Implementing consensual decisions is not always easy! It takes time to unlearn the behaviours we have educated, to accept them as a norm, like “winning” competition for an argument. Perhaps the most important thing is to take the time to think about how your consensus process is going, to give feedback on each other and to constantly look for ways to improve. The basic model for consensus, as defined in any decision-making rule, includes that groups often remain blocked when individuals or political groups have strong opposing positions. Remember that a consensus is to work together in the search for solutions and not to compete. Attachment to our personal agendas and opinions is often an obstacle to this cooperation. Promote self-reflection. If the language of a discussion starts recording sounds of “either/or” you pause and try to promote a more flexible way of thinking when you return. For example, ask people to defend the point of view they like least to help them understand the other side of the conflict. Or the storm of ideas of new ideas to get past those you`re stuck in. Or identify all the things you have in common, and see if you can create a new proposal from there. “Community members are seeking unanimity first. However, when one or more people block the proposal, the blockers hold a series of solution-oriented meetings, with one or two proposals, to develop a new proposal that will address the same problems as the original proposal. The new proposal will be presented at the next meeting, where it will likely occur.
If no new proposal is developed, the original proposal will be presented at the next meeting for a super majority of 75%, and it will likely be adopted. In 25 years at N Street Cohousing, this process has only taken place twice, with two solution-oriented meetings. Excerpt from Busting the Myth that unanimous consensus is good for communities, 2012 Keep in mind that consensus is to find solutions that work for all. Make sure you don`t get carried away, because most people like the proposal. Pay attention to people who are quiet or unhappy look and check with them. The group first chooses three arbitrators or consensuals. The debate on the chosen problem is initiated by the moderator who launches proposals. Any proposed option is accepted when arbitrators decide that it is relevant and in accordance with the UN Charter of Human Rights. Referees establish and display a list of these options.
The debate continues, with questions, comments, criticism and/or even new options. If the debate fails to reach a verbal consensus, the arbitrators draw up a definitive list of options – usually between 4 and 6 – to represent the debate. If everyone agrees, the president asks for a preferential vote, in accordance with the rules of a modified Count of Borda, MBC. Referees will decide on the option or combination of the two main options.