by Peter L.
Yesterday, at our condo association's monthly plenary meeting, we presented and decided on probably the most challenging policy for a neighborhood to agree on: our pet policy. And we did this not via a traditional vote, but via consensus.
What is consensus? It's what it sounds like: everyone agrees. Any individual can block the proposal.
And why would a homeowners association or condo association want to do this when a vote would be much simpler and quicker? The reason: we value Relationships over Winning.
So much of our society is about winning. This is sometimes at the expense of the relationship between people. In a regular vote, someone wins and someone loses. In a consensus decision, all sides have a chance to be heard.
By listening to everyone's positions and needs, consensus decision-making usually results in better decisions. Maybe a third way is discovered, not considered at first, that at least satisfies everyone. In the very least, those that don't get their way had a chance to be heard.
At Emerson Commons, like at its mentor community Shadowlake Village, there is admittedly an 85% vote fallback. But the consensus process works so well that this is very rarely used. In the past 15 years at Shadowlake, it has maybe been exercised maybe twice.
I'm so proud of Emerson Commons for being able to pass this difficult proposal and without tears. We passed the consensus litmus test.