This tool is to assist teams in consensus decision making.

Objective. Consensus decision making requires discussing an issue until all agree to accept it. Acceptance does not mean that the decision is the member’s favorite alternative; it means the member is willing to accept and support the decision. Learning consensus decision making is an important skill for a team.

Activity. Form a group and have it develop consensus answers to the following questions:

What is the most important skill for a team member to possess?

What is the most important characteristic of a good team leader?

What is the greatest benefit of using teamwork?

What is the greatest problem with using teamwork?

While the group is trying to reach consensus, have an observer use Activity Worksheet 9.1 to note whether the group follows the Guidelines to Help Reach Consensus.



Observing the Guidelines to Help Reach Consensus


Did the team follow the guidelines presented below?



1.  Avoid arguing for your own position without listening to the position of others.


2.  Do not change your position just to avoid conflict.


3.  Do not try to reach a quick agreement by using conflict reduction approaches, like voting or tossing a coin.


4.  Try to get others to explain their position so that you better understand the differences.


5.  Do not assume that someone must win and someone must lose when there is a disagreement.


6.  Discuss the underlying assumptions, listen carefully to one another, and encourage the participation of all members.


7.  Look for creative and collaborative solutions that allow both sides to win, rather than compromises.


Analysis. Was the group successful in reaching consensus for its decisions? Did the group follow the guidelines for consensus decision making?

Discussion. What advice could you give a team to improve its ability to make consensus decisions?