We at the Bike Church in Santa Cruz have yet to solidify a good process that sticks with the collective and is followed well.  We are working through some mediation now and I appreciate hearing about everyone else's experience-

The documents are great. thanks.


On Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 5:39 PM, momoko saunders <analyst@bikefarm.org> wrote:
Aw Jesse, you are a delight. Thank you for the documents. This is wonderfully concrete! 

Thank you all for you're thoughtful responses. 

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, Jesse Cooper <jessecooper0@gmail.com> wrote:
Hey Momoko!

 At Our Community Bikes we have a volunteer orientation evening twice a month, in which we engage prospective volunteers with concepts and practices of non oppressive language.
Most people aren't familiar with oppressive language and we try and education them on many different fronts that are basics in communication. However we can't cover every single nuance or facet that is hurtful or detrimental to some others. It's not always great, but we are always recommending that people acknowledge and be aware that this is an inclusive space.

Code of Conduct is pretty important and should be made clear before interacting with the space.
I think that an accountability agreement sounds like a great idea. A letter / waiver that they would have to read and sign off.
It's no guarantee against poor behaviour but it certainly would be a way of insuring that they take responsibilities for agreements on interactions.

We have a conflict resolution process for staff and volunteers, and members / customers / general public.

We had a middle aged white male volunteer who was golden for example, lots of great tech skills and super productive and helpful, but a young woman asks for instruction and he grabs the tool from her hand (?? gah!) (NO !)  and does the work barely explain his process to her ( Aw come on! that's not instructing !) and when he did, it was in condescending tone (way to uphold the patriarchy bro...   ).  

Regardless, an incident report is filed and staff act by assigning a "buddy" or "go to" person to be the mediator.

That man is approached on gentle and respectful terms, without negative language but that he need be aware we would like to discuss a situation. When he consents to this and has confirmed an appropriate time to be spoken with, we then sit privately and discuss the situation. He wouldn't be allowed to volunteer until the discussion comes from it.

Results can vary greatly. Each situation is as unique as a snowflake and prescribed recipes and procedures for con res only is used as a foundation or basic steps. 

If resolution cannot be found, we let go of the volunteer.

so anyhow, it's not as simple as I may be describing, it never is and is usually difficult, and drawn out. We intend to mitigate that and never let anything go on for long periods without some sort of closure. 
Even with the most frustrating and difficult situation, closure is really important. Bad rep with long term, selfless, generous volunteers isn't anything any of us want to carry. However, the person may be completely unreasonable and unable to dialogue. We would have to cross that bridge when we get to it.
Some times we just have to ask them to leave and drop it. It's the worst possible break up. But it happens.

 Warm thoughts of you ! and all my confidence that we are doing great work and being great people ! (unabashed hopefulness and optimism!)

This is from our STAFF manual. It isn't complete in a lot of ways

Conflict Resolution 

Rational Sources Of Conflict 

Generally stems from people operating with: 

-Different facts 

-Different experiences 

-Different values 

-Different assumptions 

-Different constraints 

When it becomes apparent to you that a conflict is emerging, these areas are a good place to start in figuring out how to resolve the difference. Check with the differing individuals to see if: Facts need to be clarified, Experiences need to be compared and sorted out, Values need to be aligned, Assumptions need to be aligned, Constraints need to be understood, words used need defining/clarification. 

Conflict deriving from these sources can generally be resolved with little difficulty, particularly if it is addressed as soon as it appears. 

In this source lie differences of mechanical technique/knowledge. We have agreed in the past that such differences can easily be resolved by referring to the Blue Book. Another rational source of conflict lies in differences of facts/assumptions regarding policy. This can be resolved by referring to the policy/procedure manual. Difference of values is a bit trickier but referring to the organizational mission statement may be useful. 

Emotional Sources Of Conflict 

Dinosaur Brains 

...[I]nside each human brain lurks the brain of a dinosaur -- irrational, emotional, easily enraged -- waiting to take control. . . . [H]umans don't always act like humans. One minute they're normal, rational people; the next, they're little better than reptiles. Trouble comes when they use the Reptile Response -- their primitive thinking patterns -- instead of the rational part of their brain. 

