In my previous blog I equated cohousing to the old model of village life where people knew their neighbors and helped each other. Sounds good but who manages this village and makes decisions about how it is run? The Silver Birch Village group uses the Consensus Decision Making process. In this post I will resume this process by pulling together the main ideas of the Rhizome guide to Consensus Decision-making from www.rhizome.coop.
Consensus decision making is one of the cornerstones of our group. We were trained in the use of this model in a facilitated workshop. In this model, consensus is not unanimous agreement, it is unanimous consent. We come together to make the best decision for our diverse group. We share the common purpose of building and maintaining Silver Birch Village.
For this process to work, all members must be willing to be a part of the group and trust that the others are as well. All opinions hold equal value, and all members of the group must be open to hearing these opinions. When making decisions and choices all members must look for the wider group.
Consensus decision making is not a simple majority, the goal is to avoid majority/minority decisions which can lead to rifts and resentment in a group. It therefore requires a deeper sense of shared values than most decision-making models.
Unity is at the core of the process. This is very different from uniformity. <Consensus asks people to be flexible in seeking the highest common factor.> It strengthens the group and helps to build relationships within the group.
Consensus Decision Making works well when these tips are followed for setting the agenda. Ask yourself the following:
- Are you making a proposal?
- Having a discussion?
- Making a decision?
- Consider: What? So what? Now what?
When voting, the Silver Birch Village members use a card system. Green means you agree, yellow means that you can live with the decision even if you have certain reservations. The red card allows you to block a proposal. A member can only use a red card 5 times in a lifetime. A block indicates that the group needs to back up, amend the proposal or return to the broad discussion and look for a new proposal. Usually if there is strong opposition, the group will work together to find a solution that is acceptable to all.
Consensus decision making is hard work. This hard work is building the foundations of Silver Birch Village. If you would like more information about our group, join us for a one-hour orientation workshop.
When: Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Session One: 11:00 a.m. with Janet and Carmen
Session Two: 7:00 p.m. with Ann and Peter
To register, please email Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org
One thought on “Cohousing and Consensus Decision Making”
Great Blog and review of what “CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING” really means. Thank you, I enjoyed reading it
Pauline Martel Pasierowski
On Fri., Apr. 16, 2021, 11:38 a.m. Silver Birch Village, wrote:
> cshuparski posted: ” In my previous blog I equated cohousing to the old > model of village life where people knew their neighbors and helped each > other. Sounds good but who manages this village and makes decisions about > how it is run? The Sudbury Senior Cohousing G” >