Tuesday, March 31, 2009
During problem solving and process improvements, teams are faced with making decisions on a number of activities: what problems need to be worked out, data collection, steps to use, conclusions, solutions, recommendations, presentations, etc.
With the consensus technique, each member must accept the agreed-upon resolution and be willing to support it, even if it was not their favorite choice. Everyone participates and there is no voting. Using consensus provides teams an opportunity to reach high-quality decisions with total team commitment. Team members have an in-depth understanding of the underlying concern or issues, trust, willingness to explore, and mutual respect for each other.
An effective consensus process is best accomplished in a relaxed environment away from the work place, with a trained facilitator and a team of between five and nine people. A facilitator helps to seek out participation, draw out information, keep the team focused, provide encouragement, suggest approaches, and maintain order. The facilitator needs to be impartial and neutral with no stake in the resolution.
Consensus is the most difficult decision-making process compared to authority, voting, or avoidance (no decision).