Organizational Design [was Meal cleaners]
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 06:38:29 -0700 (PDT)
One of the things we tend to do is to have a bright idea for the upfront part 
of an event or program and pay no attention to the back end. Two reasons: 

1. We are so happy to have a bright idea we don't want to discourage it by 
focusing on the work details.

2. Why  focus on the work details if you don't even know if it will go? Let's 
just get it started and see what we need later.

I'm the voice of doom saying "Lets think this through a bit, remember what 
happened when we …." Or the person who says, "Remember, you promised when we 
started this that you would be the person responsible for ….?" 

The current issue was an agreement for the purchase of a 3 by 4 by 5 foot gas 
grill. Purchase was contingent on finding good storage space where the grill 
would also be used. The original suggestion of next to the compost was not an 
appetizing idea. Objections to it being left in the piazza were to having hot 
objects left by the tot lot to cool and looking at a black draped coffin next 
to the fountain. Finally we found a place between the parking lot and the 
breezeway where the grill can also be used in place or easily moved across 
concrete, not grass, to the piazza.

So we fulfilled the need to have storage plans before purchasing it. Wonderful!

But we didn't write down the agreement in a place where it could be easily 
found. Two years later, new members leave the grill in the piazza because it is 
"more convenient." (They have no children.) More rounds of emails over whether 
there ever was an agreement — "since no one wrote it down they didn't mean it."

Any event needs to be organized. Planning meals without planning clean up is 
not planning meals. We also open rooms or add functions to rooms without 
figuring out how they will be maintained and what happens if they aren't.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.