Meeting 1-5
Focus: Naming the Group, Guidelines and Time Commitment

The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.

Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.

5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting

By the time we reach this meeting we should have a good idea of who is committed and ready to do this work. We are no longer complete strangers to each other; we've taken some risks, and trust is beginning to develop. There may still be some uncertainty, but at least we are ready to give it a go. In this meeting we are to focus on some important 'group development' issues:-

  1. Time Commitment

    We've probably already established how often we're going to meet; now we need to decide, as a group, how long to meet for: 6 months? - a year? - no fixed end-date? What feels best - for you - as a group?

  2. Naming the Group

    This doesn't have to be a long drawn-out affair - just brain-storm a few ideas until you come up with something that everyone agrees on. Why is this important? - It helps to give the group its own 'life' or essence; it helps to give group members a sense of belonging, and a sense of being connected to something bigger than themselves. This in turn helps members to respect and honour group process -and may yet turn into pride at helping to create and be a part of a worthwhile project. It's like giving birth to something - it needs a name - just as any new-born infant does.

  3. Initial Guidelines

    In a previous meeting (1-3), the Initial Guidelines were introduced; some may have already been agreed upon. Now is the time to focus on those that are still outstanding. Even if you don't have a clear sense of their implications, it is still a good idea to come to some agreement on them, after all, the group can always go back and change them at a later date if it wants to. There may be little discussion, some guidelines may seem 'obvious' - common sense; or perhaps one item is contentious and will take more time than the rest - this is men's work too. (Meeting 3-1 has more information).

    Important Note:

    There is often a tendency to want to skip over this 'structural work', and move on into the 'real' stuff, our personal issues - we may even feel frustrated at times - always discussing how to do it rather than doing it. Unfortunately this is inevitable, but necessary work - we have to learn how to make a strong enough container before we can really 'cook'. Things may/will fly apart on us in the future and we'll find ourselves having to go back and strengthen the pot before we can continue on again. In fact, this may be the place my commitment is tested the most - am I willing to go back and do it all over again? Are they really willing to honestly renegotiate? Am I? What is my/their resistance about?

    As we conclude and reach our agreements, these should be written down on page 1-6, the Statement of Group Agreements.