|Examples of Consensus Success (Was:[C-L] … Survey of Cohousing ...||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: R Philip Dowds (rpdowdscomcast.net)|
|Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 04:46:06 -0700 (PDT)|
CONSENSUS IS BETTER? OH YEAH? GOT EXAMPLES? I hear this a lot — that consensus, time-consuming though it may be — will deliver a higher quality result. Do I believe it? Depends, of course, on how you define "higher quality". If you mean, a greater number of people seemingly happy with the outcome, I certainly agree. But if you mean, a solution that's substantively "better" based on objective external criteria, then this might prove to be more elusive. I think of all the zoning controversies I've struggled with in Cambridge — where zoning changes cannot happen without a reinforced majority of six out of nine councilors, and in the end, are often (but not always) passed unanimously (Wowee! Consensus!) — and what often comes out of this excruciatingly painful birthing process is something that is linguistically opaque, substantively self-contradictory, and a pale shadow of its originating intent. But wait! I still believe it! I just need more concrete, real world examples of how consensus produces better results, really. I will give one of my own, direct out of my Cornerstone Cohousing experience: When I first moved in to Cornerstone, I joined a volunteer committee trying to put together a repair / replacement reserve funding plan. The big and seemingly unbreachable divide was between those who wanted collect and save money annually to pay for future repairs and maintenance, versus those who wanted solve the problem in the moment, by special assessments for manifest needs and failures. In other words: Collect and set aside money now for the day when the boiler blows and the roof leaks? Or, pay for urgent repairs at the time they occur, via special assessments? And so: We were looking at complex forecasting models that tried to save up money for 8 years into the future, when hot water tanks might fail, or 35 years in the future, when all the siding or windows would need replacement. The folks who wanted to save for the future and the folks who wanted to pay in moment were deeply divided. We wrestled with this for many months, getting nowhere. And then: One of our volunteers came up with the idea of Hey!, Let's not try to look 35 years into the future. Let's instead make a plan with a "rolling window" of five years into the future, and base our reserve assessments on that — and, of course, update our plan every five years. I was initially skeptical, but when I set up the model and ran the numbers, it made a lot of sense. In more ways than just financial. So this is what we proposed, and this is what the community adopted. By consensus. First try! I was surprised and delighted by a good solution that I would not have arrived at on my own. HERE'S WHAT I NEED FROM YOU: For all of you out there ... Can you post a specific example of how your consensus process eventually provided a better, and even surprisingly better, solution? If we want to promote consensus, we have to make it real. Thanks. R Philip Dowds AIA Cornerstone Cohousing 175 Harvey Street, Unit 5 Cambridge, MA 02140 617.354.6094 On Sep 24, 2011, at 9:35 PM, bonnie Fergusson wrote: > In my experience, both in Cohousing and out of it (Quaker meeting, > political affinity groups) people often get frustrated with how much time it > takes to reach consensus compared to the more familiar majority vote. But > the quality of the solution is almost always superior in the consensus > process.
- Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Just released. A must read!, (continued)
- Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Just released. A must read! Sharon Villines, September 24 2011
- Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Just released. A must read! bonnie Fergusson, September 24 2011
Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Just released. A must read! bonnie Fergusson, September 24 2011
- Community size Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Justreleased. A must read! Wayne Tyson, September 24 2011
- Examples of Consensus Success (Was:[C-L] … Survey of Cohousing ... R Philip Dowds, September 25 2011
- Re: Examples of Consensus Success (Was:[C-L] … Survey of Cohousing ... Sharon Villines, September 26 2011
- Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Justreleased. A must read! Wayne Tyson, September 24 2011
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.