Sunday, December 11, 2005

Roberta's Rules (5)

You should try establish a process that requires more than just a simple majority. In contrast, Robert's only requires a simple majority--50% plus one person. Why should you shoot for more? Well, because then people would be either winners or losers and the losers will make trouble. (That's it in a nutshell.) So you should use some soft skills and run things a little nicer.

Summary of types of majority

Anything higher than 75% is called concordance, or a substantial majority.
Fifty-one to 66% is also in the supermajority range.
Fifty percent plus one person is just a simple majority.

She gives a clock graphic to illustrate this concept.

A useful update is the discussion on the meaning of a quorum. She makes the point that the whole concept's an historical one; that in the old days communication wasn't good enough to vote from a distance. So I'm going to infer that if you're setting up your governance policies in accordance with this book, that you'd make provisions for email-, fax- or telephone-based voting.

Says you should use nonbinding straw-polling to get a feel of where people stand on the issues. Then, if you see an issue is clearly going one way or another, you can either pass it right away, kill it, or send it back to the drawing table. Good way to save time. She gives some really useful tables that include not only how to get a handle on straw polling, but also example language the board chair can use to administer these proceedings (excellent resource for board training).