On Consensus & Concepts of Consensus
From: Sharon Villines (SharonVillinesprodigy.net)
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 09:58:11 -0600
I have found it helpful in discussion with groups confronting a difficult
consensus decision to think of a consensus decision as a two stage
decision--first, what do I want or think is best, and second, given what I want
or think and what everyone else wants or thinks, what is best. Some people think
consensus means they will always get their way--that consensus means they never
lose. Or that there is no such thing as losing.

I was once in a meeting forming a cooperative school where 25 well-educated,
professional, mostly white parents who thought one course of action was best and
one person, a very young, black, smart but inarticulate welfare mother, refused
to go along. After several hours of discussion, the group decided to "sleep on
it" and reconvene the next night. The next night the young woman said she would
go along but still didn't think it was a good idea. By then all 25 of the other
parents had decided she was right in the first place. They had been advocating a
"politically correct" but wrong move.

Sharon Villines in Manhattan and looking elsewhere
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