How Does Consensus Work? (Cont.)

“Partnership is created in dialogue and dialogue is created in partnership. This does not mean just a nod and a friendly smile and agreeing with each other at all costs. A partnership dialogue involves both parties listening, questioning, probing, exploring, but also trying to build something together.”

From Power to Partnership – Creating the Future of Love, Work, and Community by Alfonso Montuori & Isabella Conti

If there was only one dissenting voice, and the rest of the group is at 1, 2, or 3, you are close to consensus and therefore may continue to discuss it rather than drop it altogether. What do we do when we have strong disagreement on an issue and suddenly we feel “stuck” and neither of us feels we can compromise?

Being able to shift from strongly held positions or solutions to interests, from judgement and being “right” to curiosity, and recognizing that you just hold one piece of the puzzle is essential in order to move forward in unity. You need to shift out of either one way or another, someone is right and someone is wrong (someone will win and someone will lose) and shift out of focusing on the solution or decision and actively seek a deeper mutual understanding of the situation and your partner.

Only when you reach this more holistic point of view can you consider the options for solutions or decisions. After achieving this deeper understanding you may still land in a place of agreeing to disagree, but find a way to move forward together from there.

This indicates that you need to have a deeper conversation with the goal of fully understanding each other’s interests. After achieving that there will be better sense of common ground. Solutions can then be generated or considered in the light of that deeper understanding.


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