|Re: What Is Process?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: rpdowds (rpdowdscomcast.net)|
|Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:35:06 -0800 (PST)|
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tse insisted that each problem has its appropriate solution embedded within it. By which he meant: As one continues to define the problem, and refine its statement, the solution becomes increasingly obvious and inevitable. Or: If you can't figure out the answer, you've not asked the right question. I completely agree w/ Sharon that our small group debates often stall out in dead ends because no one will parse and conceptualize the problem in a way that makes it accessible to solutions. And yet, and yet ... Controlling the topics, and controlling the order in which they are discussed, and controlling the problem statement -- as is very well known in Congress -- is absolutely key to controlling the political agenda and the outcomes achieved. So why wouldn't a group want to accept, gratefully, Sharon's apparently sequentially logical problem definition re the kiosk? Well, two reasons come to mind ... (1) Some in the group -- without being masters of logic, argumentation, or Chinese philosophy -- nonetheless intuit that this particular systematic approach will lead to the conclusion they do not want. So they resist a systematic approach to parsing the problem. Or ... (2) Many groups, or even members lacking a substantive dog in the fight, are very wary of letting one person control the agenda by imposing a structure on the problem definition. What superior, self-serving kind of facilitator, or self-appointed leader, should be allowed to do that? Better, probably, to just keep talking with an open heart and open mind, and eventually agreement will manifest. My own community, Cornerstone, is somewhat in this mode: Its preferred interactive methodology is to keep going around the circle, accumulating input of disjoint sequence and content, hoping that the consensus cake will mix and bake itself. It's a rare, rare event when a facilitator will say, "OK, let's talk first about 1, then second about 2, and then try to decide X, then if necessary, Y." Intellectual arrogance! Who asked you to run everything! Not to decide is to decide. I think many decision processes would benefit from exposing the obvious: The status quo, or "Do Nothing", is always a very formidable contender in any decision process. So the very first consensus effort might be to support or debunk the status quo solution: "I propose we do nothing at all about the kiosk; the kiosk of tomorrow should be just like the kiosk of today (although perhaps imperceptibly more decrepit)." In other words, make Do Nothing explicitly defend itself in the process, as just one of many alternatives. If you cannot consense to Do Nothing, then obviously the work of the group is not over yet. R Philip Dowds Cornerstone Cohousing Cambridge, MA ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com> To: "Cohousing-L Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 3:14:21 PM Subject: [C-L]_ What Is Process? 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 time: 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 definition? (I wouldn't consider an objection a tool. I would consider it how one formulates a judgement/opinion.) Sharon ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org _________________________________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
- Re: What Is Process?, (continued)
Decision-Making [was What Is Process? Sharon Villines, January 15 2013
- Re: Decision-Making [was What Is Process? R Philip Dowds, January 15 2013
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