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Consensus Through Conversation

Book Description

Consensus is fast becoming one of business' most popular-but most widely mis-understood decision-making models. By involving people in the decisions that impact their work, companies develop a passionate team of workers, one that is committed to a future they've helped shape. This useful guide leads managers, consultants, and facilitators through the consensus-building process. It shows how to avoid common pitfalls like false agreement and the " illusion of inclusion." For anyone charged with getting groups to fruitful resolution on important issues, "Consensus Through Conversation" offers an invaluable reference.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Preface
  7. Introduction: The New Rules of Decision-making
  8. Chapter 1: What is Consensus?
    1. Consensus Defined
    2. Beliefs that Guide Consensus
    3. Choosing the Right Decision-Making Approach
    4. Alternatives to Consensus
    5. Common Misconceptions
    6. Consensus in Action
  9. Chapter 2: How do I Prepare?
    1. Determine Whether Consensus is a Good Fit
    2. Decide Who to Involve in the Decision
    3. Enlist a Skilled Facilitator
    4. Clarify the Group’s Scope and Authority
    5. Educate Group Members
    6. Develop an Agenda
    7. Gather the Relevant Information
    8. Start the Meeting off Right
  10. Chapter 3: What are the Basic Steps?
    1. Step One: Define the Issue
    2. Step Two: Establish Decision Criteria
    3. Step Three: Craft the Proposal
    4. Step Four: Test for Consensus
    5. Step Five: Reach Agreement
  11. Chapter 4: How do I Work with Disagreement?
    1. Using Consensus Cards
    2. Expressing and Resolving Legitimate Concerns
    3. Dealing with Opposition or “Blocks”
  12. Chapter 5: Six Traps that Undermine Consensus
    1. Member Absence from Critical Meetings
    2. Grandstanding Members
    3. Obstructive Blocking
    4. Pressuring Members to Conform (Coercive Tactics)
    5. Group Fatigue and/or Frustration
    6. Silent Members
  13. Chapter 6: Ten Tips for Better Consensus Meetings
    1. Set Clear Ground Rules
    2. Use a “Group Memory”
    3. Distinguish “Must” from “Want” Criteria
    4. Use Silence and Pauses
    5. Assign Questions and Tasks to Breakout Groups
    6. Put Discussion in a Fishbowl
    7. Stack Participants
    8. Take a Break
    9. Use Technology Wisely
    10. Evaluate the Meeting
  14. Chapter 7: Toward High-Commitment Decisions
    1. Return to the Roots of Consensus
    2. Remember the Words of My Teachers
    3. Reconnect with My Purpose and Values
  15. Resource Guide
  16. Index
  17. About the Author