Consensus is a form of group decision making. Everyone discusses the issues to be decided so the group benefits from the knowledge and experience of all members. Consensus occurs when every member of the group supports the decision.
When a unit-based team is deciding on what small test of change to conduct with the Rapid Improvement Model, they should use consensus decision making. Sponsors can help co-leads identify which decision-making methodology to use at different times.
Here are some quick guidelines to keep your decision making on track:
- Share information
- Be open to new roles
- Offer alternatives
- Agree too quickly
- Trade or bargain
- Penalize standouts
Testing for consensus
- Has everyone been heard?
- Can everyone live with the decision?
- Will everyone actively support the decision? (Can you identify behaviors that support the decision?)
- Respect different perspectives.
- Listen with at least as much dedication and commitment as you speak.
- If the group is stuck, get some advice about ways to move. Before you address an issue, determine a fallback plan a way by which the decision will be made if the group cannot move forward. You may, for example, refer the issue to sponsors or charter a subgroup to resolve it.
For information on how your team can receive training in Consensus Decision Making, visit the Training section of this site.