Consensus Primer

Factors that contribute to success
In order for consensus to work, all participants must share some common goals. The participants need to believe that all members of the group share the goal of solving the problems at hand. All participants need to act in a fair and reasonable manner, and must have the organization’s best interests at heart. This requires:

Clear expectations
There need to be in place agreements between all participants to use the process in good faith.

Collective support
All participants must accept responsibility for their participation as a part of a process that may differ from what their personal and individual goals may be.

Mutual trust
There must be an environment in which workers can trust others and be trusted by others.

Mutual respect for people and their work
There must be an environment where all workers feel that they are respected by their peers, and that their work is considered valuable towards reaching the group’s common goals.

Communication
The group must cultivate open channels for giving and receiving constructive ideas. The air must be relatively clear so that the issue at hand can receive the attention and focus required.

Facilitation
In meetings, facilitators assist with reaching agreements. Outside of meetings, facilitators assist with attaining and maintaining the other factors listed above.