Pool table consensus
From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousclassic.msn.com)
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 19:04:14 -0500
The question you asked, how do you bring new people in to a consensus process, 
is an interesting one.  One of the problems many cohousing groups find is that 
their membership is unstable for awhile as the project turns and swirls. One 
of the things that many groups seem to miss is that almost nobody outside of 
cohousing and a few non-profits uses collaborative decision making, thus the 
people who come into your group do not know how to do this very well.

Even if you give people a document that describes your process, it probably 
won't teach people the attitudes they need to be sucessful in a collaborative 
process.

In my opinion, the decision you mentioned about whether or not to have a pool 
table in the game room is a classic example of misuse of large group meeting 
time. This  should never have been on the agenda in the first place. This is a 
small group decision. Most  cohousing groups I visit use ineffective consensus 
and meeting methods and have poor facilitation, which ends up at various times 
tying the group up in knots over totally stupid issues which really should not 
even be on the large group agenda. This is why groups have 4-6 hour meetings, 
where a few people are intense about a small issue while everybody else sits 
on the sidelines. 

There are ways where you can get a lot more accomplished with 90 minute 
meetings than you can in four hour meetings. But to do it right takes training 
and commitment from everyone in the group. And your first commitment is that 
no meeting lasts more than 90 minutes. Ever.

Rob Sandelin
Effective Consensus Workshops
Now registering for 1999.


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