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March 1, 2015

Consensus Decision-Making

As a team leader, you need to help your team make decisions that deliver results. This means that you need to develop the skills necessary for creating consensus, so the team as a whole agrees on a solution and supports it. Here’s how you do it:shutterstock_94449277

  • Involve the entire team in the process by gathering them together for a meeting that focuses solely on coming to a decision about an issue or solving a problem.
  • Set some rules at the beginning and get consensus on the rules. For example, ask the team to refrain from criticizing anyone’s comments or suggestions, to show courtesy when someone is speaking, and to contribute to the discussion.
  • Ask open questions that support conversation, such as, “What do you think we can do to improve this process?” or “How do you think we could get past this challenge?”
  • Go around the room and solicit each person’s opinion and answers. Capture them on a white board or flip chart. In this way, everyone has a voice and feels part of the process.
  • Break the group into smaller units and have each unit brainstorm solutions and present to the group the one they think will work best.
  • Openly discuss each option presented, let people make suggestions to improve them, and settle on the top two.
  • Focus on the top two, using a risk assessment process. What risks and benefits are associated with each option? Which is the most practical and produces the best results with the least risk?
  • When an option is chosen, go around the room and ask each person to support the decision.

Being able to create consensus will make your team stronger and produce better results than if you go it alone. It also makes your team members feel valued and gives them a vested interest in the success of the team.

See my blog post Do You Believe in Intuition? for another important decision-making tool. 

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