Nb to build leadership skills within the group. Need a balance between leadership and participation. Extreme case of leadership = dictator. If there is more participation and no leadership, decisions can take a long time. In Findhorn and Rainbow Gathering style, the “leader” is called the “focaliser” and holds the focus of the group.
Consensus Decision Making
by Beatrice Briggs
(For full manual write to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The consensus process is a decision-making method based on values such as cooperation, trust, honesty, creativity, equality and respect. These days many people use the word «consensus», but very few understand how to implement the process with integrity and skill. Consensus goes beyond majority rule. It replaces traditional styles of «topdown» leadership with a model of shared power and responsibility. A group which uses the consensus process effectively can become a healthy community and a powerful force for social change.
Consensus: A Process for Sharing
Power and Constructing Community
To build a healthy community, the questions “Who decides?” or “How will we decide?” must be answered. Making clear choices about the fundamental issues of power and process can transform a diverse group of people into a strong, stable, loving community. Today more and more people are disillusioned with “top-down” structures in which a powerful few make decisions for everyone. Even the democratic ideal of majority rule is found wanting because it almost always results in a disempowered minority. All over the world people are seeking ways to discuss and resolve common problems and build a future for their children which is both ecologically sound and socially just. The decision-making process which best supports this intention is called consensus.
Consensus is the way a group of equals makes decisions. The process rests on the fundamental belief that each person has a piece of the truth. Each member of the group, therefore, must be given space and time in which to speak his or her truth, and each must be listened to with respect. On the other hand, individuals cannot be permitted to dominate the group. In consensus, as in ecosystems, each individual rules and is ruled by the larger community. In this web of reciprocal relationships, the beauty and strength of the whole is created. This is not to suggest, however, that consensus process presupposes, or automatically confers, complete peace and harmony within a group. Given the depth of our current social pathology and the complexity of the decisions we face, conflict is inevitable.
In fact, in groups that are truly diverse, differences are both a sign of health and an invitation to creativity. Non-violent resolution of conflict and the collaborative development of decisions that everyone in the group can support are the principle goals of the consensus process.
Five Essential Elements
Consensus is not a panacea. It will not work in every situation. In order to invoke the power and magic of consensus, five main elements must be in place:
(1) Willingness to share power
(2) Informed commitment to the consensus process
(3) Common purpose
(4) Strong agendas
(5) Effective facilitation.
see attached notes!
You can start the process with a check-in
Step 1: Gain all views ~ maybe two rounds ~ make it safe for people to bring
in their views.
Step 2: Hunt for the “No” ~ (deeper wisdom) if there isn’t diversity of
opinion, bring in that view. Provoke thoughts. Find out what you don’t know
you don’t know.
Step 3: Spreading the “No” ~ see if others share the same view &
Step 4: Take the vote ~ “Ok, sorry to those opposed. We have chosen “x”.
Then hunt for the wisdom in the minority: “What will it take for you to vote
yes to the majority?” Then Re-phrase the vote: “We are choosing “x” but with
these circumstances”. Vote again. If there is still no consensus after 3
rounds, go back to the beginning to open for new opinions or go into
Step 5: Conflict resolution
Passing the stick
Pass the talking stick round and round til a decision has been made.