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The Planning Commission at Work

Strengthening Your Group Process Skills

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Increasingly, planning commissions are turning to work sessions to deal with issues that cannot be accommodated during regular business meetings.

It has been my special privilege to conduct planning commission training workshops in fourteen states besides Virginia over the past eighteen months. From Alaska to Florida, the experience has reaffirmed a premise I have long held, namely, the vast majority of people serving on local planning commissions are good for nothing people! That's right, they are good people who willingly serve their communities in exchange for little or no compensation! Planning commissioners are givers. A dedicated and focused planning commission is a powerful force. Rather than waiting for the future to happen, a good planning commission works to shape it.

The opportunity to develop strategies to deal with long-range planning issues, however, requires time and focused energy. Increasingly, planning commissions are turning to work sessions to deal with issues that cannot be accommodated during regular business meetings. In doing so, a growing number of commissions are also employing group process methods to help focus and guide their work. This article will give you an overview of some of the principal group process techniques being used. ...

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