Tune-Up Experiences: Enhancing Cohousing Communities

[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 2015, Laird Schaub engaged in a ‘tune-up’ retreat with us over 4 days, 2 of which were in facilitating full day plenary meetings.

His influence and wisdom helped us shift many expectations and set up many more effective processes for considering issues and managing our affairs as a community. He challenged us through reflections and comparisons from over 50 coho communities as well as with his active and highly structured facilitation style. While modeling a highly self-reflective approach to debriefing and seeking improvements, his energetic style did rub some members of our community the wrong way. The retreat was, nonetheless, widely acknowledged as a valuable turning point in our evolution.

Our Retreat and Steering Committee members would clearly recommend his work to others, with the hope that Laird’s blend of energy and reflection would spark more of the same in others.

From Becky Laskody, Arcadia Cohousing (Chapel Hill, NC)

Nineteen years after groundbreaking, we set aside one whole weekend to revisit our community values and work system with [Laird Schaub’s] guidance. Laird got us started with examples of how we might use a values statement to help resolve future complicated community decisions, such as when balancing care of the environment with affordability. After the weekend, small groups continued to meet to create a consolidated values statement and over the next few months brought pieces to the plenary; after 3 months of work, we adopted our community statement of values. We read a portion out loud at the beginning of each plenary and often refer to it during discussions on proposals. Laird also worked with us to clear the air with several emotional topics, such as martyrs and slackers in our work system. It was very helpful to have a non-judgmental outside facilitator for this process.

Category: Relating

Tags: community check up, Group Process, living in cohousing

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