Team Facilitation and Conflict Management: getting started

Hi Team @reef-facilitation and conflict management!

I’m heading off to New Zealand on the 15th, which is the end of next week. It would be great if we could have a meeting before then, just to connect as a group and think about what we can do over the summer to move forward. Obviously there are already items on the to-do list, and it shouldn’t be too hard to divide them amongst us, but perhaps I am not alone in wanting to be clearer about exactly what they involve.

It makes sense to have our meetings online, in terms of all our busy lives, but I would be quite happy to have the first meeting in person. It could be at my place, although St Guidon is perhaps not the most central for everyone. It could also be in a cafe or bar if that is more convenient. Having said all that, I’m not attached to meeting in person if everyone would rather do it over Zoom :slight_smile:

So however we meet, I can be free any time from Sunday to Thursday. I see that some of the other Teams have started an Excel sheet for meeting availability, and maybe that’s something we can discuss setting up, or an alternative method, during the first meeting :slight_smile:

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Thanks a lot for that @ChrisM!

Here’s a post with my view on what is the most urgent in the next months.

1. Facilitation

1.1. Objective

The objective for this Team is as simple as it is complicated: we need a couple of trained facilitators who can ensure equivalence (everybody gets heard) and efficiency / effictiveness (moving forward) during the plenary meetings. Getting this right will make a fundamental difference for the success of The Reef.

The way I picture it is that there would be 3-4 people who can take turns and facilitate plenary meetings either alone either as a tandem.

In an ideal situation 1 or 2 people would be / feel ready by 1 September, so that they can facilitate the next plenary meeting. If not, I can do it one more time if need be.

1.2. How to get there

Initially my idea was to invite a professional trainer to our first plenary meetings (e.g. Collectiv-a or others, I have a list if need be), but then I participated in this facilitation training organised by (SoFA) and I figured that this may be cheaper and more effective.

Happy to leave this to the Team, but my recommendation would be to start with the materials from SoFA. These include:

  • The training materials (recording + slide deck) of the 2x 3 hour facilitation training that I followed lately (see Nextcloud > Learning, training, knowledge > Training courses)
  • Chapter 5.5 in the book “Many voices one song” (see Nextcloud > Learning, … > Books and manuals)
  • Other SoFA materials to get acquainted with Sociocracy: the rest of the book, some of their trainings, their website, …

Note: there is a proposal in the pipeline that would make it possible to recover some of the money you pay for your training courses.

And then maybe once everybody has a basis, we could get together and trouble-shoot and learn from each other together?

1.3. The tasks on the to do list

None of the tasks are very urgent. Many of them originate from the early days of The Reef when we hadn’t found out about sociocracy yet.

Here’s a quick explanation about some of them:

  • Task 22 - a manual for facilitators: this is maybe the most important one, even though not super urgent. The example I have in mind is what I have seen from Heartwood Cohousing, who have made a manual that is useful for facilitation in the Teams too.
  • Task 28 - hand gestures: if we want to introduce some handgestures for nonverbal communication (e.g. waving hands to flag you agree), it would be for Team Facilitation to come up with a proposal on this. An example of what this could look like can be found in the Working Methods document. > Annex 2
  • Task 29 - coloured cards: same as above. This is taken from the Earthsong manual, who use consensus-based decision-making instead of consent. Nevertheless I feel that having a set of coloured cards for people to flag “I have a question” or “I have an answer to that” may facilate our rounds?
  • Task 30 - a communication agreement: this too is taken from Earthsong Cohousing. The idea is that nonviolent communication is useful, but it requires energy and the mental space to do it. The communication agreement is a compliment to that, by making 6-8 simple suggestions that are easy to remember. E.g. “I will speak for myself, not others” or “I will speak succinctly”. See Working Methods document > Annex 1.

These are just some first ideas of course. Maybe we could do a round at the first meeting to see what else you would want to explore?

2. Conflict management

2.1. Objective

The objective of Team Conflict Management is both to prevent conflict as to manage things when things go wrong.

2.2. Tasks

One of the more urgent tasks for this Team is task no 64 on Section 6 of the Governance document (internal link). The question here is very simple: can you work with this text, or would you like to revise it?

Another task (not yet on the list) where the input from Team Conflict Management would be highly appreciated is the process that we need to define for accepting members. What do we do if someone blocks consensus on somebody else’s membership?

The other tasks on the list we can probably explore in a round and see whether you think they are useful. Restorative practices seems like something that could be of interest? Likewise I thought that it could be useful to define The Reef’s values and interpersonal commitments like it was done in Heartwoord Cohousing, but only if there is an appetite of course.

3. The next meeting

From what I understand the meeting can be planned starting a bit after 21/08, when Chris and Ralf are back from holidays. Laurianne I see is not available on 27-28/08. Would somebody be willing to fix a date and a time for the first meeting?

4. Resources

See the “Books and manuals” folder on Nextcloud (or welcome to borrow my copies):

  • Many voices one song" - Jerry Koch-Gonzalez and Ted Rau
  • Nonviolent communication - Marshall Rosenberg
  • The empowerment manual - Starhawk

During on of my cohousing classes, the teacher recommended we watch the TED-talk “The third side” by Willam Ury. It’s about how a community can help individuals solve their differences and prevent it polarises the entire group. I also have a copy of the book.

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Thanks Lee!

This has been a classic case of me starting a conversation and then immediately running out of time to give it any more attention :-/ At some point while I’m away I’m going to have a proper look at all of the above and respond appropriately…


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Okay, that sounds like a proper mission!
Let’s study then and let’s have a meeting… On Tuesday, the 23rd of September at 8pm?

NB : I (almost randomly) started a new job last week and ended up in a structure based on sociocracy.

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@ThomasMaertens and @ChrisM, does 23/08 at 8 pm work for you?

Hello. 23/08 works for me.

But Laurianne talks about 23/09.

So which one is it :slight_smile: ?

23 September is a bit late, so I’m assuming it’s a mistake. It may be a bit too early for @ChrisM though, so let’s wait for his confirmation.

Yes, my bad, 23/8! Online, right?

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Update : I’d rather do the meeting online if on the 23/8. Available in Brussels on the 27/8 in the end.

Ok, so I put in the calendar for the time being. Let’s see whether it still works when we get closer to the date.

Hi all… sorry for the late input to this! I’m available 23/8 at 8pm for an online meeting :slight_smile:

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