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
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, we do not need to know the whole plan in order to take the next step. To avoid a stumble we do not need to see the whole path illuminated, just the next few feet. As if carrying a...
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In principle, gratitude is all about attitude. Gratitude is a choice we make to see good in ourselves, our situation and the people around us. Discontent arises in me when there is a gap between...
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In principle, making good group decisions is really hard, a lot harder than making bad decisions. Making peace is much harder than making war. Getting along with each other and making good, lasting...
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In principle, when group participants are allowed to manipulate the process to favor specific programs, it tilts power toward a few, limits creativity, and clogs efficiency. It is typical in Congress...
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In principle, big ideas are always the result of putting our heads together. Really big ideas are already out there in the heads of many people, just waiting to be put together. Without sharing my...
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In principle, consensus among the whole group is worth the effort for decisions intended to transcend generations. Consensus is achieved when every member of the group understands and consents to the...
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In principle, considering alternative solutions makes for better decisions. Exploring alternatives either: (1) builds faith in the leading option (we get to see that the leading option really is the...
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In principle, just because a person is talking does not necessarily mean they are contributing, or that they are the only one contributing. Most of the time in a group decision setting, listening is...
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In principle, to make good group decisions we need to hear all perspectives. We need to be able to openly disagree with respect and civility. We need to have the courage to speak what is on our minds...
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In principle, a simple but important decision I have to make every moment in a group is whether to open my mouth or to keep it shut; to talk or to listen. I contribute best to good group decisions if...
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In principle, most conflicts are because of mismatched expectations. Where the expectations are really different the conflict can be really big. No one likes disappointment: when you think something...
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In principle, when someone comes into a meeting or a negotiation with an already-established position, it limits prospects for creative, innovative, win-win solutions. When I state my position on an...
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In principle, consensus generally means that all perspectives are heard and all concerns are addressed so all participants can willingly consent to those decisions. Many groups aspire to make...
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In principle, when we look at people in certain ways, place labels on them, or “put them in boxes,” it limits what they have to offer. It is especially tempting to “contain” those who disagree with...
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In principle, we know we are prone to make mistakes; it is part of being human. And we know that mistakes are our best teachers. Learning from small mistakes prevents big mistakes later. Yet we are...
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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, 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, 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, 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, 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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