Feb .16 I made some changes to this proposal based on the feedback from the last Nuts and Bolts meeting. One way to get simple decisions answered is a decision board on a online forum. The modified consensus proposal is for ideas and proposals that people have concerns with or major organizational decisions. Chris
Decision Boards (and Committee Decisions) by Tree Bressen
Not every decision needs the attention of your whole group. Some can be made by one person in charge of an area. Some can be made by a committee. And some could be made, if they aren’t yet, via a “Decision Board.” Here’s an example of how it might work. Let’s say you have a parking team that wants to make some changes to how and where guests park when visiting the community. The team posts their proposed changes on a central bulletin board, for a prescribed period of time, say, two weeks.
During that period, people wander by and check off their names in one of three columns: •
I’m ok with this.
I have minor questions or concerns, which i will communicate to the person or committee who wrote the proposal.
I think this should go to a meeting because I am concerned with...
At the end of the period, the team reviews the responses, and if no major concerns have been received and the proposal hasn’t attracted sufficient controversy to require a whole group meeting, then the proposal becomes official operating procedure.
Options to consider when setting up a Decision Board include: 1. How long is the review period? 2. Do proposals go out via email in addition to a central physical posting? 3. How many requests does it take to move something to meeting? 4. How can decisions made via Decision Board be revisited? 5. What about the people who have not checked off their name in any column? Is it their responsibility to give input, or someone else’s responsibility to gain their approval?
Nuts and Bolts Modified Consensus Decision Making Proposal
1) State the idea or issue (by the person who created it, preferably not the facilitator) Why are we talking about this? Why does it matter? History of the idea (including previous meetings) Goal for this item at this particular meeting (report, decision, committee or gather input, etc.)
2) Open Discussion: Clarify the idea or issue The facilitator asks each person to speak to the idea or issue to create a written proposal or plan of action. ( Go-Around or Staking) Gather ideas. Pros and Cons. Note taker or facilitator writes them on a board for all to see.
3) Facilitator asks for or writes a proposal or plan of action incorporating all viewpoints.
4) Direction of Current Item. Options: (Straw Poll or Raising hands)
A) Decide Now
B) Post written proposal on TM Website. It will be decided at the following meeting.
C) Start with a plan of action, series of meetings, committee or individual work in between. (Report Backs ) Outside experts invited to add perspective before the proposal is decided on. Sub Committee writes proposal and presents it to Nuts and
Bolts Group for a group decision.
5) Consensus Discussion about Proposal: The facilitator ask people to speak to the written proposal. ( Go-Around or Staking)
First round, Clarifying Questions or Friendly amendments: Questions of understanding only—short and sweet. Would you participate?
Second round ( if needed) Deeper questions: Bring out diversity of ideas, concerns, and perspectives. Deal first with value concerns or big picture, before getting into details. Note agreements and disagreements on general direction and the underlying reasons for them— discuss those underlying reasons and needs. Looking for potential stand asides or blocks.
Facilitator Synthesizes or Modifies Proposal as needed on a written board. Note agreements or disagreements. Generate ideas to address and resolve concerns. Evaluate potential solutions. Synthesize proposed ideas/solutions or come up with new ideas in the supportive atmosphere of the meeting.
6) Call for Consensus: Facilitator Re-states proposal clearly. Ask: “Are there any remaining unresolved concerns?” Official decision point: Do you Agree, Stand Aside or Block? Check to see if all parties genuinely consent. Ask everyone to show visual (hand waving) or oral agreement.
Agree, Sense of Unity. No remaining unresolved concerns.
Stand Aside "I don't like this proposal because ...... But I am willing to let the group proceed."
A "stand aside" may be registered by a group member who has a "serious personal disagreement" with a proposal, but is willing to let the motion pass. Although stand asides do not halt a motion, it is often
regarded as a strong "nay vote" and the concerns of group members
standing aside are usually addressed by modifications to the proposal.
Stand asides may also be registered by users who feel they are
incapable of adequately understanding or participating in the proposal.
Block " I have a firm conviction that this proposal does not serve the interests of the whole organization."
Blocks are generally considered to be an extreme measure, only used when a member feels a proposal "endanger[s] the organization or its participants, or violate[s] the mission of the organization" (i.e., a
principled objection). A group member who
opposing a proposal must work with its proponents to find a solution
that will work for everyone.
Consensus-Minus One." means is that it takes more than one dissenting members to block consensus. One voice at odds with the rest is considered a workable way to go forward, but more than one is a sign that the decision should be re-thought.
When two people block the proposal, it is laid down and we have to start over or the proposal is sent back to committee that created it.
Voting: We have had 2 meetings without resolution, after a written proposal is created, written and discussed. Super Majority Vote: 80%
7. Suggest having note taker read back decision to the group. Record: decision, tasks, time line, implementation
looks good Chris and Alex.
I have a few notes on things that were hard for me to read/understand.
#5 just make it say "when to use a consensus decision or voting." in intro line.
#7 can we just make this simpler to understand? like "if proposal is not passed yet" and a "create sub committee " etc....
#6 " block" can we make this firmer please? I thought the idea of a block was that it was for VERY strong objections, even when you might be ready to leave the group over etc.
when one person blocks we said for big issues we might honor it for one month. two people we drop it or send it to a committee or start again.
I did think we were going to go to the meeting with this proposal filled in though and then work on anything that we thought needed work then and then try to agree on it. so can we have some # of meetings filled in etc.?