Can we please make a decision and move on?
Ineffective teams don’t know how to make consensus decisions.
Margaret Thatcher complained of consensus:
“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”
7 negatives of consensus decision-making:
- Lots of talk – nothing done.
- Talkers and power players dominate weak, passive, or quiet members.
- One negative person holds the team hostage. Some people feel most powerful when they disagree.
- Personal agendas distract from real issues.
- Decisions that address every concern feel lukewarm at best.
- Ambiguous accountability. If things fall through the cracks who is held accountable?
- Turbulent environments call for rapid response.
5 positives of consensus decision-making:
- Silo breaking.
- Diverse perspectives provide broad understanding. You won’t say, “Oh! We didn’t think of that.”
- Achieve the greatest benefit for the greatest number of stakeholders.
- Minimize surprises.
5 reasons consensus matters:
- Multiple entities, divisions, or departments are impacted.
- Authority is low. Distrust is high.
- Radical change disrupts large groups.
- Financial responsibility runs high.
- Buy-in is necessary.
- Diversity. Include stakeholders who are touched by the problem and those closest to the action.
- Shared information.
- After discussion, ask, “Is there anything preventing us from making a decision right now?
- Open eyes and expand perspectives by sending participants into each other’s areas.
- Assign homework and research.
- Ask participants to defend each others suggestions.
How much consensus is enough:
Don’t beat dead horses. Determine how much consensus is enough.
Perfect consensus is a myth! Shoot for informed consent.
Download the Team Decision Making Tool.
Note: My coach, Bob Hancox, sent me the team decision-making tool. The origin is uncertain.
What are your warnings and suggestions concerning consensus decision-making?