In the previous two articles I talked about why it is important to have a charter and the reason to define values.  The next step is probably the trickiest because it is the hardest obstacle to navigate.  Without a solid method of making group decisions your mutual assistance group will quickly be mired in conflict and will become stagnant.  It is time to check your ego and help the team move forward.

There are really three leadership methods that can be used for building your group: autocratic, council team, and democratic.  With many groups it is best to use all three of them for varying situations and purposes.  I believe there needs to be a designated leader that is agreed upon by the group, but there also needs to be a mechanism to encourage participation from the rest of the members.

Here is how our group’s decision-making process is defined.

  • Leadership: Leadership is by committee with the property owner being the tie breaking vote for any issues that are evenly split. All members will be given the courtesy and due process to voice their side of an argument even if it is dissenting.  All members agree to accept the vote as it stands and move forward, regardless of opposition.  Once membership increases the leadership dynamics can then be further addressed.
  • Executive Council: Consists of the founding members of the group. All strategic decisions must be brought to the table with a 3/4 majority voting structure.  The property owner is the tie breaking vote.

The reasoning behind our method is that we want to encourage group participation while also having a system in place to move the ball forward.  We value everyone’s opinion, but humans are humans and decision making can quickly splinter groups into factions and disrupt what it is we are trying to do.  The goal is to have a method to bring an issue forward, discuss, decide, and then move on.


Crusoe is retired from the Air Force after 30-years of service as a flight crew member.  He spends most of his time thinking about the apocalypse and how to mitigate its effects.  When not immersed in academic pursuits, he is often on a trail hiking in the mountains of North Georgia or reading with a glass of Irish whiskey and a German Shepherd by his side.   Global travel enthusiast, history nerd, Appalachian Trail thru hiker, and recovering ultra-endurance athlete.  He can be reached at [email protected]