Empowering individuals while communicating issues: The decision board
From: Rob Sandelin (floriferousmsn.com)
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 00:07:02 -0600 (MDT)
The tyranny of unstructure is often a response to a group process that is
not effective. One of the problems that face many groups is that the large
group meeting structure is tedious and sometimes so onerous that it causes
people to give up on initiatives rather than try to move them though the
"process". In order to accomplish something small one has to get on the
agenda, maybe have to wait a couple of meeting cycles, go through perhaps
hours of debate, reshape the proposal over again, etc.  YUCK! Simpler just
not to do anything, or do it anyway and ask for forgiveness later.

A solution which empowers  personal initiative but also provides feedback
and communication is called a decision board. A paper is posted in the
Commonhouse 3-5 days in advance of a meeting. This paper has in big letters:
"TO BE DECIDED" across the top. In smaller letters there is the name of the
initiator, the text of the proposal, the date of the meeting, and space for
people to  write comments. For example:


Initiator: Rob
Proposal: convert the front CH flower beds into a bean and tomato batch
Why do this? Nobody cares  for the flowers, they all died, the gardeners
need  more growing beds and will care for them since they are food.
Meeting time: Wednesday after dinner (This is 3 days after this was posted)

This notice is posted, and whomever shows up at the meeting makes the
decision. On the back of the sheet they write down what was decided and post
it. In some communities that use this, there is a two day grace period after
the decision was made and posted, so if somebody has a significant objection
they can put there name on the sheet with a big NO. This then punts the
issue to the top of the agenda of the next general meeting. Or the initiator
can meet with this person to try to resolve their issues.

Rob Sandelin
Community Works!
You can now access a draft of my online book at

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