Consensus 201 for Cooperative Groups

5-Week Online Course

Feeling confident in your understanding of consensus basics? Now it’s time to deepen your practice of this most inclusive and effective decision-making method. Join Laird Schaub for round two of how to make consensus work, especially when difficult situations arise! It is recommended that students either already have consensus experience or have taken Consensus 101 to join this course.

Consensus 201 for communities course image

Now that you know the basics about consensus, it’s time to take things up a notch.

What happens when a meeting goes haywire?! When your best intentions don’t land well and the group loses trust in the process… or worse, your capacity as a facilitator to see them through?!

Gain expert guidance from instructor Laird Schaub so you can avoid meeting nightmares and keep your group on track. We’ve created Consensus 101 and Consensus 201 because the topic deserve thorough attention. Bringing a group into harmony takes real work. You and your community need the best training in order to navigate the journey ahead.

Here’s a peak at some of the advanced level topics this course will be covering:

  • How to respond constructively when people go into strong reaction
  • How blocking functions in a healthy group
  • How to deal with tyranny of the minority (events being controlled or limited by the positions taken by a few dissenters, or by the way they express themselves)
  • How to balance inclusivity with efficiency
  • The importance of unpacking the ways in which the group is diverse
  • The high cost of avoiding key conversations (because you’re not confident they’ll go well)
  • How solid delegation is essential to easing how many topics come to plenary

Looking forward to seeing you again for round two!

This course includes plenty of opportunity to raise questions specific to your group, so that your particular needs can be addressed. (Think of it as your coffee date with Laird. We know, we can’t get enough of him either!)

Note: Consensus 201 is the second part in a two part training.

Get a discount when you register for Consensus 101 and 201 together.

You will leave this course with…

  • An understanding that when the stakes are high and people disagree, it is essential that there be room for people to speak from their heart as well as their head
  • An appreciation of the rights and responsibilities of dissenting members
  • The value of having facilitators who understand consensus well
  • The importance of orienting new members in consensus
  • The benefit of offering a variety of formats to level the playing field
  • A network of fellow communitarians practicing consensus in intentional communities around the world

Meet Your Instructor

The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups and Working Constructively with Conflict in Community 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.

Laird lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found. He 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.

The Online Course Experience

Live Interactive Sessions

Each week will feature a 2-hour live class with the course instructor so you can learn in a dynamic setting and get your questions answered directly. Get ready for interactive presentations, group discussion, small cohort activities and personalized support. Plus, each week there will be bonus sessions with guest speakers and panelists.

Journey with a Cohort

Join participants from around the world who are embarking on creating community for better living and more connection. You’ll have opportunities to network with like-minds and develop a network of support to carry your community project forward. Welcome to your global community of communities.

Deep Learning

Participants will have access to a private online space to connect with the instructor and other students through a discussion forum. Each week new learning materials will be uploaded to the space, including videos, worksheets and articles. You’ll be able to watch previously recorded sessions and stay on track with your weekly assignments.

Course Syllabus

  • Class 1: Balancing content and energy
  • Class 2: Working with tension
  • Class 3: Blocking
  • Class 4: Why does everything take so long?
  • Class 5: Setting up committees, teams, and managers to succeed

Course Schedules

All classes will be recorded and viewable with other class materials for up to 3 weeks after the last class. Live classes will be hosted via Zoom.
Please click the month below to view the respective class dates and times.

February-March 2022


  • 2/15/22
  • 2/22/22
  • 3/1/22
  • 3/8/22
  • 3/15/22

All classes are on Tuesdays from 8-10am Pacific / 9-11am Mountain / 10am-12pm Central / 11am-1pm Eastern


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 is an amazing facilitator and an excellent teacher. The skills he shares with his students are incredibly valuable to any community and to society as a whole. I appreciate that Laird grounds his work in a broader social analysis—that we as a society need to get much better at hearing each other, cooperating, and making hard decisions without domination. He has developed a thorough and effective system for guiding groups through a variety of challenging situations. It is thrilling to learn how to practice it. And it pays dividends not only within the community but in other areas of one’s life. I have used skills I learned from Laird at work and in family situations as well. Learning from Laird has been a life changing experience.

Tom Smyth

Laird is concise and comprehensive without running over people; he addresses each person’s questions with an appropriate level of thoroughness and invites further discussion via email if the subject is somewhat off-topic for the class topic that day. His handouts are very well organized, and he is all at once funny, compassionate, knowledgeable, and entertaining.

Emily Abel

There are few people with the sheer breadth and depth of experience as Laird has. He is sharp, challenging, provocative, insightful.  He deeply cares about promoting cooperative culture in communities and in the world.  And it shows.  I would recommend his classes to anyone and everyone.

Mary Bennett


Consensus 201 for Cooperative Groups Course


Deepen into your practice of consensus and bring your group into alignment around what matters most.

Duration: 5 Weeks (2+ hours/week)



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Need financial support to attend a course?

Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.