm (usually went overtime to 9:30 or 10:00 pm) -- Business meetings with babysitting provided. All committees, including Executive Committee, would bring reports and decision items to this meeting and these were facilitated by a group member. 2 Thursdays/ month, 7:00-9:00 or 10:00 pm -- Committee Meetings. This schedule worked well, but meant that most people were meeting an average of 1.5 meetings per week. I don't see how we could have done it with fewer meetings. We also utilized email for the Executive Committee alot, and a few times phone calls to the entire group for urgent construction decisions (though this method was not desirable to most of the group). One other very important thing -- to deal with the personal side of the whole process, we from the beginning had used a method we called "The Stick". (I don't know if this is a common cohousing practice, but no one has mentioned it, so I will.) At the end of every meeting, we would pass around an object (a native American symbolic stick, or any object we could find). Whoever had the stick had the floor to express whatever they were feeling -- excitement, anxiety, hurt feelings, etc. When we started the community life Sunday meetings, we changed the practice to START with the stick, allowing 15 minutes in which we put the object on the floor and whoever wanted to say anything would pick it up and have the floor as long as they were holding it. This method worked very well for airing personal concerns as well as sharing good news. Now that we have moved in, we are meeting every other Thursday, and spending the rest of our time on work days trying to finish the exterior (landscaping, etc.). Jennifer McCoy Lake Claire Cohousing, Atlanta jmmcoy [at] gsu.edu
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.