My previous post describes the benefits and limitations of the five-degree consensus process that I recommend to clients who use consensus decision making as part of their repertoire of business skills.
In this entry I offer you a downloadable chart plus a condensed, one-page explanation of how to use a consensus scale which you may want to print out for your own use or e-mail to friends and co-workers for their use. (If you’re really hard core, print the chart on special white-board paper for laser printers. Then you can mark and erase right on it as much as you want.)
DOWNLOAD IT HERE: > Using a five-degree consensus scale to reach consensus: the cheat sheet (in PDF Acrobat format)
To download it to your computer, right-click with your mouse (or on a Mac, option-click).
When, again, is a consensus process particularly appropriate? See my post from December 8, 2005 for a more detailed answer to this question. In general, a consensus process may be valuable when:
- you want a proposal examined carefully. A consensus process pushes people proposing a course of action to clarify their reasoning and pushes others to wrap their minds around the proposal, encouraging everyone to understand it, ask questions, and offer input.
- you fear weak follow-through, and thus you want to secure support up front or quit before setting a decision up for failure. A consensus process pushes everyone in a group to assume responsibility for a decision, including follow-through down the road.
- you aren’t in a desperate hurry. Although a rapid decision may be reached by consensus, for speed alone you’re frequently better off assigning a qualified solo decision maker.