• Jane

Building our consensus muscles

The Foundation for Intentional Community https://www.ic.org/community-bookstore/product/communication-in-community/ has a series of books called The Wisdom of Communities. Volume 3 is all about consensus, and is a recommended read! Here are their 10 Most Common Mistakes:

1. Inappropriate Blocks Tip: Establish a clear procedure regarding how the validity of potential blocks is assessed and what happens when one arises. Create a robust response to inappropriate blocks.

2. Enabling Bad Behavior

3. Poorly Planned Agendas Tip: Put the most important items early so they don’t get squeezed by less important items.

4. Having the Same Person Facilitate and Present Topics

5. Starting from a Proposal instead of an Issue

6. Too Many Details

7. Rushing the Process Tip: Allow plenty of time for discussion. Take the space to really listen to people’s diverse viewpoints and concerns. Trust the wisdom of the whole.

8. Spending All Your Meeting Time in Open Discussion Tip: Change formats (planned in advance or on the spot): break into pairs or small groups (three to five people), line up to show the spectrum of opinion, etc. See treegroup.info/topics/handout-formats.pdf for a bunch more ideas.

9. Attaching Proposals to People

10. Fuzzy Minutes Tip: Make sure the decision and reasons for it are written clearly for the records. Record any stand asides (names and reasons), and tasks for implementation (who will do what, by when). :

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