Re: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 172, Issue 8
From: Karen Gimnig (gimniggmail.com)
Date: Sat, 12 May 2018 04:20:08 -0700 (PDT)
Sandy,

It can be very useful to have structured processes that help people feel
safe when there is disagreement.  At the same time, I recommend caution as
good process is only part of the answer.  As others have mentioned, even a
very well thought out process can be misapplied or misused, or simply be
insufficient given the circumstances and individual abilities involved.
It's important for communities to have members (and/or hired help) who have
some training and experience with facilitation and who can hold the
process, determine when to apply it, and implement it with an awareness of
the impact it is having.  By all means, fill their tool box with good
process structures, but also trust their training, experience, intuition
and judgement to guide your community when emotions are high.

One simple suggestion that I would to add to that toolbox, is to avoid the
grammatical form of a question.  When there is an objection, I start from
the assumption that both the "proposer(s)" and the "objector(s)" are trying
to get needs met.  Generally in community there is a value and intention
around meeting needs when possible and at the very least hearing and
considering needs.  The challenge is that in our culture we are highly
averse to naming needs and often don't even name them for ourselves.  Thus,
for me, the primary goal when there is an objection that challenges a
group, is to help everyone identify the underlying needs. This is largely
personal, internal and vulnerable work.  Questions, in our culture, do not
stimulate this sort of presence.  You might think of how you experienced
questions in school.  In general we respond to a question by seeking the
right or most convincing answer.  The focus is on impacting another rather
than looking within.

The alternative is actually quite simple.  By simply rearranging the
grammar, we can turn a question into a sentence stem, or "complete the
sentence" kind of prompt.  The impact of this shift is to open the
possibility of more introspection.  For example, the first question from We
The People, below, could possibly be reframed as:
I feel the proposed policy would impact the circle's ability to accomplish
its aim in that . . .

Note that this also frames the prompt such that both proposers and
objectors can use the same prompt to express their feelings or beliefs.

This is one small tool, and not a complete answer to dilemma of objections.
I hope it is helpful.

In Community,
Karen Gimnig
Professional Facilitator
678-705-9007
www.
​imago4coho
.net <http://www.karengimnig.net>


> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 22:18:21 -0600
> From: Sandy Thomson <sandykthomson [at] gmail.com>
> To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
> Subject: [C-L]_ Questions to ask when someone blocks a decision
> Message-ID: <493B0883-8416-49C4-B141-AC4B3049E662 [at] gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=utf-8
>
> I thought I read a post on here that talked about 4 or 5 questions to ask
> a person when they block a decision.  I can?t find it anywhere.  Does
> anyone remember that post and what it said or have experience using a set
> group of questions to ask the person blocking the decision to get at if it
> is really in the best interest of the community or just a personal issue?
> Thanks,
> Sandy
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 8 May 2018 11:23:07 -0400
> From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com>
> To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Questions to ask when someone blocks a decision
> Message-ID: <E5A8A1A4-5ACE-4606-BF05-C9FE77DF388D [at] sharonvillines.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=utf-8
>
> > On May 8, 2018, at 12:18 AM, Sandy Thomson <sandykthomson [at] gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > I thought I read a post on here that talked about 4 or 5 questions to
> ask a person when they block a decision.  I can?t find it anywhere.  Does
> anyone remember that post and what it said or have experience using a set
> group of questions to ask the person blocking the decision to get at if it
> is really in the best interest of the community or just a personal issue?
>
> It was probably the list from We the People which has just come out in a
> fully updated and enlarged edition.
>
> But first: ?Best interests of the community? is by definition a majority
> opinion. It?s something decided based on what most people believe. To be
> measurable, it has to be defined in terms of a mutually acceptable purpose.
> Otherwise it is just something that sounds more altruistic than "more
> people believe this.?
>
> All issues in community are personal issues. Community is based on
> personal issues. It is composed of individuals. As soon as you begin
> thinking this individual doesn?t count, there is no community ? only
> community -1.
>
> That is a valid decision ? I?m sorry but we don?t share common aims. Your
> objection won?t be respected in this decision. You have made a conscious
> decision to exclude the person ? or part of them.
>
> But the decision should be made on those terms which are more measurable
> than ?best interests of the community? and ?personal?.
>
> Also an objection must be reasoned, not a veto. A ?block? is a veto. A
> reasoned objection is a statement that a person?s domain would be
> negatively affected by the proposed decision.
>
> The questions from We the People are: Examining the Basis for an Objection
>
> 1. Would the proposed policy decision negatively affect the circle?s
> ability to accomplish its aim?
>
> 2. Would it produce new and equally troublesome difficulties?
>
> 3. Is the objection based on known facts or conditions, not fears or
> negative expectations?
>
> 4. Would the proposed decision conflict with other policies or bylaws that
> are outside
> the circle?s domain of responsibility.
>
> ?Domain? means this is an area in which a person has a decision-making
> authority.
>
> These are on page 83 in the new edition. Equally or even more helpful is
> the section on resolving objections. There are many ways to do this that
> actually work. In addition to the chapters on decision-making this is
> ?Consent and Rounds? (A case study) and a summary guide, "Resolving
> Objections & Building Consent.?
>
> At Amazon:
>
> https://amzn.to/2rs3WOv
>
> The book is elegant and much easier to consult as a reference than the
> digital book. The digital edition is not as lovely as the book by any
> means. I was just learning how to design digital books. I?m planning on
> redoing it but first have to complete formatting of the Portuguese and
> Spanish translations, both digital editions. For a book with graphs,
> charts, and illustrations, the digital version is complicated because it
> has to be coded like a webpage. (More than you wanted to know but there it
> is. The Turkish translation is in process.)
>
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> Coauthor with John Buck of
> "We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy? 2nd Edition
> Print: ISBN: 978-0979282737
> Digital: ISBN 978-0979282720
> http://www.sociocracy.info
>
>
>
>
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