CCME has identified consensus decision-making as one of its fundamental operating principles. It is a process that attempts to recognize and account for the differing, legitimate interests of its 14 member governments. It maximizes opportunities to resolve differences and to reach agreement on workable solutions. A working description of the consensus approach follows:
"Having heard and understood all views expressed, a solution has been proposed, and while I may not hold that this proposal is optimal, I believe it will work and I will support it."
Although all participants may not agree with each specific aspect of the solution, consensus is reached if all participants are willing to live with the total package.
- The process of voting does not lead to consensus
- Bargaining does not produce consensus
- Majority rule is not consensus
- Minority or one-person rule is not consensus
Four Steps To Consensus
- Look beyond people's positions to understand their interests
- Invent options for mutual gain: what is fair vs. what is best for each, or for all
- Use objective criteria to assess options
- Build sound solutions
A Back-up Process to Achieve Consensus, When Other Processes Have Failed
- Identify the problem causing the blockage
- Identify areas of agreement and those of disagreement
- Self-evaluation will determine if process so far is leading toward original goals
- Look for exaggeration, hyperbole, distortion and separate facts from fiction
- Switch roles: have participants argue from another person's standpoint
- Modify the best solution so far
- Develop two lists: one "agreed upon", the other "not agreed upon"
Consensus Building: A Table Guide and Toolkit