Herstory 15 (scp.6 House2) Consensus requires discussion

my idea of consensus culture [ THIS DID NOT HAPPEN dec13 2008, where the decision on a 2 year ban, was made ]:

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1 ) .. consensus ethos* (culture)

2 ) .. meeting structure

*ethos: the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution

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000

1 ) .. consensus ethos* (culture)

The idea is to get past ego, and start thinking about what’s best for the group, and at the same time still care for all the individuals in it. In this culture it’s important to take in to consideration the feelings / emotions of everyone involved. The group is not only about physical actions. This culture is there to create more inclusion and therefor more emotional and practical involvement of everyone. The idea is to break with internalized invisible societal power structures, that tend to have a destructive effect on the creative drive / efficiency / loving, caring mood of groups.


2 ) .. meeting structure

So in order to break with the tyranny of informal structure – so people avoid repeating the habitual status games of everyday life – both the way of discussing and some of the roles people take during the meeting, are made formal in consensus culture.


and in general

– meetings are not only about making consensus decisions

– it’s also about having fun / talking about feelings / socializing

– having discussions. debating, bringing out the issues that divide

– and when consensus isn’t possible, agreeing on voting (or using some other method) instead


CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING:


Consensus is the agreement of everybody involved.

Consensus means to agree, to compromise until everybody can agree on something. It’s a method to practice direct democracy. It doesn’t mean that everybody should be of the same opinion. It simply means that it’s possible to agree on a decision that everybody can accept.

The proposed consensus can be blocked by anyone who has strong objections, also this power has to be exercised with utmost care and responsibility.

In the following paragraphs we describe the most important methods that help the process.

The facilitator

Each individual is responsible to ensure that everybody has equal say in the meeting and that the discussion stays relevant. However especially when many people come together the need arises for a person who explicitly facilitates the meeting.

The facilitator has an active guiding role.

The facilitator guides the discussion while making sure that each person is allowed to say their piece and that participants listen to each other and take each other seriously.

• She ensures a clear structure for agenda, agenda points in a logical order, and make sure that the meeting sticks to these points.

• The facilitator ensures that each point is introduced properly and that as many people as possible take active roles in the decision making process.

• She gives the word and periodically updates the participants on the status of the meeting, like which agenda point is under discussion, what are the major proposals and arguments, how much time remains to reach a consensus.

• If she smells that consensus maybe near, she summarizes the current proposal and asks the participants if they accept it.

In big and complicated meetings it is good to divide the roles and powers of the facilitator between several people. For example someone can keep a list of people who are waiting to speak and give the word, while another person takes care that the meeting constructively follows the agenda, and a third person ensures that the atmosphere stays under control.

The minute-taker

The minute-taker’s role in the meeting is equally important as that of the facilitator. The minute-taker listens closely to the arguments and writes them down as well as the decisions made. Good and complete minutes avoid misunderstanding. It’s important that the reader gets a complete picture of the discussion, the arguments exchanged and the decisions taken. When a degree of secrecy is required, the minute-taker can use only nicknames or perhaps completely omit reference to individuals.

The consensus meeting method

In consensus meetings, the group chooses the facilitator and minute-taker at the start of the meeting. Then, after a round of proposals the agenda is decided upon. If an agenda point is not explained well or is unclear, then reaching a good conclusion and decision is already impossible before discussion has even started.

Step one: When an agenda point doesn’t cause much discussion, then consensus can sometimes already be achieved after the first discussion.

Step two: When there are objections, probably more discussion and / or clarification is necessary. In order to avoid discussing all objections at the same time, a list can be made of the objections. This can then be grouped according to the type of objection.

Step three: Each group of objections is considered one by one. For each objection you try to reach a satisfying solution which shows considerations for the objections, then you try again to see if there is consensus.

Step four: If that’s not the case, then the point is obviously so sensitive that more discussion is necessary. You then note the remaining objections and ask the objectors for more clarification. Then you ask what would remove the objection. You do this for each individual objection.

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