Re: Consensus Decisions
From: Dahako (Dahakoaol.com)
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 18:50:50 -0600
Hi - 

Our group, Eno Commons, is actually in development right now.  We've used
consensus for everything but the street name and found that our group can come
to consensus quickly when necessary.  We've found it helps to try to identify
necessary decisions as far in advance as possible and have someone volunteer
to spearhead information gathering and developing a proposal or options paper.
If the group understands when a deadline is and why we have it, we have found
we can make timely, good decisions.  If the deadline is not clear, or it is
not clear why we need a decision, things can get dicey.  For example, last
week we were able to come up with enough money to do some "make-up" grading
required to allow enough space on lots for our geothermal loops, and we had
less than a week's notice of the amount - but we had known about and discussed
the additional grading and how to manage getting the funds.  On the other
hand, we keep putting off bringing pet policy and shed policy and things like
up from committee that because we are not yet up against a deadline for them.

It helps to be willing to have extra business or committee meetings at the
drop of a hat and to have lots of informal social time - on the phone or in
person - where people can remember why they are doing this crazy cohousing
thing.

When things get really sticky we call in the cavalry: a facilitation/mediation
consultant, a consultantwho converted our community goals into three really
neat color pallettes we could select among. . .and so on.  And, I must note,
we are a dual track development, so our developer handles the day-to-day
development management.

We don't use cards, but have found that, even without them, some decisions are
driven by one or two people who feel very strongly and the rest stand aside.
Some of this sort of decision are actually very strong, but they do seem to
leave a different residual "feel" within the group than the ones where we all
completely agree.  I think we are learning that if our relationships with each
other support a fair amount of trust that people mean what they say
(completely - including intent and ability to carry through), then the
decisions we make will generally be sound.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eno Commons
Durham, NC
Where our first foundation is complete, geothermal ground loops and all, with
framing to start next week.  We're doing a little more grading to allow the
next 15 homes to go forward (El Nino willing) and to get our garden space
clear.  We're planning a community retreat at the beach the first week in
April to work on "community" skills. If you want to join us, there are 6 more
lots (3 large and 3 small) and we're looking for a few more good neighbors. 

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