Best of Communities: V. Consensus

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V. Consensus

Consensus is by far the most common form of decision making among intentional communities— but that doesn’t mean everyone knows what they’re doing or has stellar results. Consensus is based on the notion that it’s better to cooperate than compete. But accepting that notion isn’t enough to guarantee that you’ll remember it in the heat of the moment.When someone disagrees strongly with something that matters a great deal to you, will you respond with curiosity or a clenched jaw?

It’s serious work to unlearn competitive conditioning, yet intentional communities are learning how to do it and this collection of 17 articles will give you an excellent overview of the road to cooperative culture through consensus, along with warnings about some of the more common potholes you’re likely to encounter along the way.

This issue includes:

1. Consensus Basics by Tree Bressen, Directory 2000
2. 12 Myths of Consensus by Betty Didcoct and Paul DeLapa, #109
3. Building Creative Agreements: Using Dynamic Consensus to Empower Ourselves by Betty Didcoct and Paul DeLapa, #109
4. True Consensus, False Consensus by Bea Briggs, (including Doctor Ike’s Magical Cup O’ Facilitation, Luc Reid and Exploiting Community for Personal Gain), #113
5. Who SaysWe Can’t Consense to Vote? by Shari Leach,#113
6. When and Why to Block Consensus by Tree Bressen, #122
7. Blocking Made Easy (or at Least Easier): Taking a Look at the Dynamics of Dissent by Laird Schaub, #119
8. When Someone Blocks Far Too Frequently by Caroline Estes, Laird Schaub, Beatrice Briggs, Tree Bressen, #136
9. When We Should Use “Blocking Power” by Caroline Estes, Beatrice Briggs,Tree Bressen, Karl Steyaert, #133
10. Preventing “Tyranny of the Minority” by Laird Schaub, Beatrice Briggs, Tree Bressen, by #137
11. Dysfunctional Consensus—And What You Can Do About It by Rob Sandelin, #110
12. Doing the Heavy Lifting on Affordability by Laird Schaub, #155
13. Busting the Myth that Consensus-with-Unanimity Is Good for Communities, Part I by Diana Leafe Christian, #155
14. “Busting the Myth:” How Consensus Can Work by Laird Schaub, #155
15. Busting the Myth, or Changing the Terms? by Tree Bressen, #155
16. Thinking Flexibly about Consensus by Tim Hartnett, Ph.D., #157
17. How the “N Street Consensus Method” Helps N Street Cohousing Thrive by Diana Leafe Christian, #157