The practice of consensus
  • Michael Lenczner recently posted a comment that got me thinking a bit more about specific practices of expressive change. He mentioned “check-ins” as being a pretty reliable practice in his experience and pondered on the potential of the Quaker tradition of “speaking from silence”. One that I find to be particularly helpful is a process of consensus-based decision-making that I learned from MUCS and that I’ve had some practice with at COCo over the last few years. I’ve found it to be so fruitful that I now use it regularly in my facilitation work with community groups when big decisions need to be made.

    What I love about it the most is how much it values dissenting voices. I always thought that I appreciated dissenting voices, but I don’t think I really did – unless it was my own. I think it was more of a value I held rather than something I actually experienced. I now really look forward to hearing from people who disagree with me and the group because I usually learn a lot and find myself thinking differently and more deeply as a result. I also used to be reluctant to engage in consensus decision making because I feared that it would be onerous and time-consuming. I’ve actually discovered the opposite to be true with this process. You can also use an abridged version (thumbs up, on the fence, thumbs down) if you’re using it for the first time.

    May 21st, 2010 | Tana Paddock | 1 Comment

About The Author


Click here to learn more about me.

One Response and Counting...

  • Kit Malo 05.21.2010

    Awesome, looking forward to reading this PDF, thanks Tana!

    I have had bad AND good experiences with consensus over the years – it is only now that I realize my knee-jerk reaction (that I am working to un-do now) comes out of the bad situations and not the good.

    I am also learning that it is not the model that was the problem in these situations, but a deeper structural issue that superceded it. Consensus works if the people using it are committed to ensuring their system is healthy on other levels as well. If the cart is rotten at the base, it’s likely that the apples will fall out of it, regardless of how ripe and ready they are to eat!

    It’s reassuring to know that some of the ways in which I thought about these types of models can be discarded and that I can re-learn to have a positive relationship to meaningful dialogue. Thanks for the reminder!

Leave a Reply





* Name, Email, and Comment are Required

kurumsal reklam