Consensus decision-making is vital to the effectiveness of mission networks and partnerships.
However, many of us who serve as network leaders struggle to build genuine consensus in our networks, partnerships, or working groups. The reason is that consensus decision-making processes are very different from the top-down decision-making processes most of us know from our own organizations.
Many people mistakenly assume that consensus means unanimous, 100% agreement. Because it can be difficult to get 100% agreement, people often default to a more top-down approach. But consensus decisions do not necessarily mean unanimity. There are many different ways to arrive at consensus.
An excellent resource for learning about consensus
Consensus Decision Making (consensusdecisionmaking.org) by Tim Hartnett is an excellent web resource to help network leaders learn more about consensus building and how to use consensus decision-making in their groups.
The Consensus Decision Making website provides free articles, videos, booklists, and more on consensus based decision-making processes.
Three benefits of consensus decision-making
Hartnett explains that learning how to build strong consensus can lead to three positive outcomes:
- Better Decisions – By including the input of all stakeholders, the resulting proposals can best address all potential concerns.
- Better Implementation – A process that includes and respects all parties, and generates as much agreement as possible sets the stage for greater cooperation in implementing the resulting decisions.
- Better Group Relationships – A cooperative, collaborative group atmosphere fosters greater group cohesion and interpersonal connection.
Check out the Consensus Decision Making site and let us know what you think in the comments below.