Friday, August 19, 2022

The Gift of Good Process—All Delivered Before Xmas Morning

I'll be conducting a variety of courses from now through the end of the year, and I'm laying them out here—both because one or more may interest you, or people you know (and I'd be pleased to have your help banging the drum).

I. Facilitation Training

This is my signature two-year course, which I've been doing since 2003 and have delivered 15 times, reaching about 175 students. It will be conducted via Zoom (which I've experimented with the last two years and feel solid about, based on having conducted 15 training weekends and facilitated multiple group meetings via that medium).

The class meets for eight 3-day weekends (from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon), spaced approximately three months apart. No prior facilitation experience is required—you just need a positive attitude, an open mind, and a reliable modem. In addition to teaching the basics, the course will cover considerable nuance about group dynamics in a cooperative setting—all of which applies just as well to leadership in cooperative culture.

In addition to receiving approximately 50 handouts, there will be a principal teaching theme for each weekend:

• Working Content
• Formats
• Conflict
• Consensus
• Power & Leadership
• Organizational Structure
• Delegation 
• Challenging Personalities

Half of each weekend is devoted to preparing for, delivering, and debriefing live meetings facilitated by students—as it's my belief that lessons are better grounded when facing live ammunition. The trainers (there will be three of us) will hold your hand throughout and be a safety net as you learn to fly.

Most students come affiliated with an intentional community, but that isn't a requirement, so long as you understand we are teaching you to operate collaboratively and inclusively.

While I am open to students from any situation and with any background, I want to make you aware of the potential this training provides when multiple people participate from the same group—it is much easier to digest and bring home the learnings when you have buddies, and much more possible to shift the culture and practices of your group when the inspiration comes from more than one voice. The benefits are geometric (that is, your group gets four times the boost when you double the number of students).

This is the most fun thing I do, passing along what I've distilled from four decades in the field. At a minimum, this course will make you a better facilitator or help you understand better what good facilitation is. At its best, it will change your life.

The new course is penciled in as follows:

Weekend I          Sept 22-25, 2022
Weekend II         Jan 12-15, 2023
Weekend III        Mar 30-April 2, 2023
Weekend IV       June 22-25, 2023
Weekend V        Sept 7-10, 2023
Weekend VI       Dec 7-10, 2023
Weekend VII      Mar 7-10, 2024
Weekend VIII     June 6-9, 2024

There is still room in this course for more students (we accept a maximum of 18). If we don't reach critical mass (12 students is the minimum) by next month, we'll postpone the start until January, bump back all the weekends and add a new date for Weekend VIII.

The cost is $450/weekend for full students (discounts are available if you pay up front) and $300/weekend for auditors. While both full students and auditors are welcome in all classroom sessions, only full students get to facilitate live meetings during class weekends, and receive detailed written comments about their facilitation. 

If you have questions or want additional details reach me via email:

II. National Cohousing Conference • Aug 25-28 • Madison WI

Coming right up (next week!), I'll be traveling for work for the first time since March 2000—ending a drought of 29 months. (I used to travel once a month for work—my how times have changed.)

—Aug 25 (Thursday) • I am teaching an all-day (6-hour) intensive styled Consensus 301, aimed at helping groups who are struggling with consensus, to better understand how they might untangle and be get better results. I have been working with secular consensus for 45 years and have a deep understanding of both the problems and potential solutions. In six hours there will be plenty of time to get responses to individual questions.

Click here for details and the possibility of a one-day pass for this offering alone. I believe you can participate either in-person (best) or via Zoom (next best).

—Aug 27 (Sat) • I am offering a 90-min workshop entitled Consensus 101 (9-10:30 am), covering the basics of what you'll need to get off to the right start.

—Aug 27 (Sat) • I am offering a 90-min workshop entitled Participation (1:30-3 pm), unpacking the morass of issues that arise around non-monetary member contributions to the maintenance and well-being of the community. This topic is the single most requested that clients ask me to help with, because of its complexity. I'll lay out the key questions groups need to address in order to clear the fog.

Again, you'll have the choice of registering for just the workshops, or the whole megillah. Click here for your options.

III. FIC Webinars

Continuing an ambitious program of 10-hour online courses sponsored by the Foundation of Intentional Community, all of which have been offered once already this year, here are the ones being repeated in the months ahead. Each course will be comprised of 2-hour Zoom sessions, held at the same time of day and on the same day of the week for five consecutive weeks. For details and registration for each course, please click on the titles, which are hyperlinked to FIC.

Facilitation (Tuesdays) • Sept 13-Oct 11

Consensus 101 (Thursdays) • Sept 15-Oct 13

Conflict (Tuesdays) • Oct 25-Nov 22

Aging Gracefully in Community (Wednesdays) • Oct 26-Nov 23 (for this course only, I am part of a team of presenters, and I am only leading the first session)

Membership (Thursdays) • Oct 27-Nov 23 (note that the last class will held on Wed, to avoid Thanksgiving—the rest will be on Thursdays)

In addition to the main entrées listed above, here are a couple of 1-hour appetizers offered free of charge:

Facilitating Your Group Through Anything • Aug 23 • 2:30-3:30 pm Eastern

In this session I'll walk through how to handle the nasty stuff: topics that are complex and/or volatile. This is a teaser for the 10-hour Facilitation course listed above.

Understanding How Consensus Works in Cooperative Groups • Aug 23 • 6-7 pm Eastern

The key focus here will be on essential communication skills needed to make consensus sing. This is a teaser for the 10-hour Consensus 101 course listed above.

I hope to see some of your smiling faces soon.

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