Re: Process Committee Open to All?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 21 May 2010 05:28:22 -0700 (PDT)

On May 20, 2010, at 7:01 PM, Kathleen Nolan wrote:

We haven't had a process committee for some time now. In the past anyone who was interested could be a part of that committee. There is some interest in re-forming this committee with members selected instead of being open to anyone.

After many years of trying, our facilitators have formed a 'pod' to track issues and facilitate their passage through the mine field of druthers and dough. I welcome this because we are lacking in coherent leadership. We won't let the board or teams take leadership on decisions. We don't know how to delegate and if we did, the person or persons who might do the best job are already doing too many jobs.

The Pod is open to all and in my view has too many members. Except when we have an issue that needs an outside facilitator, I like to have meetings facilitated by one or the other of 2-3 people so I understand how they work and there is a certain coherence to meetings. I can trust them more. But I know some will drop off when they are expected to actually take responsibility and fulfill commitments. Pod members who do ongoing training and professional practice set high standards for everyone.

Our facilitators are people who can ask good questions and keep track of what is not being done. And work with individuals or small groups who are outliers on issues. And figure out how to allow people to work out emotions off stage rather than working them out in meetings.

The problem I see, however, is that people keep wanting to turn policy and governance issues over to them, as if Vision, Mission, and Aim belong to them. Delegation belongs to them. Policy issues belong to them. Everything is suggested as being something they can or should take the lead on or even fix.

In the sociocratic the method of governance, which we don't use, the facilitator is more active than in traditional consensus decision- making. Each team elects a facilitator from their team. It may be the same person as the team leader or not. The facilitator is someone who has the skills to work with people and ideas to craft an acceptable solution but is also a member of the team and can suggest solutions and argue issues like anyone else. They would never say, now let me put on my other hat, for example. Everyone has lots of hats, not just the facilitator.

The facilitator is a working member of the team and the facilitator is not neutral.

We have a bit of this in that each policy or decision is now facilitated by the same person. This is much more effective and predictable than having a random facilitator, the person who happens to be facilitating when the issue comes up. Since some facilitators have more interest in certain kinds of issues, they tend to do more facilitation of issues related to that team. Thus teams have formed stronger relationships with one or two facilitators. With a pod, that facilitator then has the ongoing and organized support and ideas of the other facilitators.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.