RE: Architectural Review
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 12:46:36 -0800 (PST)
Aesthetics are a personal preference. Trying to find agreement with 20 or
more different personal preferences tends to stretch the patience of most
people, and so they give in or stomp away annoyed.  It is not usually a huge
big issue for most people, and thus for those it is, they stick it out and
get what they want mostly.  This is not a bad thing, it is just an
illustration of how sometimes cooperative process means giving somebody who
cares what they want, because you don't. 

 I recall a group I was invited to work with once who had a flaming row (or
so they thought) about porch roof shingles. They simply could not agree
between some choices.  In truth it was not a group issue at all, it was a
personal disagreement between three members. All three had firm preferences,
and the rest of the group cared much less. In this case the group held 2
runoff votes. Each of the three choices was clearly explained (Lobbied) and
then the group voted to reduce it to two choices, then voted again and
picked the one with the most votes. Since there was no RIGHT answer, it was
simply a preference, voting worked fine. The two folks that did not get
their choice had been coached so they were fine to live with the outcome. It
helped that the final vote choice was a large majority. Three years later, I
was back in that community and both the "losers" of that paricular decision
commented to me how silly they had been to be so stuck on it, that they did
not notice it at all, in fact, had forgotten all about it until I reminded
them. So for those of you making all the zillions of decisions about your
bricks and sticks, for the most part, you will find it does not matter much
once you live together.

Sometimes people treat voting as if it was a bad thing that will doom the
group. Voting is simply one tool of many that can used to make decisions,
and sometimes it IS the best tool in the box. Choosing which tool to use
under which circumstance is an important learning for facilitators and
groups. Don't be afraid to try things out.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood, Snohomish Co, WA

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