How to Achieve Consensus

Achieving consensus is not about winning or losing, but rather finding a solution everyone can live with. Get together with your team and form a meeting of the minds.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Encourage the expression of differences of opinion. The more ideas that end up on the table, the better the chance you'll reach an outcome that everyone can live with.
  • Step 2: Work through the points of disagreement and use all of the information that is presented in the discussions to achieve a solution that satisfies everybody, but very likely makes no one 100 percent happy. That's just the nature of consensus!
  • FACT: Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2010 National League Cy Young award by unanimous vote.
  • Step 3: Do not try to avoid conflict by calling for a majority vote, averaging, tossing a coin, or bargaining. Don't trade favors by agreeing to support the positions of others if they will support your position later on.
  • Step 4: Do not abandon your agenda just to achieve harmony with the group. If you abandon your position, make sure that it is because there are logical reasons for doing so.
  • Step 5: Remember that achieving consensus is not a zero-sum game involving winners and losers. Look for alternatives that are acceptable to everybody.
  • TIP: Be creative as you explore new workarounds to disagreements.
  • Step 6: Make sure that everyone on the team is heard. Present your position and listen to feedback from other team members. Let them present their positions.

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