In this consensus briefing:
Pg.1 What’s wrong with democracy?
Pg.3 Why use consensus?
Pg.4 Conditions for consensus
Pg.5 The consensus process
Pg.6 The stages of consensus process
Pg.6 Consensus flowchart
Pg.12 Guidelines for taking part
Pg.13 Quick decision making
Pg.14 Consensus in large groups
Pg.17 Large groups consensus flowchart
Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having the majority of
the group getting their way, a group using consensus is committed to finding solutions that
everyone actively supports, or at least can live with. This ensures that all opinions, ideas and
concerns are taken into account.
Through listening closely to each other, the group aims to come up with proposals that work
for everyone. Consensus is neither compromise nor unanimity – it aims to go further by weaving
together everyone’s best ideas and key concerns – a process that often results in surprising and
creative solutions, inspiring both the individual and the group as whole.
Consensus can work in all types of settings – small groups, local communities, businesses, even whole
nations and territories. The exact process may differ depending on the size of the group and other
factors, but the basic principles are the same. In the following briefing you’ll find lots of useful
information, not only about the basics of consensus decision making, but also about how to
apply it to large groups of people and about ideas for dealing withcommon problems.
We also have a Short Guide to Consensus and you can find lots of tips on how to make your consensus
meetings run smoothly in our guides to Facilitating Meetings.