What is The Consensus Process
This page is about the meaning of consensus, the consensus process, and how we reach a consensus. Committed to a 100% consensus trained team moving onto the property, One Community plans to phase in full consensus decision making over the first 90 days (as outlined here), and to demonstrate as part of our open source sharing model that consensus can be a working model for groups over 200+ (as outlined here). We consider this a part of collaboration and creation for The Highest Good of All and another aspect of One Community that we are open source project-launch blueprinting.
Here are the techniques of decision making and consensus that have been taught to us by One Community consultants Dr. Connie Stomper and Jack Reed (author of The Next Evolution) during our consensus trainings facilitated by them.
Jack Reed – The Community Planet Foundation
WHAT CONSENSUS IS NOT
- Democracy as we know it
- A method of compromise
- A selection among alternative, competing proposals
- A forum for egotism, manipulation, or “power over”
- A quick and easy way to get to a group decision
WHAT CONSENSUS IS
- A safe space to voice concerns
- A respectful hearing of all perspectives
- A process by which a group mind emerges from individual input
- An enterprise aimed at achieving The Highest Good of All Concerned
- A way to synthesize various ideas or perspectives into a uniquely new outcome
WHAT CONSENSUS REQUIRES
- Skillful facilitation and “vibes-watching”
- A close-knit group with a clear common purpose, vision and values
- That everyone who wishes to speak gets a chance to do so
- That everyone truly listens to those who speak (rather than rehearsing a rebuttal)
- That the facilitator (or someone else) recognizes an emerging synergy of ideas
- That each participant discerns whether the consensus is in the best interest of the group
- That the group works together addressing concerns and considerations in crafting a decision that is for The Highest Good of All Concerned
- That not everyone needs to be involved in every decision, the group can decide which decisions need to be made by which people
- That a proposal can be “blocked” or put on hold when someone believes that it violates the foundational values of the group, when someone believes that more information may be needed, or when someone intuitively knows that a higher quality decision awaits. That being said, consensus requires participants having the maturity of consciousness that they do not run their hidden agendas to block the group from making decisions
- That a group consensus can be overturned or altered only by another group consensus
EXPANDED CONSENSUS MEANING: WHAT IS CONSENSUS?
CONSENSUS IS TWO BASIC KEYS:
There are two basic keys to the consensus decision making process: learning the techniques, and holding the consciousness to work the techniques successfully. Consensus is different from other types of decision making because it emphasizes the cooperative development of a decision with group members working together rather than competing against each other. The goal of consensus is to create a decision that is consented to by all group members through the process of GOING FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD OF ALL CONCERNED; having and holding this consciousness is foundational to the success of the consensus model.
GOING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE DECISION:
This is the process of making decisions based on the premise that each group member is satisfied with the decision. Not everyone may agree exactly, word for word, but by going with the spirit of the decision to be made, all have agreed on one forward action.
CONSENSUS IS NO VOTES—UNITY:
In the consensus process there are no votes taken. There is only the goal of unity, which may or may not be born of discord, disagreement, agreement, opposing points of view, attachment/detachment, or other normal expressions occurring in group societies. Consensus decisions are reached with everyone present contributing to the process, uniting their intention and the results they want.
CONSENSUS IS RAISING OUR CONSCIOUSNESS:
Human beings can raise their conscious awareness, their level of acceptance, and their outer expression to such a degree as to bring about harmony, unconditional loving, joy, and success among their societal groups be it family, group living situations, church, work, or play. This is key to those desiring to reach a consensus because the human ability to become refined in our consciousness, allowing for everyone’s mistakes, allowing for everyone’s feelings, thoughts, concerns, and creativity are all part of the consensus model.
CONSENSUS IS ACCEPTANCE:
The more we allow the spirit of our oneness to flood our consciousness, the closer we come to acceptance of what is here and now—differing opinions and perspectives. Acceptance then brings in peace and joy. These are symbols that our hearts are open and we have begun to share in a greater wisdom than any one of us possess individually such that we can make decisions that work for everyone. In consensus we must deal with how others think and feel and allow for and incorporate that. More than just acceptance, this requires understanding of self and others.
CONSENSUS IS COOPERATION:
Unlike majority rule, which expects those expressing disagreement to cooperate when they “lose” the vote, consensus seeks cooperation among all before the decision is made, thus a higher level decision is available and cooperation is more easily accomplished.
CONSENSUS IS INTIMACY:
The richness of social consensus comes in part from the intimacy collaborators are willing to cultivate with each other. True intimacy embraces loving, caring, and sharing in a demonstrable, tangible way. Active listenting and willingness to share are important components. We’ve found that often group cohesiveness depends a great deal on whether it has developed and acknowledged intimacy and safety. Making decisions work for all of us requires that we really get to know each other-how we think and feel, what our values are, etc.
CONSENSUS IS MEETING SKILLS:
In working consensus with a group of people, it is not only necessary to acquire and demonstrate the attitudes and qualities necessary for consensus, but also to have the skills to facilitate successful and productive meetings.
CONSENSUS IS CREATIVITY:
Consensus invites and includes all those who want to participate. It encourages all points of view to be shared. Consensus is more than just agreement because we use creativity to expand our consciousness to include even the unrepresented points of view, the unpopular points of view, and the different or least likely points of view. In this way we open ourselves to create the highest quality decision.
CONSENSUS IS ATTITUDES:
Let’s change our traditional attitudes to the attitude that we can make it work for everyone. We can all win. Consensus means considering what actions would be for The Highest Good of All and how each of us can move beyond our own mental or emotional reactions or positions.
CONSENSUS IS LISTENING:
Effectively operating a consensus model means we listen carefully and with empathy to others even when we disagree with them.
CONSENSUS IS SAFETY:
Creating a safe space to communicate is essential for consensus to take place. We need to have safety to fully participate, and full participation creates safety. Inner safely addresses our willingness to look at our patterns, concerns, feelings, fears, etc., make them known to ourselves, and be willing to work with them in a constructive and loving way. This may include our willingness to share our history and our personal situations.
CONSENSUS IS RAPPORT:
Learning how to give and receive feedback in loving neutrality, and in the spirit of learning, is also foundational to the consensus process.