Consensus for Communities

10-hour Pre-Recorded Course

Learn how to work through issues effectively with remedies for key traps and how to support diversity in the Consensus for Communities course.

Course fee: $79-$129 USD

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Watch the Understanding How Consensus Works in Communities webinar to get a peek into the Consensus for Communities course

Course description and syllabus

The dominant model for how to conduct meetings in Western culture is rigorous debate, where the strongest ideas survive the battle. Consensus meetings are entirely different. In Consensus for Communities, you’ll discover how to encourage differences of opinion to emerge so that the ultimate decision has the benefit of the broadest possible input. You’ll also develop your capacity to disagree constructively, so that your group is brought closer together through the process – rather than exhausted or discouraged.

Course instructor, Laird Schaub, is a leading expert when it comes to using consensus decision-making within cooperative groups. Laird lays out a step-by-step model for working issues productively, explain the importance of learning to delegate effectively, explore the advantages of working with the whole person (not just the rational person), as well as unpack the myriad ways that people are different in how they take in information, how the process it, and how they communicate it. You’ll leave with a deep understanding of the method so you can bring it back to benefit your group or community.

Classes and topics in the Consensus for Communities syllabus include:

1st Class: Mindset – Cooperative culture not competitive culture

  • the tragedy of want and capacity
  • the tragedy of want and capacity

2nd Class: Essential Ingredients for consensus to thrive

  • common values
  • willingness to engage

3rd Class: How to work issues effectively in consensus

  • good responses
  • sequencing

4th Class: Understanding the challenges of diversity in consensus

  • dimensions of diversity
  • limits of diversity

5th Class: Key traps in consensus and their remedies

  • delegate or die
  • right to be heard and responsibility to listen
  • problem solving v. relationship building

Your instructor

Consensus for Communities Instructor Image

Laird Schaub

Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible. He lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found.
Laird also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years. In 1987, he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years.
In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.

Read his blog Laird’s Commentary on Community and Consensus


“Laird Schaub is a national treasure in terms of his experience dealing with the different challenges that intentional communities can encounter in decision making and his positive attitude toward helping communities find solutions that work. His emphasis on the importance of both process and product is key. Students in course represented a lot of different types of experience with intentional living and were very engaged. Class discussions were interesting and helpful.”

-Deborah Kogan

“Laird has obviously got a firm foundation with this topic from a lifetime of experiential engagement with it. It was a pleasure to finally see him in action sharing his knowledge and anecdotal stories to enhance the points being discussed. A rare opportunity to learn from a master at his craft — and a skill set that is as essential to intentional community living (regardless of each one’s form of governance), as it is to communicating and dealing with human beings in relationships of all kinds.”

-Jonah Goldwag

“Laird has a great width and depth of understanding of how consensus can work in communities from decades of experience working with many, many communities addressing their most difficult problems. The course covered the aspects of consensus that you need to address for it to work well in your community. Laird answered many community specific questions emphasizing what the tradeoffs are and that each community must come to their own solution.”

-Dave Werlinger

“I enjoyed learning what consensus consists of and what it might look like in action through the breakout rooms where we were able to experiment with potential consensus situations. If you are considering community living, take this course. Laird is the perfect instructor to offer both a rational and emotional perspective on what consensus in community could look like. He has a wealth of experience in living communally and teaching consensus.”

-Cynthia Scott

The elements of an online course

Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • 5 class recordings (~10 hours of video content)
  • downloadable class audio and transcripts for learning on the go
  • class slides and other course resources
  • discount on complementary books to deepen your learning

Go at your own pace

Learn at your own pace with a course that fits your schedule. You’ll have a full 90 days from registration to move through the learning material. One section at a time, when and where it works for you.


Consensus for Communities Course

From: $79.00

(Price is per person)

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