RE: Exploring blocks
From: Juva (
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 07:10:29 -0800 (PST)
Rob, sorry if you already said and I missed but what is the " POISE method
of facilitation"?  Can you recommend some reading?  I will put in our second
on Tree being a good trainer.  We have used her a couple of times, with
great satisfaction.  We are luck enough to live only an hour away from her! 
Juva - CoHo Cohousing - 
Corvallis Oregon...
a few months from breaking ground...
3 market rate homes left and 5 income eligible.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Sandelin [mailto:floriferous [at]] 
Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2005 2:01 PM
To: 'Cohousing-L'
Subject: [C-L]_ Exploring blocks

 Dameron Midgette [mailto:dameron [at]] 


Hi there!
     I've heard there is often a requirement in consensus processes that
blocks must be considered valid, ie the group must decide that the concern
is truly in the groups interest, and not a personal issue. Is this something
you're familiar with?


Blocking is a dicey and often emotional laden action. It puts most people in
an agitated state to withhold support from the groups decisions.
Facilitators of consensus best serve their group in my opinion if they have
a plan in place for when blocks occur. Blocking can be explored gently with
support to understand the full issue and there are techniques for doing this
which can bring out good things for the group.    To decide whether a block
is holding the groups best interests takes some thinking before hand of what
questions to ask, and when to ask them. I used to teach this kind of thing
but no longer do so, Tree Bresson is a good teacher for these kinds of

I would say the most difficult notion of consensus is separating your own
desires out of your arguments for what is the best interest of the group. It
is certainly not uncommon in my experience that this work is lacking in many
blocking actions, and so the facilitator has the job of getting the group to
define what directions its interests are served by and then comparing that
to the actions of the blocker, AND doing so in such a way that neither the
blocking individual, nor the rest of the group has unnessary emotional
truama over it.  If you follow the POISE method of facilitation you will
seldom be left short as a facilitator in this situation because you would
have planned for blocks, and thought ahead of time, how to deal with them.

Rob Sandelin
Former Facilitation Trainer
Sharingwood Cohousing
Snohomish, WA

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