Consensus-Building is a group consulting engagement designed for a workgroup (or for multiple workgroups) whose members are having difficulty cooperating to achieve goals.
The people may be members of an organization, project, community or field of occupation. Their interface or negotiation is not working as they would like it to. They realize they are in a rift.
Should Conflicts Be Avoided?
Not all conflicts are bad. Conflict can be viewed as a perfectly healthy phase in the process of working toward objectives.
Here’s an example of an inevitable conflict:
Parties to the Conflict
Sales and Marketing Team
Research & Development Team
R&D wants to develop a new pen that not only writes but also will massage your shoulders and brew your coffee. It will take two years to develop and will have a selling price point of $2,000.
The Sales Team wants a product they can position as a must-have for every executive on the planet. They want a price point in the $100 range. And they want it NOW, not in two years.
Each party is responsible for specific goals that collide with the other. The challenge is to create a product or service (the pen in the above example) that is the most advanced AND the most attractive to clients.
Consensus-building helps groups create “AND” solutions. It also teaches them how to continue creating such solutions in the future.
How About a Compromise?
Most groups in conflict reach first for the door of compromise.
Is that the right move? Let’s look at our example.
The Sales Team wants it NOW; R&D needs two years. Is a one-year development schedule a compromise that works for either of them? Probably not.
In our example, the compromise between $2,000 and $100 is $1,050. Is someone going to pay that much for a pen? Doubtful.
Suppose R&D compromises and develops a pen that only massages shoulders and doesn’t brew coffee. Can that product be positioned as a must-have for any executives? Not a realistic plan.
The Other Door
Clearly, the door marked “compromise” won’t automatically produce a winning solution. The two teams need to look for a solution behind The Other Door. By helping both parties redefine the problem, they weave their understanding of clients’ needs (sales point of view) with technological aspects (R&D point of view) into a product that opens a new niche, with a unique pen that is affordable, with the shortest time to market.
Goals of Consensus-Building Sessions
Consensus-Building is more than a series of learning sessions. It is an opportunity for members to:
What to Expect in Consensus-Building Sessions
Conflicts are a thief of creativity. Consensus-Building Sessions facilitate a creative process.
Consensus-Building is efficient time-wise. In just a few sessions - usually 2-3 concentrated days - a group can often transform how they communicate and arrive at solutions.
Be aware that solutions are a byproduct of a creative process.
Metaphorically, it's about teaching people to fish rather than handing them a fish. The goal is to establish a creative process for reaching consensus.
What is needed is a consensus about the problem AND the process. This process becomes a model for handling future conflicts.
How to Schedule Consensus-Building Sessions
This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each Consensus-Building engagement is tailored to meet your needs.
Please Contact us to discuss your needs. We will discuss pricing guidelines then submit a proposal for your consideration.