Instinctual response 

• Get it now! (Impulsive) 

• Fight, flee, or freeze (Threatened) 

• Be dominant (Competitive or controlling) 

• Defend the territory (Defensive) 

• Get the mate! (Sexually competitive) 

• If it hurts, hiss! (Complaining) 

• Like me, good; not like me, bad! (Intolerant) 

Sometimes--especially in stressful situations--a short-circuit occurs and people have difficulty re-channeling their response from their dinosaur brains to their reasonable brains, and to shift from instinctual, emotional behavior to thoughtful, rational behavior. It is important for us to understand and accept that everyone reacts from his or her dinosaur brains sometimes. Although it is easy for one dinosaur brain to bring forth other dinosaur brains (for one person's emotional reactions to stimulate others' emotional reactions), we must avoid the temptation to respond to impulsive, threatened, defensive, or other emotionally-based behavior in like emotional ways and to respond instead in rational ways. 


Approaching a conflict: 

Appropriate behavior 

-communicate that conflict is/has been present. 

-try talking when the conflict begins. 

-Use “I” statements both in talking to the person you are disagreeing with and your coworkers. 

Inappropriate behavior 

-ignoring that there has been a dispute (which is not the same as consciously trying to calm down and deal with the problem later) 

-verbal or physical violence 

-gossip or talking shit about the person you are in conflict with to staff or customers 

-trying to get people on “your side” 


Ground Rules 

What to try to do (if you're involved): 

-listen and be open to suggestions (even the ones that imply you have been wrong or have fucked up) 

-be solution centered 

-be concise and practice assertive communication 

-use I statements to define your needs 

-give reasons behind your thinking 

-remember it's ok to differ and all ideas should be treated with respect. Disagreement does not mean rejection. 

-restate what you are saying using different words/language when you feel that you're not being heard 

-take responsibility 

-be aware of non-verbal communication 

-think about your needs but do not ignore the needs of the collective. 

What Not To DO: 

-blame people (this leads to guilt, defensiveness, and alienation) 

-avoid addressing conflict (this impedes resolution) 

-resort to verbal or physical violence 

-Gossip (and if you do find yourself gossiping, ask yourself “why?”) 

-get people onto your “side” of the conflict 

-perpetuate or fall victim to groupthink which is a mode of group behavior in which ideas, even ideas which are not well thought through, may prevail despite the individual group members' ability to know the ideas are not useful, or worse, actually harmful to the group's goals. 

What to try to do (if you're not involved): 

-gently ask those involved to work out their differences 

-talk about it or let it go 

-express how the conflict is affecting you/your work environment/the group 

-ask the individuals involved to meet with you or another person who will act as a mediator 

-ask yourself or your coworkers how you can help the process 

What Not To Do (if you are not involved): 

Subcommittee 30 

When are they necessary? 

-Either when those involved feel that a subcommittee would be beneficial or when coworkers feel it to be necessary. 

Made up of: 

- at least 2 people (each person involved has a say as to who 1 of the people in the subcommittee is), others can volunteer. 


-must meet no more than 1 week after the issue is raised (what step!???) 

-to simplify and expedite the conflict resolution process 

-to support those involved in the process 

Roles may be: 

-Mediating meetings between the parties involved. 

-to identify or clarify problems 

-to figure out effective ways of communication between parties 

-to provide an objective perspective (as much as that is possible) on the situation 

-to communicate to the parties involved what the needs/desires of the collective are 

-to provide feedback on the conflict resolution process 

-Enforce repercussions, timelines and the like. When staff are asked for feedback a time line must be set, and must be quite short so that the process isn't put on hold. Repercussions for tardy responses must be established. 

On Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:28 PM, momoko saunders <analyst@bikefarm.org> wrote:

Accountability is a struggle for Bike Farm. As an all volunteer run
organization, it's difficult to chastise undesirable behaviour. Not
only is it hard to tell someone who is volunteering their time that
they did not do something right, but the negative feedback is not the
kind of environment we're trying to create.

Still, what happens when someone messes up. To say nothing is nearly
as detrimental. It erodes the quality of the service we provide, and
can lead to an unsafe working environment.

What do other collectives do? Do you have a accountability agreement?
Something along the lines of, "by volunteering here, I want to be held
accountable to the group in these ways..." or a grievance procedure?

How do you communicate about your issues?
any feed back would be greatly appreciated.


The ThinkTank mailing List
<a href="http://lists.bikecollectives.org/options.cgi/thethinktank-bikecollectives.org">Unsubscribe from this list</a>


The ThinkTank mailing List
<a href="http://lists.bikecollectives.org/options.cgi/thethinktank-bikecollectives.org">Unsubscribe from this list</a>