Consensus Model for Large Groups
This page is paraphrased with permission from Jack Reed’s book, The Next Evolution, and is the large-scale consensus model that we intend to utilize for conducting consensus as our group grows to 200+ people. With this in mind, the main philosophy of the One Community commitment to consensus, and arguably the meaning of consensus, is operating for The Highest Good of All Concerned.
12 FOCUS AREAS :: The 12 areas that describe how the Community works
In Jack’s work with the consensus process and Community training to reach a consensus, he has come to see that 12 is the magic number for consensus meetings. More than that and he has seen things become exponentially more difficult. Hence 12 is a number that permeates his model for large group consensus making. Here are the 12 focus areas that cover all foundational aspects of how a Community operates.
1) How do we share our abundance?
2) How do we interact with our environment?
3) How do we reach a consensus?
4) How do we beautify our environment?
5) How do we enjoy ourselves?
6) How do we enrich ourselves?
7) How do we coordinate what we live to do?
8) How do we nourish ourselves?
9) How do we vitalize ourselves.?
10) How do we communicate?
11) How do we bring forth inner wisdom?
12) How do we expand our Community?
Each person would belong to one of these Focus Groups, delineated by their area of contribution to the Community. The team that coordinates and organizes the decision making process itself is #3 above. To allow for the consensus process with large groups providing input for all of these areas, these smaller groups are organized for initial discussion of issues in a 12-person collaborative format. These 12-person groups are called Essence Hubs and Focus Hubs (one for each area above) where consensus is achieved before sending representatives to meet together as a Main Hub and Management Forum. Every member of the community belongs to both an Essence Hub and a Focus Hub.
The Main Hub and Management Forum is comprised 100% of representatives of the Essence Hubs and Focus Hubs respectively, and they meet to combine and collaborate on the ideas reached by consensus of each of their respective Essence and Focus Hubs. Non-representative members of the Essence and Focus Hubs then continue to participate by communicating with their representative, through the use of technology, as the conversation continues to achieve consensus of the complete group.
It is important to note that the ability and consciousness necessary to effectively do consensus is so much more than just meeting-skill tools and consensus protocol and techniques. Consensus, at it’s core is about creating safety in communication, it’s about Loving, it’s about realizing our collective oneness and having a maturity of consciousness to look beyond our own perspective and care about the highest good of ALL. So often, when we are not in consensus, it often is less about the issues than it is about unresolved issues within the group and within one’s own self. By creating the atmosphere of safety, we can explore and resolve those issues both within ourselves and with others. The consensus training One Community offers is unique in that respect and in its depth with learning the overall process.
See also the “How do We Reach Consensus” Page
- Deal with Community essence issues and the generalities of the working of the Community.
- Each resident belongs to one of these small decision making groups
- Must contain a diversity of Focus hub members (so that no Essence hub becomes polarized)
MAIN ESSENCE HUB
- One resident from each of the Essence Hubs participates in the Main Hub on a rotating basis.
- Deal with the specific details of how to implement the vision and direction of the Essence Hubs (through the Main Hub).
- Are support/coordination groups for accomplishing the work within the Community.
- Each resident belongs to at least one of these hubs.
- There is at least one hub for each of the twelve focus areas.
- These Focus Hubs make up the entire working structure of the Community.
- Representatives from the twelve focus areas make up this group.
COORDINATING IT ALL AS LARGE-SCALE CONSENSUS MODEL
- Community decisions are coordinated at the Main Hub Essence Hubs
- The ideas, questions, and suggestions the Community considers can be generated by either the Main Hub or the Essence Hubs. The information exchange and decision making is therefore a two-way process. (As opposed to decisions coming down from the top.)
- Community/social consensus is reached by unanimous agreement of the Main Hub members after those members have received the unanimous agreement of their own Essence Hubs.
- To aid the Community in uniting for consensus, a communication system is available which allows anyone in the Community to address the Main Hub while simultaneously the proceedings of the Main Hub can be shown to all the Essence Hubs.
- When the Main Hub meets to make decisions that concern all residents, the Essence Hubs meet at the same time. Through the use of technology, each Essence Hub is able to communicate with their Main Hub representative, and each person also has the capability to address the whole Community, if needed.
- Main Hub has the final say on all decisions.
- Management Forum coordinates the efforts of the twelve Focus Hubs in implementing the Community plans and activities.
- Management Forum and the Focus Hubs work under the direction, guidelines, and budget passed by the Main Hub.
BIG PICTURE DECISION MAKING PROCESS
- Management Forum proposes and presents an Annual Vision to the Main Hub.
- The Annual Vision can also come from the Essence Hubs. “Annual Vision Time” starts a week-long conference/event where everyone gives input through their hubs. (Sounds like fun, sort of like a party with a purpose.)
- The Management Forum works on the practicality of the Vision.
- Main Hub decides upon an Annual Vision to establish a direction and budget for the year(s) to follow.
- The Main Hub may change the vision/budget at any time when the conditions warrant.
THE HUB GROUP MEETING FORMAT FOR SUPPORT
- Create a harmonious atmosphere at the start of each meeting by doing a centering process and having a time for personal sharing so each person is heard and supported
- Give everyone the experience of being listened to and understood.
CHECKS AND BALANCES
- Decisions are unanimous
- Each resident is a member of both an Essence Hub and at least one Focus Hub so there is a duality of perspectives.
- There is an Annual Vision and Budget with allocations to each focus area.
- The Management Forum reports to the Main Hub on a regular basis and a monthly financial statement goes out to everyone.
- All transactional and meeting notes are Community accessible on computer or other media
- An accountant(s) (in the “Consensus” Hub) monitors the Community expenditures.
- Budgets may include one-time (one check, one item, and/or one payee) spending limits above which one must get approval from the Main Hub.
- Leadership is rotated in all hubs
CONSENSUS DISPUTE RESOLUTION FORMAT
- Win/Win resolutions are encouraged.
- Personal responsibility is encouraged by looking within first with the consciousness that we create, promote or allow everything that happens to us. (Taking personal accountability for our lives.)
- If clarity is still needed between the parties involved, the disputes are settled by the following flexible options, always bringing in loving and creativity: a. Between the parties involved, b. With an agreed upon third party, c. Within the hub(s), d. By the Main Hub. This system is flexible with each situation, and the parties involved can choose the options.
- Immediate situations (something requiring action within 24 hours, or until an emergency committee can be formed (whichever is less):
- The Main Hub chairperson calls the Management Forum chairperson, and they gather the expertise they need to deal with the situation.
- Other Emergencies: * Main Hub chairperson declares an emergency and: ** Notifies residents of the situation. ** Calls an emergency committee (rotating Main Hub representatives on a predetermined rotation basis).
- Emergency committee then finds short term solution(s).
- Short-term solutions are actions to be taken, within a one week period, necessary to maintain the health and welfare of the Community.
- The committee recommends long-term solutions to the Main Hub.
- The committee’s authority ends upon resolution of the emergency by the Main Hub.
- Main Hub or Management Forum may, by a simple majority, override the decision that there is an emergency. (This is not an exception to the process of unifying for consensus, but rather it prevents immediate action on the part of a person(s) who has been acting without consensus process in perceived emergency.)
- There are designated successors in case people for either the “Immediate” or “other” emergencies are not available.
- There are set maximums of money that can be spent for each type of emergency
- The committee’s authority extends to the short-term solution, and they will make a full report of procedures, expenses, etc. to the next Main Hub meeting.