What Is Process?
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:14:25 -0800 (PST)
The use of the word "tool" to describe an objection today reminded me of a 
comment in our membership meeting yesterday. We are trying to make a decision 
to remove a kiosk in front of our building that is cute, in poor condition, was 
placed in error in the middle of the accessible side of our walkway, and isn't 
used as it was intended. Some love it and just want it moved to another 
location; others want to junk it. Many arguments and options on both sides.

The discussion was disjointed because people wouldn't focus logically on one 
question at a time so we could sort out the options and eliminate them one at a 

Do you want to keep the kiosk?
Do you want to move it to the south side of the walkway?
Do you want the bulletin boards to stay or be removed?

We were not close to a decision after a 1.5 hour discussion. The facilitator 
asked what process people thought might break the logjam and bring us closer to 
a decision.

Someone said, This isn't a process question, it's a decision. 

My question is what is process if it isn't intended to produce a decision? 

A process could be designed to help people feel better about each other or 
understand the other points of view, but I would also consider that to be a 
decision eventually because the parties would decide if it worked or not.

Why wouldn't a process be designed to produce a decision? Am I missing a 

(I wouldn't consider an objection a tool. I would consider it how one 
formulates a judgement/opinion.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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