FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK: The Myth of Consensus Decision Making

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There is a prevailing myth in management that team members need to fully agree with each other in order to reach “consensus” and make good decisions. Indeed, consensus is to be highly valued in collaborations, but it does not necessarily mean that everyone has to be in perfect agreement with the decision. Instead, the essence of consensus is reached when everyone on the team can live with and support the decision even if they hold some extent of disagreement. I can disagree with my wife that the best color to paint the living room is yellow, but I can agree to paint it yellow as I can live with the color even though it isn’t my favorite.

The terms are as well used by Amazon and other fast moving companies to keep things moving forward in the article, Disagree and Commit.

It is unlikely for us as team leaders to keep each team member happy in our decision making processes, but we can respect each other’s views and concerns, hear the others out and agree to proceed even if some people don’t think it is the best course of action. In the end, consensus to me means that everyone can, in good conscience, bare with discord and support the one decision reached as a group.

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