“The areas of consensus shift unbelievably fast; the bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding.” – Rem Koolhaas
“Consensus doesn’t happen by magic… You have to drive to it.” – Christine Quinn
I live in a consensus-driven cohousing community. I thought it would be the death of me to sit through hours long meetings after having such experiences at non-profit meetings over the years. Quite the contrary, I am gaining invaluable skills to evaluate topics in a timely manner while being held to codes of clear communication. I am now aware of the vital need for competent facilitation in the process so that the spectrum of voices are heard, and that we remain mindful to the ways that our thoughts leave us feeling at the end of the discussion.
On Sunday, I attended the monthly general meeting for our community. There were a couple of community issues which had been addressed by a sub-group or “task force”, and their discussions and works were being brought back to the community. It was a packed agenda, and we hold ourselves accountable to the three-hour time limit set on the meetings. It is interesting to me how people can have a strong emotional reaction to even the most practical of matters. It is also very intriguing to me that we are never given an opportunity to weigh in on our emotional responses to decisions being made around us all the time.
So why isn’t consensus decision-making embraced in more avenues of our lives?