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Make better decision together with Consensus Decision making

Consensus decision making aims to dismantle all kind of hierarchy and replace it with shared power which is based on cooperation and respect for everyone’s need.

Consensus decision making is a creative way to generate widespread levels of participation and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group which ensures that all opinions, ideas and concerns are considered. Group aims to come up with proposals that can work for everyone by listening closely to each other and committed to find solutions that everyone actively live with group support.

Aims of Consensus Decision

Main aim of consensus decision in decision making process is are :

  • • It aims to Agreement Seeking as consensus decision making process attempts to generate as much as agreement as possible.
  • Collaborative Approach helps participants contribute to shared proposal and shape it into a decision that meets the concerns of all group members as much as possible.
  • Cooperative Approach becomes mandate as participants need to strive to reach the best possible decisions for the group and all of its members rather than competing for personal choices.
  • Inclusive policy requires many stakeholders should be involved in the consensus decision making process.
  • Egalitarian Approach aims , all the members to have the opportunity to present and amend proposals. All the members should give equal input into the consensus decision making process.
  • • It aims at Participatory Approach where consensus process should actively solicit the input and participation of all the decision makers.

Benefits of using consensus

Learning to use consensus decision making process is great place to start if we are aiming for certain benefits which won’t come automatically but Organization need to work hard to make them a reality.

Sharing power :
Consensus allows to take collective control over the decisions which may affect Group member. At the center off heart is a respectful dialogue between equals, with people working together to meet everyone's needs. Consensus means working with each other rather than for or against each other.

Building communities :
Consensus decisions aim to meet everyone's most important needs and find a balance between what different people want. This in turn means getting to know each other as people, and building open and respectful relationships that are the building blocks of genuine community.

Making better decisions :
Consensus involves looking for ‘win-win' solutions that are acceptable to all. It is neither compromise nor unanimity , it just aims to go further by weaving together everyone's best ideas and key concerns a process that often results in surprising solutions which will inspiring the group as whole considering individual need.

Getting things done :
When everyone agrees with a decision they are much more likely to implement it. In the long run, people are also more likely to stay involved in a group that is committed to hearing their views and meeting their needs. This is particularly important in voluntary groups, where most people vote with their feet and leave if they don't feel valued and respected.

Protecting minority needs and opinions
In consensus, anyone can 'block' a proposal and prevent it from going ahead by not giving their consent. This option should never be used lightly, because it takes away the freedom of others to do what they want. However it provides a safety net for situations where a proposal would seriously hurt the group or people in it.

Conditions needed for using consensus decision

Below are some of listed key factors in order to have better experience of consensus, if the group is struggling for right conditions in the place.

  • • Group thinking towards Common Goal : Consensus decision-making gives importance to individual thinking good for whole group. Here participants are encouraged to voice their personal perspectives in such way where whole group benefits from hearing points of view. Group members present at the meeting needs to share a common goal and should be willing to work together towards shared vision for better world.
  • Commitment to reach at consensus : Consensus can require a lot of commitment and patience to make it work. Consensus requires flexibility and being open to alternative solutions. It would be easy to call for a vote the first time you struggle to reach agreement, but in the consensus model, differences help to build a stronger and more creative final decision.
  • Process oriented : It's essential for everyone to have a shared understanding of the process that the meeting is using. Consensus decision-making give importance to the process of making decisions, not only outcome of result. In a consensus decision making process all participants are respected and their contributions in term of ideas and thoughts are welcome
  • Mutual Trust and Openness is must : Consensus relies on everyone giving honest information about what they want and need and being clear about the distinction between the two! This is hard if we don't trust everyone's good intentions.
  • Inclusive and Participatory : If we want a decision we can all agree on then we all need to play an active role in the decision making. This means listening to what everyone has to say and pro-actively looking for solutions that include everyone, as well as voicing our own thoughts and feelings.
  • Sufficient time : For making decisions and for learning to work by consensus, taking time to make a good decision now can save wasting time revisiting a bad one later.

The bottom Line :

A consensus decision should involve everyone who will be fundamentally affected by the outcome rather than the people who happen to attend the meeting where it is discussed! In groups where there are different people at each meeting it can be hard to know which of the new people will end up getting fully involved. Getting clarity about what kind of involvement people want, and being flexible about different ways to input into a decision can help individuals have their fair share of influence.