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
In principle, decision making “structure” consists of things like rules, agendas, mandates, and plans; and when these things frame our choices it frees us to focus on the substance of our work. A...
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In principle, when everybody understands and plays by the same rules, the experience is much more likely to be fun and rewarding than when people make up or assume their own rules and not everyone...
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In principle, if we are a group of equals deciding how we are going to spend our time together, it should be a group decision or at least the group should decide the agenda-setting process. Every...
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In principle, groups make their most creative, win-win decisions when each participant puts in their personal best and no participant thinks they know best for the group. It works best when no single...
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In principle, there are basically three ways to influence the choices people make. You can regulate what people cannot do and punish violations. You can offer incentives to encourage certain choices...
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In principle, the center of a circle is equidistant from all points on its perimeter. We need to know the edges in order to know the center. To know what is centrally acceptable to a group of...
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In principle, a good team is a group of people who try to make each other look good. Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Similarly, we...
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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, 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, 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, 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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