Re: Consensus decision making
From: John Faust (wjfaustgmail.com)
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 13:07:48 -0700 (PDT)
I think Racheli's point is very important. Blocking should not be
groundlessly exercised just because it is a consensus process. This is
probably where vision/mission and principles come in. Blocking should be
grounded in these base documents just as much as the proposals they would
block. A block should only be valid if it clarifies that a proposal in some
way "violates" the letter or intent of the vision/mission or principles.
This still leaves a great deal of latitude but provides a basis for further
discussion. Groundless blocking should not be an option.

John Faust

On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 10:15 AM, Racheli Gai <racheli [at] 
sonoracohousing.com>wrote:

>
> My impression is that at least some of this discussion is based on what
> I perceive as
> misunderstanding of what "consensus" means.
>
> To use Craig's cereal example below: For a person to say that they'll
> block the buying
> of community cereal because they don't personally eat cereal is an
> abuse of the
> consensus process.  Blocking can't be simply a matter of one's personal
> preference.
> If the kind of "consensus" practiced by groups is of the kind which
> allows blocking
> based on personal preference, then no wonder it doesn't work!
>
> At Sonora Cohousing, Tucson, we used to have people block based
> on personal preferences.  After a workshop with CT Butler we worked on
> seriously tightening
> what we consider valid requirements for blocking. We also defined more
> closely our
> process of working on issues.  It has not solved all of our problems,
> but it certainly
> helped.
>
> Racheli.
>
>
>
> On Aug 5, 2008, at 10:16 AM, Craig Ragland wrote:
>
> >
> > My opinions - not "official Coho/US doctrine" - not much of which
> > actually
> > exists.
> >
> > Groups that do decide to delegate will learn what effective means to
> > them -
> > probably through trial-and-error as they live with delegation across
> > (hopefully) a great many years. I suspect it is mostly about whether
> > the
> > small group decisions work for most of the people most of the time -
> > and not
> > speed of decisions, although speed is sometimes highly valued too.
> > Working
> > for most of the people most of the time is, I think, a "lower"
> > standard than
> > expecting each decision to be embraced by the whole community.
> > Communities
> > can decide to empower sub-groups and not require overall group
> > consensus on
> > some/all of the smaller group's decisions. The whole community can
> > choose to
> > embrace that smaller groups do make lots of decisions - serving the
> > community as best they can.
> >
> > A great many decisions are made at Songaia without attempts to reach
> > overall
> > consensus of the community - and sometimes these smaller group
> > decisions are
> > questioned by others, and then require more work prior to
> > implementation.
> > For example, a small group, the Fabulous Food Folks decides on waht
> > specific
> > food items are in our common pantry... and lots of people living here
> > simply
> > don't like (or want) some of our food items for their personal use.
> >
> > I do not currently eat cereals or granola. If I was asked to agree to
> > buy
> > each type of cereal - and decided to put my personal needs/wants about
> > "my
> > food" above the community - I'd simply say "No." If everybody did
> > that, our
> > food pantry would be much smaller, some type of lowest common
> > denominator -
> > and our overall program would be impoverished rather than abundant. To
> > seek
> > consensus on each individual food item we stock would just be silly.
> > As a
> > result, we usually empower the Fabulous Food Folk to do their best to
> > balance our various individual preferences, needs, and values... so we
> > do
> > buy four cereal foods.
> >
> > I'd urge folks to question the sacred cow of:
> >
> > "consensus all the time = good"
> >
> > When the cow doesn't respond with a "moo," you might focus more on what
> > works and what feels good for most of the people most of the time.
> >
> > In community, Craig
> >
> > On Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 7:29 AM, Racheli Gai
> > <racheli [at] sonoracohousing.com>wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> It seems to me to be important to define what is meant by the term
> >> "effective":
> >> Is an effective community one which makes decision fast? Is it one
> >> where
> >> decisions, once reached, are embraced by the whole community and
> >> therefore
> >> are carried out effectively, or? ...
> >>
> >> I think that a high level of trust is a precondition for high level of
> >> delegation
> >> (so that decision are seen as supporting the whole community, not this
> >> or that
> >> faction).  If this is missing, delegating becomes very problematic.
> >>
> >> Racheli (Sonora Cohousing, Tucson).
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Aug 4, 2008, at 7:18 PM, Craig Ragland wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>> Here Here Joani!
> >>>
> >>> My opinion is that more effective cohousing groups using consensus do
> >>> delegate LOTS of decision-making - especially ones requiring detailed
> >>> study
> >>> and understanding. I believe a common misunderstanding about
> >>> consensus
> >>> is
> >>> that ALL decisions MUST involve EVERYBODY in decision-making process.
> >>>
> >>> When individuals and sub-groups are appropriately empowered, they
> >>> increase
> >>> their effectiveness as they create plans that are both (1) consistent
> >>> with
> >>> their mandate and (2) that truly serve the broader group - including
> >>> those
> >>> with minority views.
> >>>
> >>> Craig
> >>>
> >>> On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 6:49 PM, Joani Blank <joani [at] swansway.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Friends,
> >>>>
> >>>> Here's part of an email exchange I had with Tim Mensch about his
> >>>> recent post on this subject:
> >>>>
> >>>> A good agenda or steering committee will only put on the
> >>>> table/agenda
> >>>> for general community meetings, items of some significance that
> >>>> really need community buy-in to be effective.  In the example you
> >>>> gave (leaky roof damaging some of the common property), a committee
> >>>> (Maintenance, perhaps) can have blanket authorization in advance to
> >>>> arrange a repair in such an emergency.
> >>>>
> >>>> Here at Swan's Market Cohousing (Oakland, CA), individuals and
> >>>> committees are authorized (by consensus) to make decisions about all
> >>>> manner of things after there has been an opportunity in the general
> >>>> community meeting for a variety of views on the proposal to be
> >>>> presented, and sometimes a straw vote to get the "sense of the
> >>>> meeting."  This seems to work fine, giving everyone who has an
> >>>> opinion, a chance to have their say on the matter (and to be
> >>>> respectfully heard), and not tying the whole community up on matters
> >>>> where it really doesn't matter if one or two people object, even
> >>>> strongly object, to what will probably be the decision made by the
> >>>> individual or committee that's been authorized to make that
> >>>> decision.
> >>>>
> >>>> Joani
> >>>>
> >>>> Joani Blank
> >>>> land line : 510-834-7399 (preferred)
> >>>> cell: 510-387-1315
> >>>> Swan's Market Cohousing.
> >>>>
> >>>> P Save Trees ...please don't print this e-mail unless you really
> >>>> need
> >>>> to.
> >>>>
> >>>> _________________________________________________________________
> >>>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >>>> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Craig Ragland
> >>>
> >>> Coho/US executive director
> >>> http://www.cohousing.org
> >>> craig [at] cohousing.org
> >>>
> >>> Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or
> >>> give me
> >>> a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!
> >>> _________________________________________________________________
> >>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >>> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >> _________________________________________________________________
> >> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > Craig Ragland
> >
> > Coho/US executive director
> > http://www.cohousing.org
> > craig [at] cohousing.org
> >
> > Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or
> > give me
> > a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >
> >
>
> _________________________________________________________________
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> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
>
>
>

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