Differences

This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

Link to this comparison view

Both sides previous revision Previous revision
policies:consensus_policy [2015/12/09 04:27]
walter
policies:consensus_policy [2016/01/25 22:19] (current)
Geoff Nicholson formatting
Line 1: Line 1:
-APPENDIX A+====== 
 +APPENDIX A -
  
 Consensus Policy Consensus Policy
 + ​======
  
 ([[http://​creativecommons.org/​licenses/​by/​3.0/​deed.en_US|CC BY]] [[http://​mach30.org/​|Mach 30]]) ([[http://​creativecommons.org/​licenses/​by/​3.0/​deed.en_US|CC BY]] [[http://​mach30.org/​|Mach 30]])
  
-Section 1: Purpose+===== Section 1: Purpose ​=====
  
 As part of our shared value of sustainable leadership, Quelab intends to  include as many people as possible in the decision making processes of  the organization. We believe the best decisions are made when they are  developed with full consent of all parties involved and that without the  consent of these parties implementation of decisions becomes difficult ​ or impossible. In order to achieve this goal of shared responsibility in  support of the value of sustainable leadership, we adopted the  consensus-based decision making process described here for board-level ​ decisions. As part of our shared value of sustainable leadership, Quelab intends to  include as many people as possible in the decision making processes of  the organization. We believe the best decisions are made when they are  developed with full consent of all parties involved and that without the  consent of these parties implementation of decisions becomes difficult ​ or impossible. In order to achieve this goal of shared responsibility in  support of the value of sustainable leadership, we adopted the  consensus-based decision making process described here for board-level ​ decisions.
Line 13: Line 15:
 It should be noted that reaching a consensus is not the same as  requiring a unanimous vote. In consensus, participants are challenged to  find an outcome that balances the organization'​s values with the needs  of the program, policy, or group related to the decision. ​ It is common ​ for a consensus decision to involve one or more participants who can  consent to the decision, that is allow it to be passed, but neither feel  strong support for the decision, nor believe the decision is  fundamentally unsound. ​ This is not a mark of a poor decision, but  rather an indicator of the degree to which participants are affected by  the decision. It should be noted that reaching a consensus is not the same as  requiring a unanimous vote. In consensus, participants are challenged to  find an outcome that balances the organization'​s values with the needs  of the program, policy, or group related to the decision. ​ It is common ​ for a consensus decision to involve one or more participants who can  consent to the decision, that is allow it to be passed, but neither feel  strong support for the decision, nor believe the decision is  fundamentally unsound. ​ This is not a mark of a poor decision, but  rather an indicator of the degree to which participants are affected by  the decision.
  
