Re: Backup procedure for decisions, and developers & bankers
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 04:41:30 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 9, 2006, at 11:06 PM, Tom Hammer wrote:

One of the questions we need to answer for the
prospectus is: what kind of decision making structure
does your group have? (Our answer--consensus.)  The
next question that the potential developer will read:
what is the group's backup procedure for making

I would suggest that the kinds of decisions the developer will need to have made quickly and clearly are expert decisions. The people he needs to talk to are people who have been intimately involved with all stages of the design and construction phase and thus have the knowledge to make good decisions. Not all of your members will be able or willing to spend the time to become experts. And in many instances, decisions will have to be made quickly and expertly or cost you a lot of money.

You will need to delegate these decisions to 3-4 people with a leader -- no leaderless groups.

One feature of sociocratic governance that would help you is the selection of people process. It requires that you choose by consent/consensus this group of 3-4 people who will be delegated to make decisions. If they have time they shall consult but this will not always be possible so you need to choose them well.

You choose them one by one so you have a balanced group that can work together. Choose the leader first. Members nominate people they think would be good leaders and everyone discusses the people and the reasons until one person emerges as a workable choice. A workable choice is one for whom there are no paramount and argued objections.

Then you choose the next person the same way. After the first selection, it is faster because some of the people considered for leader will be chosen quickly to be in the group.

YOU DO NOT ASK WHO WANTS TO SERVE UNTIL THE PROCESS IS COMPLETED. No volunteers. The group makes the decisions. People can, however, self-nominate.

The developer or the developer's rep (Ann would probably be this person if you were working with her) would also be a member of this group. The group would function by consent meaning decisions would require that no one have a paramount or argued objection. They don't have to love the decision but they have to believe it is one they can work with.

This way you have a tight group that is representative of the full group and trusted to make decisions. One that the developer can trust as well because the developer's rep is a part of the group.

I don't know where you are in the process but you might want to choose these people after the design charrett(s) so all the members know each others ideas about where they want to go. Or establish specific times when you would replace one or two members of this group. Not everyone will be interested in all phases of the process and some will just get tired. So you want a replacement process.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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