Re: Trust —Vol 108, Issue 20
From: Don Benson (
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 17:35:26 -0800 (PST)

I would not want to put a stake in the ground assessing the level of 
collaborativeness of our culture.  We did however recognize the difference 
between consensus decision making and consensus culture, have named it and 
begun to develop practices that are strengthening our social fabric and 
contributing to the quality of our decisions.  A few of them include
1.  Our HOA meets monthly, we have monthly work parties that include a 
community lunch and we have a meal club that has many of us coming tother to 
eating and engage for as many as 9 meals a month, etc.
2.  We have a process to prepare proposals for presentation to the HOA that 
     a.  Naming the proposal, overall desired outcome, champion and liaison to 
the HOA planning team
     b.  The Liaison and the HOA planning team must agree that the champion is 
ready before allocating time on the meeting, and that may include several 
presentations over time
     c.  Ready includes adequate previous engagement with community members and 
clear identification of outcome. Outcomes could include obtaining consensus, 
getting initial feedback about the issue or alternative solutions, getting 
others to participate in the initiative, sharing information about the 
alternatives, etc.
3.  Preparation for a period of time on an HOA agenda often includes scheduled 
open invitations for people to informally gather around meals, coffee, etc, to 
talk about the subject during the month, to begin to understand that there are 
many points of view and that they are all valid and deserve to be considered in 
getting to a result.  Each HOA may include an announcement of progress and 
ongoing invitation to engage.

The team that manages the HOA agenda is continually evaluating our progress, 
the quality and effectiveness of our HOA meetings.  SO there is probably more 
that I do not remember in the moment and will be more as we continue to learn 
from ourselves and the other cultures, mentioned by Wayne and others.  The 
ongoing spiraling between I and we cultures provides great opportunity to see 
themes and differences, particularly for those who are open to learning from 

And, Martha, we have our PDX CoHo group that meets quarterly.  There is still 
time to put this topic on the agenda for out next meeting.  The desired outcome 
of that group is to learn from others.

Don Benson

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give 
happiness.   (Thomas Jefferson 1788)

On Jan 14, 2013, at 4:14 PM, Martha Wagner <wordbizpdx [at]> wrote:

> I would imagine I'm one of many on the list who would like to know more from 
> Don about how his community has worked to sustain and deepen trust among its 
> members and develop what he referred to in another post as a culture of 
> consensus. 
> Martha Wagner
> Columbia Ecovillage
> Portland, OR

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