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(bring binder or related documents/resources) Be mindful of the collaborative Respect the person speaking (active listening) Be brief/concise with statements Strive to stay on topic Co-chairs are the moderators -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Consensus Process Level I Original Proposal Clarifying Proposal (what is the proposal?) General Discussion Call for Consensus (consent, object, abstain) If no consensus (there are objections), continue to Level II Level II Go around, list concerns (from those who objected) General discussion of all concerns [Revision of proposal (if revised, back to Level I)] Call for Consensus (consent, object, abstain) If no consensus, facilitator can call for a vote. Notes Consensus is often a lengthy process requiring patience, good faith, and a belief that the resulting decision will be better and stronger for the effort. It is hoped that the spirit of consensus governs all of our discussions and is present in all of our dealings with each other. It begins when a member of the group makes a proposal to make a decision. It is the facilitator's responsibility to acknowledge when this process has begun, and to monitor and facilitate the group's progress through the various steps. The consensus process is a tiered process in which discussion becomes more focused with each successive level. It is designed to hopefully include a large degree of flexibility, imaginative thinking and open conversation. In Level I, the proposal is introduced, clarified, discussed, and members voice their stance. If consensus is not reached, in Level II, objecting view points are heard and discussed en masse. If appropriate after this discussion, the proposal is modified (or a new proposal is put forward), and then the process returns to Level I. If the initial proposal is retained, and consensus is still not reached, then members vote. Disagreements are thought to strengthen this process- participants are encouraged to think openly and entertain other view points, but also to vocalize their concerns. It is the group's responsibility to address all concerns, modify the proposal several times if necessary, and come up with a solution that is satisfactory to the group as a whole. A call for consensus does not necessarily mean that consensus is near
at hand, but rather it can be used at any time when there is a need to determine and clarify where the group currently stands. Terminology consent- agree with/to the proposal as stands object- has concerns about the proposal as stands stand aside- still has outstanding concerns about the process, but is willing to allow the process to continue. This option is to be used only if the participant feels that her concerns have been expressed to and understood by the group and adequately discussed. non-support- (don’t see the need for, but will go along) reservations- (this may be a mistake, but can live with it) Reminders - Just because people do not agree does not mean the process isn't working! That is why we can cycle through the Levels. - The burden of the process is to create change- we don't need to decide to do things the way we already do, only to change current practice. - This model is to be used to make decisions as opposed to gathering info, or expressing opinions. It is important to keep these different stages of conversation distinct from one another. Consensus Decision-Making Consensus is a decision-making process that fully utilizes the resources of a group. It is more difficult and time consuming to reach than a democratic vote or an autocratic decision. Most issues will involve tradeoffs and the various decision alternatives will not satisfy everyone. Complete unanimity is not the goal that is rarely possible. However, it is possible for each individual to have had the opportunity to express their opinion, be listened to, and accept a group decision based on its logic and feasibility considering all relevant factors. This requires the mutual trust and respect of each team member. A consensus decision represents a reasonable decision that all members of the group can accept. It is not necessarily the optimal decision for each member. When all the group members feel this way, you have reached consensus as we have defined it. This means that a single person can block consensus if he or she feels that it is necessary. Here are some guidelines for reaching consensus: 1. Make sure everyone is heard from and feels listened to. Avoid arguing for your own position. Present your position as clearly as possible. Listen to other team members reactions and comments to assess their understanding of your position. Consider their reactions and comments carefully before you press your own point of view further. 2. Do not assume that someone must win and someone must lose when a discussion reaches a stalemate. Instead, look for the next most acceptable alternatives for all parties. Try to think creatively. Explore what possibilities exist if certain constraints were removed. 3. Do not change your mind simply to avoid conflict, to reach agreement, or maintain harmony. When agreement seems to come too quickly or easily, be suspicious. Explore the reasons and be sure that everyone accepts the solution for basically similar or complementary reasons. Yield only to positions that have objective or logically sound foundations or merits. 4. Differences of opinion are natural and expected. Seek them out, value them, and try to involve everyone in the decision process. Disagreements can improve the group's decision.