Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Consensus Fail

After they had finished burning cars and smashing in shop windows during the riots over a Tesco opening near Stokes Croft Bristol last year, the locals decided to fight back in a more peaceful way and set up a rival - The Bristol People's Supermarket:

This community-owned supermarket will support people at every stage of the supply chain, offering a fair deal for everyone by selling good quality local and fairtrade produce at realistic prices.

Sounds great and hard to disagree with anything there. I wonder how this all works then?

Unleashing the collective genius: authentic self leadership
We believe that people are much more likely to contribute their gifts and talents if they feel a sense of ownership and control and that they are growing and developing through their invovlement in a project. Therefore we have developed a flat structure where no one person is in charge and at present no-one is paid. As far as possible we use consensus decision-making – but only where pragmatic and practical. We are working hard to not throw the baby out with the bath water in our move away from a hierarchical model of working. It is truly amazing to witness the creative genius being unleashed through this equinaminous way of working. Everyone involved is stepping up to be an authentic self-leader, neither waiting to be led, nor striving to dominate. Big Society, pah, real society is where we’re at!

Oh. Fuck. No. But wait - bad news:

Setting up any kind of business requires a clear formula, a unique selling point in the community, and dedicated leaders to enact it. After a frank discussion we decided that Bristol People’s Supermarket has none of these.

Yep, it's closed, in fact it only ever opened twice in the form of a market stall, demonstrating perfectly that consensus decision-making wastes everyone's time and gets fuck all done.

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