RE: Consensus-A Time To Rethink
From: TomMOENCH (
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 95 10:10 CST
Rob Sandelin writes <In order for consensus to function everyone in the group
has to agree  that the good or the mission of the group is more important
than their  own personal agenda. There has to be a commitment to the group.
   Consensus blocking is only reasonable , in my opinion, if the blocker
 fully believes that the proposed course of action is not in the best
 interests of the group.  When someone blocks because it is not in the  best
interests of the group, it is usually pretty easy to figure out a solution by
just asking, why does this course not serve the best  interests of the

Thank you, Rob.  You summed up succinctly the the foundation of consensus.
 AND you gave me an important question I have been looking for, "Why doe this
proposed course of action not serve the best interests of the group?"

Rob writes < is in the best interests of any group to clearly 
define what consensus means, how you will know you have it, and what 
types of decisions it should be applied to and not applied to.  It is 
better to be flexible about decision making to fit the right kind of 
decision making to the right sort of decision than trying to make all 
sizes of decisions fit a single model.>

I agreed, it is through this dialogue that I hope to learn deeper nuances of
what consensus is, how it relates to consensus decision making, and how to
build it better and share what I know and question. 

Building on Rob's ideas I share some key points about consensus and consensus
building for your reflection:
1.  The process assures that each individual has the opportunity to speak and
be heard.  
2.  There is a procedure through which an individual can indicate to the
group that he/she does not feel heard (e.g., facilitator check, the orange
card in The Colors of Clarification).  
3.  The process of "standing aside" be used to express and acknowledge
INDIVIDUAL concerns rather than blocking
4.  Has some criteria as to which circumstances warrant a consensus decision.
5.  Consensus delegation to an individual or smaller group to act is
6.  Having the opportunity to participate does not mean that everyone must
participate and if they don't avail them of the opportunity then they are
obligated to trust and support the group as if they had--the tough one.

More to come.

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