Re: Consensus [was balance] - voting
From: Eris Weaver (
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 09:57:32 -0800 (PST)
> I meant that the voting in this particular situation was less divisive
> forging on to try to reach consensus because it was clear that opinions
> polarized. We didn't see a clear path out of this and toward consensus.
> That's not to say that there wouldn't have been a way to reach >
consensus. It
> was simply that we didn't have one in our toolkit. 

This is a very astute observation about your process!

I find that a useful tool when a group is stuck in polarity is to step back
from discussing SOLUTIONS to gain more clarity and agreement on motivations,
goals, and the ultimate purpose behind whatever proposal is being discussed.

If folks are seeing and experiencing the underlying issues in completely
different ways, of course there can be no commonality in the solution.
Stepping back to discuss our values, our needs, our concerns - the WHY
behind what we're doing rather than the details of WHAT we should do - can
be useful.  There may still be disagreement, but often once people feel that
they have been heard and their perspective has been valued, they are more
willing to give up one particular course of action and the creativity starts
to flow, with new possibilities being suggested that might meet more
people's needs.

My own community often starts the discussion about a heavy topic with a
brainstorm session about our hopes and fears about the issue, with the two
lists being scribed side by side. We don't talk solutions or actions or
specifics of a proposal, but what do each of us hope for and what are we
afraid might happen. Then we look at the two lists - and frequently there
will be an item that appears on BOTH the hope and fear list! Then we know
that THAT will be the sticky spot, where there is the most difference in
values/wants/needs, and where we need to work the most to find creative

Eris Weaver, Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
FrogSong (Cotati, CA)
eris [at]

fa cil' i tāt: to make easier

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