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
I've been a group process consultant for 28 years. For the first 26 years most of my work was focused on weathering storms, or training groups in foul weather drills, so that they could better handle...
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[We received these two responses to our inquiry about experiences of those who have sought "tune ups" to enhance their communities.] From Michael Madera, New View Cohousing (Acton, MA) In April...
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When I do minutes, I do not try to provide court transcripts; I don’t have the training or the equipment, and in any event, modern audio recording devices often do that as well or better than a...
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I was recently in a conversation with a friend who had just facilitated a difficult meeting for a neighboring community. Upon reflection, he felt fine when it came to working conflict and emotional...
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I attended a workshop recently on The Circle Way, based on the 2010 book of that title by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. The workshop leaders were very promotional of groups using the Circle...
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I asked Daniel if we could post this here because it's about a great deal more than wifi. -cat The best advice I can give around wifi is to be careful about how you talk to one another about it...
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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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Here's a new resource - Webinars by Laird Schaub, one of the three best trainers in group process/facilitation I've had the pleasure to work with. I can't attend due to the day job, but I'm...
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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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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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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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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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