September 13, 2016

The process of consensus decision-making

The following basic procedure is taken from Peace News (June 1988), a magazine for peace activists:

1. The problem, or decision needing to be made, is defined and named. It helps to do this in a way that separates the problems/questions from personalities.

2. Brainstorm possible solutions. Write them all down, even the crazy ones. Keep the energy up for quick, top-of-the head suggestions.

3. Create space for questions or clarification of the situation.

4. Discuss the options written down. Modify some, eliminate others, and develop a short list, e.g. which are the favourites?

5. State the proposal or choice of proposals so that everybody is clear.

6. Discuss the pros and cons of each proposal – make sure everybody has a chance to contribute.

7. If there is a major objection, return to step 6 (this is the time-consuming bit). Sometimes you may need to return to step 4.

8. If there are no major objections, state the decisions and test for agreement.

9. Acknowledge minor objections and incorporate friendly amendments.

10. Discuss.

11. Check for consensus.