Make Better Team Decisions: Consensus VS Consent

Have you ever gotten stuck in meetings trying to get everyone onboard? Or when everyone is onboard no one seemed satisfied?

Or folks wouldn’t go all in, even though the majority picked a decision? “It’s a bad decision. I am not part of this.”

There are two dynamics at play here.

1st, consent vs consensus:
When we try to get everyone to approve/agree, we are trying to get consensus. With consensus everyone must be “for” the decision. Consensus exposes judgements and assumes shared accountability.

More often than not, what we need is to empower those accountable to make better decisions. We want to better understand the choices and to rally behind the decision. This is consent. Consent does not require agreement, affirmation or even preference. As long as no one objects, a consent is made.

Hence the key is know when to ask for which.

#bossbetter actions:
1) Ask- Who is ultimately accountable? Is it everyone? Or just an individual/a team?
2) Express what is needed (consensus or consent) at the start of the discussion:
“This is about John’s store. Our goal of this debate is to share our observations and to challenge the ideas so John and his team can make the most informed decision.”

Next up: Convey vs convince, I will convey that idea to you next week.

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