RE: Consensus resource recommendation
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 23:18:04 -0500
A couple of things to add to this thread:

If you facilitate meetings I highly reccomend the book:
The Skilled Facilitator, practical wisdom for developing effective groups by
Roger M. Schwarz

A good facilitator has many approaches in their toolbox and learns to use
the appropriate one at the appropriate time. If you only subscribe to one
approach, you fall prey to the hammer syndrome, if the only tool you have is
a hammer, everything looks like a nail, with the subtext, hammers are a
terrible way to cut boards....

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communties Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cohousing-l [at] [mailto:cohousing-l [at] 
> Behalf Of John Abbe
> Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 11:43 AM
> Subject: Re: Consensus resource recommendation
> At 4:19 PM -0500 on 1999-06-22, Lynn Nadeau typed:
> >At RoseWind Cohousing, we have been using consensus-seeking process...
> [...edited for brevity...]
> >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
> >; email to fnbp [at]
> Another good consensus book is Participatory Decision Making, by Sam
> Kaner et al.
> >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.
> This requires a person to be articulate about what may be an
> intuition at present. If the group can be willing to believe that
> "each person has a piece of the truth" they may be able to help that
> person express the objection or concern in whatever way will help to
> make sense to them.
> As for other consensus resources, there are some related resources at:
> Peace,
> __John
> The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.               _  _  |
> The part is greater than its role in the whole. --Tom Atlee  (_ (_| /
> ------------------------------------------------------------------/--
> John Abbe johnca@ourpla ^ Center for Group Learning

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