We spend far too many hours in meetings. And we love consensus. But sometimes the discussion goes on far longer than it needs to. I love this idea from Education World:
Consensus is a format that requires getting everyone on board with the agreement. It doesn't mean that everyone in the group loves the idea; it only means that everyone agrees to live with the decision and help implement it.... "Levels of consensus" is an approach that provides a quick way to check consensus.
State the question to be decided and review the levels of consensus (above). Then ask all group members to hold up fingers indicating where they are on the consensus scale.
If a quick scan of the room shows all ones and twos, the group can see that consensus has been reached. If there are several people indicating threes and fours -- or if there is even one five or six -- invite those with threes, fours, and fives to talk about why they chose that number.
- 1 finger -- "I can say an unqualified yes to the decision. I am satisfied that the decision is an expression of the wisdom of the group."
- 2 fingers -- "I find the decision perfectly acceptable."
- 3 fingers -- "I can live with the decision even though I'm not especially enthusiastic about it."
- 4 fingers -- "I do not fully agree with the decision and need to register my view about why. However, I will not block the decision because I trust the wisdom of the group."
- 5 fingers -- "I do not agree with the decision and feel the need to stand in the way of this decision being accepted."
- 6 fingers -- "I feel that we have no clear sense of unity in the group. We need to do more work before consensus can be reached."