Decision by consent
The decision by consentment is characterized by 2 points:
- It is a way of making decisions collectively within a group, a team, and in a relationship of equal power;
- It is designed to promote the voice and responsibility of the members of the organization. Decision-making by consent is different from decision-making by consensus. In consensus, everyone says "yes", in consent, no one says "no".
In this type of dynamic, the goal is not for everyone to agree, but for no one to hold back progress. This implies that when the group makes a decision by consent, it is not looking for the "best solution" but rather assumes that a good decision is one that does not compromise the organization's ability to carry out its mission and that respects the limitations of those who will have to implement it. This process is facilitated by a person trained in consent decision making.
This process is facilitated by a person trained in consent decision-making.
Presentation of the principle
One person offers a proposal to the group in a clear and well-reasoned manner. Only one person is heard at this stage. The proposal is accepted by all as a working basis that the decision process can develop. It no longer belongs to the person who submitted it once it has been presented and clarified.
Clarifying the proposal
Clarification is about making the proposal clear, not about justifying it. This round allows each member of the decision-making group to ask questions in order to understand the proposal as a whole.The person who made the proposal to the group responds and clarifies the points covered in the proposal. They can rephrase their proposal in order to adapt to everyone's communication style. The objective is to remove any possible doubt or misinterpretation of the proposal.
Impressions, reactions towards the proposal
Each member of the group expresses their own comments and reactions to the proposal. Everyone can freely express how they feel about the proposal as it is formulated and clarified at this stage.
Everyone listens to what the others have to say, without judgement. It is at this stage that as much information as possible can be shared to inform the entire group, including the person proposing the project.
This round is essential for the decision-making group to get a concrete idea of the group's mood regarding the proposal. Everyone should be very attentive and humble at this point. If, for example, the reactions to the proposal clearly shows that the proposal does not suit the group, everyone must listen, including the person who proposed it.
The objective here is to ensure that the proposal is modified taking into account the suggestions of the group.
The person who made the original proposal is invited by the moderator, on the basis of what they have heard, to possibly propose modifications and additions to create an improved and more comprehensible proposal due to everyone's contributions.
Initially, the moderator encourages everyone to ask themselves questions about any objections they may have (possibly in writing). Everyone may have reacted strongly and yet not have any objections.
Reasonable objections are not preferences, personal opinions, or alternative proposals. They are clearly justified. They are what everyone considers to be limits in their collective and individual implementation of the organization's mission.
It is the expression of what is not " feasible " for each person and for the group.
Next, the moderator goes around the circle to see if the group members have any objections. They are first asked to say whether "yes" or "no" they have an objection. If there are only "no" votes, i.e., no objections, the proposal is adopted. If there are objections, they are listened to, noted one by one. The voicing of an objection is not the voicing of the solution to the objection.
The moderator focuses on obtaining the wording of the objection. The moderator notes the objections on the board and the name of the objector. The moderator does not have the authority to say whether the objection is reasonable or not. Only the objector can say whether or not the objection is reasonable.
Overcoming objections by improving the proposal
Objections are dealt with one by one. The group seeks to resolve the objections by providing solutions and insights. Each objection is an opportunity for the group to be creative in transforming the obstacles into a better solution for everyone.
The moderator regularly confirms with the person who raised the objection that the objection has been resolved. When there are no more objections, the facilitator updates the proposal, writes it down and finally verifies that there are no more objections. There is mutual consent, the proposal is adopted.
Drafting of the decision for implementation
A record of decision is drafted in terms of who, what, when and how and the conditions of the evaluation. The minutes are sent to the circle members for validation.
Celebrating the decision
Congratulate yourself on this step taken as a group. This is to mark the fact that the decision was taken together in a cooperative mode and has nourished confidence. It is up to the group to define the way they will celebrate this (applause, meal, party...).
This celebration allows everyone to feel the growth achieved.