Task vs. Process
From: Ben Levi (bendimensional.com)
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 10:45:29 -0500
I would like to relay my experience both in living in community for
three years, as well as participating in one of Scott Peck's 4-day
community-building workshops.

My experience is that living in co-housing/community is a full-bodied
experience, and that means that people bring their hearts as well as
their heads. The key to making any community/co-housing work is to find
a way to honor both.

This raises interesting issues when it comes to holding meetings. My
experience is that there are generally two kinds of meetings: those that
are "task" meetings designed for "decision-making", and those that are
"process" meetings designed to share feelings and work out conflicts
without necessarily reaching any decisions. A major problem can arise
when you try to have a meeting where both energies are wanting "air
time". In my experience, this can easily lead to disaster.

The reason is that there are two different 'agendas' present, and I, for
one, usually like it clarified beforehand which kind of meeting it's
going to be: a business meeting where I come prepared to make decisions,
or a heart-space meeting where I come to support people in building
community in an open-ended sharing. 

In Scott Peck's 4-day workshop, this showed up very clearly when we went
from our 'process' phase of building community (which took two days) to
actually trying to get something accomplished as a group. I offered to
facilitate the group to "solve a problem" we were given, and in the
midst of doing so, a lot of additional feelings came up which really
threw a wrench into the problem-solving effort. I saw quickly that we
needed to build our community again, and told the group I sensed that we
needed to put aside our problem solving plan until we worked the
emotional charge out. I sat down, and didn't step back into my
facilitation role until our group worked out what it needed to, and I
was asked to resume. It was a powerful lesson in balancing 'task' and
'process' in a container.

Because both are essential to creating and maintaining community (as
well as a healthy co-housing situation), it's important to have both
kinds of meetings, but I highly recommend you not mix the two in the
same meeting...or if you do, make sure you get *everyone's* agreement
that you're consciously switching from one mode to the other. Otherwise
you'll have a very confused group on your hands.

Ben Levi
Geneva Group, Lyons Colorado
Seven lots sharing 175 acres, with one that has just become available!
-- 
Ben Levi            | Ph:303-546-0679    | Fax: 303-473-0489
2800 Kalmia, #A-327 | Boulder, CO  80301 | ben [at] dimensional.com
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