Consensus Is Not a Four-Letter Word

You might think – based on the noise of the day – that consensus is obsolete, dead and buried.  That in its place is unfettered, top-down decision-making.  Who needs buy-in or consensus when the leader (we’re talking to you, Mr. Bezos) likely has a very singular vision for their company, and will set forth strong principles guiding all sub-leaders below them?  It sure sounds faster (in the short-term, at least) and – for the extended team – plenty easy.  There’s no debate, no alienated minority or unresolved conflict.  No need to collaborate when the boss just barks orders.  Lest you forget, that for those autocratic business leaders, consensus is a four-letter word.

Consensus is not code for concession, giving in, giving up or letting go.  It’s not conformity, groupthink or self-censorship.  It’s also not easy to come by.  True, there’s always one.  The one that wants to turn right, not left.  The one that would rather drink white, not red.  But we usually shrug it off, find a compromise and move on.  Easy to do at home.  Not so easy to do at work.  Aside from the painful mechanics (endless meetings and surveys, for example) of getting everyone’s thoughts, opinions and feedback, what’s the best possible way to get consensus, especially when working on an enterprise level project?

Make it a Process

Consensus is rarely achieved with one conversation. Instead, it’s a series of steps – a process – that you take stakeholders through to drive buy-in and acceptance of a decision or solution.  Automating this process makes the journey even more efficient since feedback can be addressed in real-time and stakeholders are involved every step of the way.  Sign off just became a piece of cake.

Make it Collaborative

Real communication is an absolute must for consensus. Team members voice their concerns and ideas, which smart leaders facilitate in an ultimate solution. Open dialogue gives team members the opportunity to contribute their expertise and leaders the knowledge they need to make the best decisions. ThinkTank’s Consensus Driven Productivity solution provides a collaborative environment where clients, SMEs, and other stakeholders provide input.  It helps align on solution priorities and regularly completes retrospectives continually throughout the project for greatest outcomes.

Make it Productive

It’s much easier to generate consensus when the process is efficient and productive.  Consider a typical ERP implementation project.  You’ll need a variety of stakeholders to participate, but consider the challenges of convening large, remote audiences under one roof or on a series of conference calls.  It’s expensive and impractical.  Instead, it’s far more productive to gather requirements in an automated digital format capturing simultaneous user inputs.

Available on your laptops, tablets and mobile phones, ThinkTank’s Consensus Driven Productivity solution offers pre-configured sessions, self-guided templates and crowdsourcing activities to efficiently capture global and local requirements into repeatable templates.  In fact, our Professional Services clients estimate a time savings of 40% in gathering, processing, and consolidating required data making Consensus Driven Productivity a reality that all enterprises should embrace.