Consensus Building JHU School of Education
What is consensus building? • Led by an unbiased facilitator • All members contribute resources, ideas, and opinions • Everyone has a chance to share their feelings • Everyone can paraphrase the issue • Involves a longer time-frame • Compromise is reached • All share in the final decision
Rules for Consensus Decision-Making • Avoid arguing for your own position • Don’t assume someone must lose and someone must win at stalemate positions. Look for the next most acceptable alternative. • Don’t change your mind just to avoid conflict. • Avoid conflict-reducing techniques like majority vote, averages, coin toss, or bargaining. • Seek out differences of opinion. Robert Garmston, Facilitation Associates, 337 Guadalupe Drive, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762, 916-933-2727
Consensus means that every member can say… “I believe that you understand my point of view and that I understand yours.”“Whether or not I prefer the group decision, I support it because it was • Reached fairly and openly • The best decisions at this time.”
Consensus building does not mean that… • Someone loses and someone wins • The final decision is the first choice of everyone • A unanimous vote is attained • Everyone agrees • You change your mind just to avoid conflict
If consensus is not possible … • Look for the next most acceptable alternative. • As the administrator, you can make an executive decision.
Resources • A Vote for Consensus http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/example/shea6284.htm • Consensus Building http://www.nps.gov/phso/rtcatoolbox/dec_consensus.htm • Consensus Decision Making http://ellis.melton.com/meetings/Consensus.html