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How do we make decisions?

This occasionally comes up in the community — people are curious how a group of people sharing a body can come to any decisions. Is there a process that works for many?

There are decisions that we can't be bothered to hold a meeting about.Folk ask "When do you hold a meeting?" or "What kinds of things that go on in life require having a meeting?"

This will change for each system, and likely change over time. When you start making decisions, and trust is low, the answer will be different from when folk start to have more clear roles and folk trust one another.

So you might go through a period where there's a meeting over nearly everything… but eventually the goal is to back off of extreme micromanagement of the multiple system & decisions we need to make as a group.

Example: Our wardrobe is limited — there's like nothing in there we will be completely offended if we put it on (I think). So who gets dressed or whose favorite tee shirt we wear is up to front. We have agreements about any restrictions, but within those restrictions it doesn't matter as much. So if we have a special event, we might take the time to discuss what to wear or who should be in charge of what we wear. Otherwise, we don't much care.

But that's us. Your system may be much more concerned about this topic. And that's OK. But do expect that these are things that may change over time.

We have a standing agreement about how to answer the phone. Front can take care of that.

When it comes to like moderate decisions, we'll usually do like the the ping poll — it's very quick. Or just a quick shout-out "Hey, anyone see a problem with this?" We don't necessarily need to get to all the people in the back because if there's a glaring issue the people nearby will usually be like "That's not a good idea!" A quick like show of hands.

Anything really big usually isn't immediate or urgent. If it's that big we would go to a full forum, an all-hands meeting, etc. We may even spin off sub-committees to research & debate the issue and bring a recommendation back to the general assembly. Like where to move, a job we might take, or a big money purchase. Our name change has been a 30-year debate. It wasn't urgent, but it's very important.

Some immediate important things are left to those closest to front — usually several system officers & crew. We may switch to handle a crisis, and we'd fall back on emergency or crisis plans we've already made. These are sometimes in our system agreements, and some are in our system's crisis plan.

We talk a lot more about how to start to come to system agreements in the United Front Boot Camp.

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