Re: Roles: spread, rotating or fixed
From: Julie Gallagher (
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2017 08:02:22 -0800 (PST)
We have a facilitator and recorder at each monthly meeting. At the end of
each meeting, someone volunteers for these roles for the next meeting. One
member who's especially skilled at taking minutes is the recorder for every
other month, and a volunteer does it the other months. Five or six people
who are comfortable leading meetings tend to volunteer for the facilitator
role. There's no expectation that everyone will take a turn. For other
recurring tasks, people tend to adopt jobs as "theirs" and do them
routinely, asking for help if they're going to be away or aren't feeling
well. For example, mowing the common area, doing the common house laundry,
taking the common house garbage cans out to the road on pick-up day,
planning the garden. For one-time jobs, often someone will will either do
it themselves or, if it's beyond their ability, send an email to the
listserv and someone will step up to do it. This works better for us than
trying to rotate jobs.

Julie Gallagher
Cantine's Island Cohousing, Saugerties, NY

On Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 3:58 PM, Eris Weaver <eris [at]> wrote:

> 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...
> <snip>
> > 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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