Re: How many community meetings to make a decision?
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 07:34:04 -0700 (PDT)
At Mosaic our major learning has been "the faster you try to go, the longer
it takes to make a decision".

Our "general meetings" of the plenary happen once a month, sometimes twice
in November for budget approval.

So now, after 11 years in place, many decisions happen in one or two
meetings--because the leaders of the decision spent a lot of time in
discussion circles, individual meetings, and with professionals getting
details on costs, choices, etc.
Essentially, if you can come to a meeting knowing what the community's
concerns are, why they want such a thing to happen, AND actual data on the
cost, the things you may give up or gain by spending more or less, etc.
THEN you can come to a decision quickly.

We have several policies that took years to make--outdoor cats is one that
comes to mind.  And we are on the third pass to try to build the workshop
that was in our original plans, sometimes it took a few months to die,
other times it took a couple years. This time it might be the huge increase
of the price of wood to kill what looked like a successful approval. Some,
like parking, took years of discussion to discover there wasn't actually a
problem that needed an agreement.

(The Rev. Dr.) Elizabeth Mae Magill
Pastor, Ashburnham Community Church
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 9:42 AM Ted J Rau <ted [at]> wrote:

> In my community, most decisions are made in committees, not in the
> all-member meetings (following sociocracy process).
> Therefore, each committee (aka circles) meets as often as they see fit, and
> it can be different for each circle, like every 2 weeks, or every 4 or 8
> weeks. It can also change over time - for example, "my" circle met more
> often during high-stress covid time to make sure we understand
> implications; other circles met less often during that time.
> One general frame that might be useful even for groups that don't
> decentralize decisions like sociocracy does is this and that I each in my
> facilitation classes is this. Every time there's an issue, there are three
> steps:
>    - Understanding what the issue even is: Who is upset about what? What's
>    not working? Does this need a decision, or is some listening and/or
>    feedback enough? This can enter into an agreed-upon statement of how we
>    understand the issue we're trying to solve.
>    - Exploration of solutions: We enter a process of generating policy. We
>    use 3 sub-steps here (a) writing up dimensions to find headlines for
> ideas
>    (b) gathering of ideas of what we could do (c) synthesizing the ideas
> into
>    a proposal. Then ready for the next step!
>    - Decision: making a decision about the proposal we co-created.
> Of course one can do them all in one go but a "sane" pace is to take it one
> step per meeting. *So even a big policy decision can be made in 3 meetings
> and solved together*, especially if there's work done between meetings
> (extra listening, sending out drafts etc).
> In sociocracy, even though the process might be held by one circle, the
> all-member meeting can give input into the steps, on whichever step(s) it
> might be most useful. So for example, the circle could do meeting #1 (and
> generate a description statement of the issue) and run it by others; then
> ask for input for meeting #2 and synthesize those ideas in the circle
> meeting; then #3 would be the decision. The back and forth between small
> group-large group can be a very powerful dance, and it's the reason
> decisions in small groups can still include the input from a lot of people.
> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 12:14 AM Hafidha Sofia <hafidhaao [at]>
> wrote:
> > I would echo much of what Muriel said. And add: self governance is time
> > intensive, and the more activities or work we do, the more planning and
> > communication time required… most meetings are either for info sharing
> > about a thing that’s going on or for planning a thing we want to happen.
> >
> >  Songaia has a monthly ”house” aka community meeting that has a set
> agenda
> > related to the community’s state of affairs; those meetings are organized
> > by a committee (which meets monthly to set the agenda).
> >
> > And then there’s a second monthly meeting called the community circle
> that
> > has a very flexible format and wide range of topics; circles generally
> > provide space for ongoing community praxis and skill building — usually
> > related to communication, conflict, trust, etc. We might skip 1-3 circles
> > per year (esp in summer) but we don’t skip house meetings.
> >
> > Our community is very active and does a lot so there are many committees
> > and task forces of 3-12 people who need to meet anywhere from weekly to
> > twice a year to keep the community running, to foster communication, to
> > plan celebrations, to manage facilities, and to handle the legal and
> > financial affairs.
> >
> > We also have round tables, which are optional, but a way for topics and
> > solutions to be explored and temperature checks taken. For example, we
> had
> > round tables recently to talk about how we felt about covid precautions
> > post vaccines.
> >
> > Separate from that is groups that gather for an activity or identity,
> like
> > the meditation group, women’s group, people of color group, book study
> > groups, etc.
> >
> > I moved to a cohousing community in part so i wouldn’t need to drive
> > anywhere to have a rich social life. 😁
> >
> >  Hafidha
> > Songaia, WA
> > 2017-2021
> > now an associate (non resident) member
> >
> >
> > > On Jul 13, 2021, at 7:55 PM, Maggi R. <librarymaggi [at]> wrote:
> > >
> > > 
> > > How many meetings does your community have each month? How many
> meetings
> > does it typically take to make a decision on a topic from beginning to
> end?
> > > _________________________________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >
> >
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