Consensus Decisions and the Power of the Group

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consensus decisions

Consensus Decisions and the Power of the Group

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Working alone, is the sometimes dream of the team member. Frustrated with roadblocks, different opinions, and even unhealthy conflict may make people believe that stand-alone is better. However, when you want a good decision, consensus decisions may be the best option available.

Decisions and Problems

I really enjoy working with groups on learning how to think more critically, how to solve problems, and most of all, make better decisions. Many people enter the seminar thinking that there may not be much to learn and that it will be another hold hands and sing Kumbaya session. It is not.

Our environment often conditions us. Society is an environment that everyone reading this must navigate. Our values and beliefs will shape the ebb and flow of how we process information. This is especially evident when we consider generational differences.

Many argue that our technology driven society is leading to less interaction, more solitude, and social distress. There may or may not be something to that but others may argue it is bringing us closer, just in a different way.

You may also like: Driving Decisions Through Culture In Your Organization

When it comes to making decisions, research says that more people are better than one. Consensus decisions by far exceed the probability of a good decision when compared with those made stand alone.

Through the results of hundreds of seminars that I’ve personally delivered on the subject, I know that consensus decisions work, and work well.

Consensus Decisions

It may be important to understand exactly what a consensus decision is. First, it is not a majority vote. Properly executed consensus decisions welcome and consider the thoughts of everyone in the group. It is not about minority power persuading others. It is about everyone agreeing with a chosen path.

As you may guess, true decision by consensus is often hard to attain. It may require extra time, patience, and a willingness to consider ideas different from your own. However, the quality of the decision makes it very worthwhile.

Technically, the best method to process a decision by consensus is through a round-robin approach. This approach suggests that each group member has an opportunity to express his or her thoughts, experiences, and probable outcomes of a choice.

As the group processes each member listens to understand and consider each explanation and probable outcomes of the choice. In the end, in true decision by consensus, all group members agree with the decision or choice.

In a society that seems to be changing it forms of connection, one thing may still be true. When it comes to brainpower, the power of many is still better than the power of one.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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