Consensus Decision Making
Concensus decision making is one important way of making decisions. It is important in the context of Team Decision Making.
When we say we have a consensus decision we mean that all parties involved in the decision making process have had an opportunity to participate freely in the process and voluntarily decided to go along with the decision and support it..
This does not mean that it was the preference of all the parties. It might even mean that you, as one of the decision-makers, have some misgivings about the decision but have decided that as most of the group prefer it, you will go along with the group.
It would not be a consensus decision if you have serious concerns but the group is not willing to listen to them and consider them seriously.
A clear response can be made only if a clear proposal has been made. So discussion should proceed until a clear proposal can be made - if it's a major issue it's preferable to be in writing.
Response to a Proposal:
Responses can be categorised on a one-six scale:
- I can say an unqualified "yes" to the decision. I will support the decision.
- I find the decision perfectly acceptable; perhaps some minor concerns. I will support the decision.
- I can live with the decision. I'm not especially enthusiastic about it, but I will support the decision.
- I do not fully agree with the decision and I need to register my view about it. However, I do not choose to block the decision. I am willing to support it because I trust the wisdom of the group.
- I cannot support the decision at this time and ask for further explanation and discussion.
- I cannot support the decision and ask that a special meeting be called to work on meeting the need or solving the problem in some other way.