|Consensus resource recommendation||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 16:20:37 -0500|
At RoseWind Cohousing, we have been using consensus-seeking process for 10 years, though sometimes clumsily. Our resources included workshops people had attended, such as those by Caroline Estes, personal experiences with consensus process in peace or nuclear-protest organizations or Quaker meetings or other ventures. The best book we had found was "the blue book" Building United Judgement, and its companion facilitation volume. Lately we have been very pleased to find and use as our basic guide, the handbook "On Conflict and Consensus" by C.T. Lawrence Butler and Amy Rothstein. It is published by Food Not Bombs, 1-800-569-4054; website www.consensus.net; email to fnbp [at] consensus.net This small, 60-page, handbook differs from Building United Judgement in that it outlines one basic "how-to" scenario. The writing is articulate, the reasoning clear, and the process easy to follow. We have used the basic flow chart --posted on the wall-- at our business meetings for the past several months, and it is a very good fit with the sort of issues we discuss, and has enough flexibility that it does not feel limiting. One interesting aspect of the process as recommended by this book is the treatment of Blocking. In short, the group must acknowledge the legitimacy of the objection -- as being based on a generally recognized principle, not personal preference, or it must be essential to the entire group's well-being-- for it to be allowed to block a decision being made. This engendered a certain amount of discussion, as we also hold the notion that "each person has a piece of the truth" and try to closely examine objections as sources of new understanding of a situation. It seems at least a tiny bit risky to let the majority of the group decide on the legitimacy of a dissent. But we are trying it, and so far, so good. Usually, there are no potentially blocking objections, once all the discussion and synthesis has happened. The rest of the process seems simply to be a coherent outline of common sense orderly sorting of an issue. Which often gets lost in heated discussion. I believe the book is also viewable on line, presumably at the above Internet addresses. If anyone else's group is using this book as a basic tool, I'd be interested to hear how it works for others. Or if folks have found something even better. Lynn Nadeau RoseWind Cohousing Port Townsend WA (we have 20 families, and only 3 more lots to sell: each 5000 sq ft, build what you choose)
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