Consensus: late blocks
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 11:48:05 -0700 (MST)

Mary English wrote:
Equally frustrating is: the group consensing on something in one meeting, and assigning a budget at that time; the committee (composed of anyone who was interested in the project, or had concerns about it) doing all the work of researching, getting bids, winowing them down; three months later bringing back the proposed specs and contract to the entire community for any final imput or desired changes; then someone (who had not joined the committee nor had never given any input to the committee) saying "no, I don't like this. I'm blocking this now." And I can think of at least three times this has happened here.

Of course that is really frustrating, and it happens far too often. I think groups need to stand up to this behavior by setting clear intentions ahead of time, and creating both rules and culture to support that intention. Over time a group can train itself so that this kind of trouble does not happen.

For example, some groups have a rule that if you did not attend meetings #1 & #2 on a topic, you cannot block or raise major concerns at meeting #3. (Of course for that to work, the group might have to be willing to adjust the scheduling of meeting #1 or 2 so that a particular concerned person can attend, and they have to keep track of who is present at every meeting.)

On a cultural level, i'd expect members of the affected committee and other concerned community members to go talk with the person one-on-one after that meeting and express their frustration. The dynamic i see over and over again is that bad behavior continues because the affected parties vent about it privately but do not approach the person doing it with feedback often enough. We are so scared of each other; telling someone that something felt bad to you is a risk in vulnerability.




Tree Bressen
1680 Walnut St.
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 484-1156
tree [at]

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