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, 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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In principle, the chances of making good group decisions are greatly increased if all the participants believe there is good in everyone. We are more likely to do well if we look for the best in each...
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In principle, 90 percent of disease prevention and cure occurs at home and in families. We all practice health care. We help each other eat well and get rest, and we take care of each other when sick...
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In principle, the three fundamental steps that make a meeting great are to (1) plan what you are going to meet about, (2) actually meet according to the plan, and then (3) write up the meeting...
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In principle, good group decisions stem from shared understanding, and shared understanding comes from reading off the same page. To see things the same way, write words for everyone to see. And,...
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In principle, peace comes through shared understanding, and shared understanding comes through listening. If you hear things incorrectly, or not at all, you are likely to proceed on false assumptions...
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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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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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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, 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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