|RE: Pool table consensus||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousclassic.msn.com)|
|Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 10:20:50 -0500|
Thanks for describing your process, it sounds like you function really well. I apologize for the tone of my comments, I had just returned from working with a very dysfunctional group and that left me with some energy left over that ended up in that post. I particularily did not mean to insinuate that your group was anything other than wonderful, but the example was a good one where in my opinion, large group time was not needed. (it was also exactly the kind of problem the group I had been working with had so it really rang my bell) As you pointed out, there were other reasons to use large group time for this decision (bring in new people into the process) and so it made good sense to do so. This shows you have some savvy facilitators. Many groups discover that its more effective to let the "what do we plant in the garden" type of decisions get made by the gardeners. When the whole group gets involved, most peoples time is wasted because they don't care a hoot about the garden, while the gardners really do. So in a group meeting of 20 adults, 3 are involved, 17 are just sitting bored wishing they were elsewhere. If this happens a lot, eventually people just stop coming to meetings. Much easier to break out decisions by letting those most interested decide to come. The decision board process works great for this kind of decentralization. Rob Sandelin ---------- From: cohousing-l [at] freedom.mtn.org on behalf of PattyMara [at] aol.com Sent: Sunday, June 28, 1998 1:51 AM Subject: Re: Pool table consensus In a message dated 98-06-26 20:08:38 EDT, Floriferous [at] classic.msn.com writes: 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. Rob, and list, When the pool table discussion came up last week at the Tierra Nueva business meeting it was a 10 minute agenda item. The discussion was lively and involved most of the members in attendance. Because one member unexpectedly disagreed it was taken to the common house furnishings committee for further research. We met, discussed it for 15 minutes, created a process to present to the next business meeting one week later. At the meeting we set up a felt board scale model of the game room (which my daughter helped make), with the pool table/ping pong table shown so that everyone could see clearly how much of the room was "taken". After a very short presentation, agreement was reached that we would indeed welcome the table to the game room, for a 6 month trial period. This agenda item took less than 10 minutes total. The interim week between meetings held many opportunities for brainstorming, personal interaction among many members with the new member who raised his objections, and in the end the crafting of a very workable solution. I do not believe it was wasted time to bring this issue to the whole group, because now we have the support of everyone. All who felt strongly, feel like they have been heard. Yes, there are more pressing issues, particularly at this time in the construction process, but I believe that this gave us an opportunity to practice the consensus skills that we cherish. We learned much, especially about the necessity of integrating new members into this kind of decision-making. We have now set up a task force to create a written document about our decision making process. It won't do the job entirely, but it will be a good beginning. Rob continues: >>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. >> I hope you have the opportunity to see one of our meetings, Rob. The business agenda items add up to 90 minutes or less. The rest of the time (45 minutes or less) is personal check-ins/clearings, announcements and often a celebration or two. What might appear to you as a "totally studid issue" was an opportunity for us to bring everyone (25 families now) into the discussion to offer ideas and create a consensed solution. We also learned (again) that disagreement is healthy, bringing new energy, focussed attention and in the end, a win/win solution. In my opinion, it was time well spent. Patty Mara Gourley Tierra Nueva Cohousing on the Central CA Coast Where our home's kitchen cabinets are installed, the tile crew is coming on Monday and there are only 2 homes left to sell. Visit our website: www.fix.net/~washley/tierran
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