The Consensus Process

In the Consensus Process:

A) An issue is brought to a group, usually in the form of a proposal.

B) The issue is discussed and questioned, and concerns raised.

C) Differences, disagreements as well as similarities are drawn out and encouraged.

D) Modifications and adaptions of the original proposal are made.

E) The group creates a new proposal based on the ideas raised in discussion.

F) The group reaches a decision that is acceptable to all in spite of reservations or differences.

TAKE NOTE: Consensus is not unanimity. It is not necessary for every person in the group to feel that this is the solution that they would most want, or even think is best; members may feel, however, that this is the best solution that can be reached at this time and under these circumstances.


Regarding Parliamentary Procedure

The Consensus Process is based on common sense rather than parliamentary procedure. Roberts' Rules of Order an Consensus decision-making do not go hand in hand. If your group is now using Robert's Rules and you wish to use Consensus, you must be flexible and modify and adapt rules of procedure. 

A Word of Caution: the absence of Roberts' Rules does not mean that anything goes! Consensus process is not based on letting anyone do or say anything she or he wants. It is not based on an orderly progression an thoughtful discussion of ideas.

The questions that good facilitators always are asking themselves are:

A) What is happening to the people in this group?

B) Are people following and understanding what is going on?

C) What is the most reasonable next step that people will understand.


Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Susanne Terry, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Reading:  Building Social Change Communities 


Sources: Building Social Change CommunitiesContributors: Susanne Terry, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New SocietyRecommended Reading:  Building Social Change Communities 

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