Thursday, December 08, 2005

Roberta's Rules (4)

Okay, back the grindstone of that essential foundational critical thinger (and exciting, too!) which is governance policy. Chapter four of the book is called "Testing the current before heading for concensus." Remember the sailing ship metaphor? Still in effect.

Seriously, though, I have to say that in studying up on this book, I really get into it more and more. What the author does is to really codify a lot of common sense. I used to kind of think that people who codified common sense were kind of traitors in a way, but I am finding that as I get old (what's that, sonny??) I respect being able to think clearly and articulate processes a lot more than I used to. And that this book ought to belong on a lot more people's bookshelves than it probably is. End tangent.

The author has this little matrix thingy which is useful. It's called the "complexity-controversy" matrix which is a fun little app you can use to determine readily whether an issue's going to be sticky or not, and then what to do about it (a for example of why this is useful would be the very practical 'how long to give it on the agenda consideration).

The point behind all this is to determine whether it's worthwhile to try and reach "concensus" which I infer would be her ideal. She uses the examples of Quakers and other religious communities who believe in the practice. She sees voting as mostly hitting a nail in with a sledgehammer, but allows as how it can certainly be necessary if it's high on the controversy-complexity scale.

[ed. The notation (x), where (x) is an integer equal to the book's chapter number shall henceforth be used. ]