Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

We decide things using consensus, with super-majority balloting and do-ocracy when needed. Here’s our summary method:

Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making Crib Sheet

from Tim Harntnett’s Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making

Step 1: Frame the Topic

  1. Collect agenda items.

  2. Clarify the essence, goals, and appropriate process for each issue.

  3. Interview a sample of group members.

  4. Identify and delegate useful pre-meeting research.

  5. Introduce the discussion.

Step 2: Open Discussion

  1. Inspire an open-minded, creative discussion.

  2. Provide guidelines and structure for the discussion.

  3. Manage the discussion.

  4. Support full and varied participation.

  5. Record the ideas generated on an Ideas Chart.

Step 3: Identify Underlying Concerns

  1. Ask the group to recognize all the stakeholders affected by the issue.

  2. List all incipient worries of each stakeholder on an Underlying Concerns Chart.

  3. Gather all the identified concerns to form the basis for collaborative development.

Step 4: Develop Collaborative Proposals

  1. Describe the collaborative process of taking turns to build multiple proposals.

  2. Help the group select root ideas on which to develop proposals.

  3. Use a Proposal Development Chart to help the group develop each option to its full potential.

Step 5: Choose a Direction

  1. Check for readiness to proceed.

  2. Analyze proposal options.

  3. Use preference gradient voting to decide which option to further develop.

Step 6: Synthesize a Final Proposal

  1. Review any unsatisfied concerns.

  2. Identify details that might improve the proposal.

  3. Select which details to include in the proposal.

  4. Compose final wording for the proposal and a process for deciding any unresolved details.

Step 7: Close

  1. Apply the group’s final decision rule.

  2. Optional: Provide empathy for any unsatisfied participants.

  3. Optional: Ratify acceptance of the group decision.

  4. Optional: Request cooperation in implementing the decision.