Consensus: Tap into a powerful decision-making tool

By Joan Richardson

The meeting ended and the participants headed home, most of them believing they had reached consensus on the issue.


Defining consensus

This process enables group members to clarify their understanding of a vague concept. It also encourages group members to work together before they deal with a decision they must make. In addition, the activity helps strengthen the relationships within the group before they make consensus decisions.


Deciding how to decide

This activity will help your group become aware of various decisionmaking methods and will help participants select the methods best suited for the decisions they will make as a team. It is helpful for the group to reach consensus on the appropriate decision-making methods they will use. However, if consensus is difficult at this stage in your team’s development, a simple majority vote can be used. You can repeat this activity as your team matures.


Decision-making thermometer

Examine the various decision-making approaches in relation to the following criteria. Use this information to determine which method best fits the decision needed in each situation.

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