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What is Consensus Decision Making?

Consensus is a decision-making approach that seeks to secure the support of the whole group for the decision at hand. Many people believe that consensus is the same thing as unanimous agreement, but this is not necessarily the case. Unanimity is when everyone agrees. Consensus is when no one disagrees.

A specific definition of consensus may be spelled out in a team's ground rules or operating agreements. When the definition isn't clear in advance, facilitators recommend clarifying what consensus means during the meeting. The recommended definition is "Everyone can live with and will support this decision." This allows everyone to acknowledge that while the decision they're making may not be perfect, it is acceptable and the team can move on.

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Compromise (Decision Making)

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