Group Process

More than buildings, cohousing is about people. Successful cohousing communities spend as much time and energy on growing connections and attending to group process as they do to building and maintaining structures. A strong desire for collaboration and consensus isn’t enough; we need to learn and practice the skills to do it well. (After all, most of us did NOT grow up knowing how to do this!) Periodic training in communication skills and conflict resolution along with opportunities to discuss deeper values and goals can help maintain healthy, strong relationships. Read one of these books together and discuss it, or bring in an outside facilitator to help you see the water you swim in. -- Eris Weaver, Group Process Consultant
Question: We are 3 months into starting a co-housing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. I don't think we have to reinvent the wheel on this one....
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Laird's Blog - Why Starting with a Proposal is Usually a Bad Idea As a process consultant for cooperative groups one of the most common things I'm asked to address is why it's such a slog to solve...
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Most values statements are so vague that pretty much anyone would be willing to endorse them. Values statements mean nothing unless they are connected to a vision, mission, and aims. The same...
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A woman in the sociocracy discussion group at the cohousing conference asked about people who join being able to change policies. The group has a pet policy but the new person wants it changed. My...
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I was recently selected to join a nonprofit board and attended my first meeting via teleconference. Although the bylaws stiplated that decisions would be made by consensus (I'd done my reading), the...
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[Editor's note - come to Laird Schaub's Facilitation...
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Personally I object to the use of the word "block" as synonymous with "objection" and this entry explains some of the reasons why. What is a block? This is not a facetious question. If this is the...
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One of the ways the principles and methods used by sociocracy speed up decision-making is going directly to objections instead of discussing the proposal. The proposal should state the perceived...
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When people create intentional community they are purposefully choosing a culture that is shifted more toward the "we" end of the spectrum and away from the "I" end. People living in community are,...
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Group Works: Power Shift This entry continues a series in which I'm exploring concepts encapsulated in a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue...
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I'm currently immersed in four days of FIC organizational meetings, where a key focus has been how to make better connections with others trying to build cooperative culture. Essentially, those of us...
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Grace Kim responded to a query on cohousing-l to “cohousing veterans:” “What should we (a forming group) be worried about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW?" I'll preface my advice...
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Sociocratic governance requires consensus decision-making for policy decisions. Policy decisions include setting goals, allocating funds, assigning people to roles and responsibilities, and...
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East Bay Cohousing members practice using consensus while meeting at the common house of Swan’s Market Cohousing in Oakland, CA, last year.When people choose to live in community, they hold a...
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In principle, the more information we have about something the better decision we are likely to make. We are likely to have the most information at the last minute. Deciding more than we really need...
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Skills for Committees Slides This presentation is copyright Liz Logan, 2008. Permission is granted to download one copy to share with your community, with attribution. Please call or write if you...
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Talkers vs. Doers slides This presentation is copyright Liz Logan, 2008. Permission is granted to download one copy to share with your community with attribution. Please call or write if you have...
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In principle, understanding is that upon which we stand. It is the basis for all our beliefs and actions, like a foundation. All we do and say is based upon our understanding of the situation. We do...
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In principle, good group decisions are creations. Creativity comes from putting together two or more things, events or ideas. Germination leads to new creations. Like water with a poppy seed, fertile...
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In principle, it is a shared vision that holds a group together; a common view of how people want things to be different in the future. If my opinion of how things should change does no overlap with...
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In principle, groups make their best decisions when no single person knows what is best for the group. There is a sign in a meeting room that I know of: “No one in this room is smarter than all of us...
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In principle, it is rarely beneficial to say the first thing that comes to mind. Just because I think or feel something does not mean I have to say it. Even when there is a sense of urgency;...
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In principle, when things are not right, a natural instinct is to want someone else to do something different, or to want a policy to be different. Rarely are these the best solutions. It’s easy to...
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In principle, when I am in conflict with others in my group or troubled by a difficult circumstance and I want relief, I have basically two choices. I can either work to change things for the better...
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In principle, we each have a personality type, hardwired into us, not likely to change. There are many methods of assessing personality types, Myers-Briggs the most famous among them. Most...
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In principle, more often than not, a group will develop a great solution to the wrong problem. Before proceeding with a solution we need to see that it is aimed squarely at the problem and to do that...
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In principle, moving quickly often seems like a good idea, but moving quickly in the wrong direction simply gets you to the wrong place fast. Most groups have a high need for quick achievement. We...
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In principle, the best group decisions are based on shared understanding of everyone's perspective, and the best way to get a quick read of where everyone stands is to take a straw vote. A straw vote...
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In principle, if we want our group decisions to be creative, that is, to result in new and better ways of doing things, we need to draw on all our resources and blend them in new ways. Typical...
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In principle, it is best to make the rules before taking the field, before starting the meeting. When we decide HOW we are going to make decisions before we find ourselves in the tension of making...
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