Re: process steering committee questions
From: Saoirse (
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 07:35:22 -0700 (PDT)
We've gone to a "point person" system instead of continuing with teams. A
person is responsible for a cluster of tasks (long process on sorting that
out). They don't have to do the tasks themselves, but they are responsible
for seeing that the task is accomplished, which in some cases means making
sure it gets on the list for comm'ty work days. Some people in our comm'ty
prefer to do tasks on their own time schedule, but we generally encourage
people to work with at least one other person in order to enjoy the
camaraderie that comes with working together.

We have a "coordinating council," which works okay for the most part but
does put a time/responsibility burden on the council members. And some
people think it separates council from the rest of the comm'ty.

We have way fewer meetings, which is what many people in the comm'ty wanted,
but it also means we have less direct contact with each other in a meeting
setting. Our hope was that people would connect with each other in more
spontaneous and supportive and genuine ways if meetings were removed as the
primary vehicle for that.

Also, teams seemed to lack in attendance and commitment. It seemed like the
same people making the decisions and doing the work over and over again, and
the same people not showing up -- always for good reasons -- again and
again. Instead of connecting us, I experienced it as dividing us. But as
time has gone on, I have realized that we continue to struggle with these
issues related to "volunteer labor" and we will probably continue to do so.

If I were doing it over, I would spend more time teaching every single
member of the comm'ty about the consensus process until it was "second
nature" to everyone. I agree with Rob Sandelin who has said that good
consensus requires participation.

Also, we used cohousing professionals and a design charette to help us
design the common house. Very effective.

When we had teams they were empowered via an agreement with the comm'ty we
called "standards and criteria." This agreement set out the mission for the
team, the scope of their responsibility, and the parameters of their

Good luck!


Harmony Village Cohousing
Golden, Colorado

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