|Re: CH game room||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Becky Schaller (bschallertheriver.com)|
|Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 00:05:05 -0500|
Patty, I tried sending this a few days ago, but it didn't get through. Hopefully, this time. Some of it was said by someone else in an email since then, but I'm going to go ahead and send this as it was. I don't have any direct answers for the situation your group is in, but I do have a few thoughts. In terms of new members coming in and vetoing the decisions of the past -- we have a policy which is that once a decision is made, that's the decision of the group. If someone wants the group to reconsider that decision, then five people need to agree that it is worth the groups time to reconsider it. (That number is somewhat arbitrary.) If the group decides to reopen that decision for consideration, even then the old decision holds fast unless everyone in the group agrees to change it. Also all decision consensus are written down. When new members come in, they are really agreeing to be willing to live by all the agreements that the group has made up to that time. (Unfortunately, we are not as good about letting new people know what these decisions are as we might be, but it's also a matter of not wanting to overwhelm people with too much information.) In looking at what happened in your group in retrospect (or with 20:20 hindsight), these are the places I think things could have gone differently. 1. When the member wanted confirmation that the pool table would go in the game room, all that was really necessary was to look in the minutes. 2. Since it was brought up, then I think the proposal should have been worded to change the previously made decision. For example, the proposal would be, "Over a year ago, as a group, we consensed on the following. Blah, blah, blah. We are now looking at changing that to blah, blah, blah. Do you agree, stand aside, or stop the decision. (We've recently asked ourselves a question related to this. If you have 40% of the people in the group standing aside, but not blocking, then do you have a consensus decision? It seems clear that the answer to that question is that you don't. But what if you have ten per cent of the group standing aside? One person? Where do you draw the line. In our group, we decided that if you have at least one person standing aside, then the group would need to look at where the various people are on that particular question and decide whether or not there is consensus or not.) 3. The third place I would suggest that you consider looking at the situation a bit differently is to look at all decisions as in process. That means that even when someone is blocking a decision, the group can still move forward. In our group, we have a process for this. Basically/theoretically it works like this. The group spends three meetings discussing a particular decision. On the third meeting, someone puts out a proposal to see if we have consensus. If someone is blocking or if there are two or more sides who can't agree, then those people who feel most strongly about an issue form a committee and continue discussing to see if they can come up with a solution which they can agree upon. If so, it's brought to the group. If not, then the group may decide to go to a vote on a particular proposal. If so, 80% of the people need to agree to that proposal for it to be a decision of the group. I've been involved in consensus decision making since high school and I've never seen consensus decision making thought out as well as it has been in cohousing. This group has a wealth of information on the subject. I wish you the best in working this issue out with your group. Becky Schaller Sonora Cohousing Tucson, AZ We're planning on starting constuction of thirty-six units on 4.7 beautiful acres this fall in central Tucson. Jim Leach is working as our developer. You may check out our website at http://www.igc.apc.org/tndc/ > Over one year ago a community member asked the group if we were interested in > a donation of a family heirloom slate pool table for use in the common house > game room. We enthusiastically accepted the offer. He went to the expense of > pulling it out of storage and restoring it. > > Last week at our regular business meeting the same member brought it back up > to the group to receive confirmation that the pool table would indeed be > placed in the game room. A long discussion followed with some of the newest > members expressing some discomfort with the notion. After several rounds we > crafted a proposal that incorporated two concerns: that the pool table be > made convertable to a ping-pong table and that the issue be revisited in 6 > months after move in. When put to a vote one new member thumbed it down. >
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