Re: Roles: spread, rotating or fixed
From: Eris Weaver (
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2017 12:58:29 -0800 (PST)
Wim De Saegher wrote:

> Our monthly meetings always have a president and a note taker.
> When the project started, both roles were "rotating": every month a
different member
> filled in and did things as best as they could... 
> What are your experiences with roles, and what advantages or drawbacks
have you
> identified?

First off, I would encourage you to ditch the word "president" and instead
use "facilitator." "President" implies power and authority...facilitation is
about encouraging participation. 

There are good arguments for rotating facilitation duties...if all of your
members develop their skills in this regard, your overall meeting quality
and participation will likely increase. This is particularly true if you are
a small group and are in your earlier stages of group development. People
behave better as participants after they've been in the "hot seat" in the
front of the room!

That said, there are also good arguments for specialization, especially as
your group grows and time goes by - allowing everyone to contribute their
best skills and talents for the good of the group.

In FrogSong's early days, we all did some of everything - we all took turns
facilitating and taking minutes. Soon we started divvying up duties and
creating committees; Facilitation was one of our earliest-formed committees.
We kept rotating note-takers for years; now we have a small team of Scribes
who do that task.

Now, 14 years after move-in, there are just a few jobs everyone is expected
to do: cook dinner monthly, show up at work parties, participate in meetings
& committees. There are a few jobs that belong to one person (Richard is the
King of Light Bulbs). Everything else is handled by committees, populated by
folks with skills and/or interest in the specific area. 

I've worked with or visited three dozen cohousing communities, and I'd say
this is what shakes down pretty much everywhere - some tasks are done by
everyone, some by specific individuals, and some by committees. (and some
get hired out) There are some variations among communities in which tasks go
into which category. To me it makes the most sense to reserve the "everyone
must do it" designation for those tasks & activities that build community
through working together (creating meals vs. scrubbing toilets).

Eris Weaver, FrogSong Cohousing in Cotati, CA
Graphic Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
eris [at] . 707-338-8589 .

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