Re: Objection Versus Extortion
From: Kay Argyle (Kay.Argyleutah.edu)
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:07:20 -0700 (PDT)
We've had proposals derailed by demands that a project be expanded far
beyond its budgeted scope, address tangential issues better handled
separately, or scaled back to pointlessness. Nothing as egregious as what
Philip describes, but nonetheless lousy process and a
misuse/misunderstanding of consensus.

Typically these failures haven't involved formal blocks, but rather sending
back to committee -- amounting to a de facto block, when the "concerns" are
incapable of being satisfied.

I would not attribute any of the failures to a lack of upfront work,
inattention to the quality of the solution, or too many options on the
table. Rather, someone holds out for some unobtainable ideal rather than
anything possible, or insists that a particular community value totally
trumps other considerations, including other values.

In one case a tough-minded facilitator ("I won't say, 'Nobody leaves this
room until this passes,' BUT ...") at the next meeting was able to get the
project back on track, as written, by pushing until the objections (from
people untroubled by the problem and not impacted by the proposed fix) gave
way to stand-asides. 

In other instances, facilitators have been more deferential, with the result
that, since the changes required were impractical, or even, in the judgment
of the parties bringing the proposal, harmful, the projects were abandoned
(and in a couple of cases, households started house-hunting).

More's the pity, we've never required that blockers help find an acceptable
alternative solution; we merely default to the status quo, even when it is
widely acknowledged to be untenable. 

Kay
Wasatch Commons



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