-Section 2: Definitions+===== Section 2: Definitions ​=====
  
-    * +    * //consensus ​//— decision making process that develops solutions based on balancing ​ values instead of defending positions; a decision made through the  consensus process 
- +    * //stakeholder// — someone who has a vested interest in the outcome of a decision and is often directly affected by the outcome 
-consensus +    * //proposal ​//— specific language describing the details of the decision to be made 
- +    * //call for consensus ​//— official step in consensus process to ratify a proposal as a final  decision, each participant is polled for their level of support (in  favor, stand aside, block), proposal is ratified as long as there are no  participants who block 
-— decision making process that develops solutions based on balancing ​ values instead of defending positions; a decision made through the  consensus process +    * //straw poll //— unofficial poll of the the level of support for the proposal, often done with show of thumbs 
- +    * //in favor //— term used to denote support for a proposal in its current form, sometimes signified with a “thumbs up” 
-    * +    * //stand aside //— term used to denote a willingness to “live with” proposal in its  current form, while preferring a different outcome. (possible reasons to  stand aside include having minor concerns or objections based on  personal preference rather than adherence to criteria, or not being  directly affected by the outcome), sometimes signified with a “thumbs to  the side” 
- +    * //block //— term used to denote opposition to the proposal in its current form, a  consensus cannot be reached while there are one or more blocks, ​ sometimes signified with a “thumbs down” 
-stakeholder +    * //buy-in ​//— amount of support in a group for a decision 
- +    * //positions ​//— opinions specifying desired details of a decision (for example: the car must be red) 
-— someone who has a vested interest in the outcome of a decision and is often directly affected by the outcome +    * //interests ​//— principles that have direct bearing on the decision at hand (for example: the leading character'​s car should look fast) 
- +    * //values ​//— the underlying “good” that needs to be served by final decision. (for example: selling lots of tickets to 15-30 year-old men) 
-    * +    * //criteria ​//— the interests and values that must be honored for the final decision to be acceptable. 
- +    * //clarifications ​//— questions asked by participants to help them understand what the proposal means 
-proposal +    * //concerns ​//— points raised by participants to describe aspects of the proposal that may be weak or in need of improvement 
- +    * //appreciative inquiry ​//— the practice of asking honest, neutral, and open ended questions for  the purpose of increasing one's understanding of another perspective. 
-— specific language describing the details of the decision to be made +===== Section 3: Who Participates in Consensus Decisions ​=====
- +
-    * +
- +
-call for consensus +
- +
-— official step in consensus process to ratify a proposal as a final  decision, each participant is polled for their level of support (in  favor, stand aside, block), proposal is ratified as long as there are no  participants who block +
- +
-    * +
- +
-straw poll +
- +
-— unofficial poll of the the level of support for the proposal, often done with show of thumbs +
- +
-    * +
- +
-in favor +
- +
-— term used to denote support for a proposal in its current form, sometimes signified with a “thumbs up” +
- +
-    * +
- +
-stand aside +
- +
-— term used to denote a willingness to “live with” proposal in its  current form, while preferring a different outcome. (possible reasons to  stand aside include having minor concerns or objections based on  personal preference rather than adherence to criteria, or not being  directly affected by the outcome), sometimes signified with a “thumbs to  the side” +
- +
-    * +
- +
-block +
- +
-— term used to denote opposition to the proposal in its current form, a  consensus cannot be reached while there are one or more blocks, ​ sometimes signified with a “thumbs down” +
- +
-    * +
- +
-buy-in +
- +
-— amount of support in a group for a decision +
- +
-    * +
- +
-positions +
- +
-— opinions specifying desired details of a decision (for example: the car must be red) +
- +
-    * +
- +
-interests +
- +
-— principles that have direct bearing on the decision at hand (for example: the leading character'​s car should look fast) +
- +
-    * +
- +
-values +
- +
-— the underlying “good” that needs to be served by final decision. (for example: selling lots of tickets to 15-30 year-old men) +
- +
-    * +
- +
-criteria +
- +
-— the interests and values that must be honored for the final decision to be acceptable. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-clarifications +
- +
-— questions asked by participants to help them understand what the proposal means +
- +
-    * +
- +
-concerns +
- +
-— points raised by participants to describe aspects of the proposal that may be weak or in need of improvement +
- +
-    * +
- +
-appreciative inquiry +
- +
-— the practice of asking honest, neutral, and open ended questions for  the purpose of increasing one's understanding of another perspective. +
- +
-Section 3: Who Participates in Consensus Decisions+
  
 A critical aspect of consensus decisions is defining participants– that  is who contributes ideas, offers feedback, and ultimately has the right  to approve or block the decision. ​ Naturally, all Quelab Board members ​ are always included as participants in Quelab consensus decisions. ​ In  order to promote representation of the views of all stakeholders in a  decision, the Quelab board will also include participants beyond its own  members when doing so is necessary to ensure the views of the entire ​ organization are considered. A critical aspect of consensus decisions is defining participants– that  is who contributes ideas, offers feedback, and ultimately has the right  to approve or block the decision. ​ Naturally, all Quelab Board members ​ are always included as participants in Quelab consensus decisions. ​ In  order to promote representation of the views of all stakeholders in a  decision, the Quelab board will also include participants beyond its own  members when doing so is necessary to ensure the views of the entire ​ organization are considered.
Line 119: Line 41:
 Finally, in order to provide for the best possible experience and  outcome during meetings, it is essential that participants in consensus ​ decisions familiarize themselves with this consensus policy. Finally, in order to provide for the best possible experience and  outcome during meetings, it is essential that participants in consensus ​ decisions familiarize themselves with this consensus policy.
  
-Section 4: Decisions which require formal consensus+===== Section 4: Decisions which require formal consensus ​=====
  
 Decisions that require formal consensus include but are not limited to the following: Decisions that require formal consensus include but are not limited to the following:
  
-    * +    * Selection of Officers 
- +    * Removal of Board members 
-Selection of Officers +    * Approval of annual budgets 
- +    * Decisions involving compensation 
-    * +    * Changes to the Articles of Incorporation 
- +    * Changes to the Bylaws 
-Removal of Board members +    * Decisions regarding Conflicts of Interest (excluding interested parties)
- +
-    * +
- +
-Approval of annual budgets +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Decisions involving compensation +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Changes to the Articles of Incorporation +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Changes to the Bylaws +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Decisions regarding Conflicts of Interest (excluding interested parties)+
  
 Decisions not listed above may be elevated to formal consensus at the request of any board member. Decisions not listed above may be elevated to formal consensus at the request of any board member.
  
-Section 5: Formal Consensus Process+===== Section 5: Formal Consensus Process ​=====
  
 The following steps describe the formal consensus process. ​ Those  decisions that require formal consensus will follow each of the steps. The following steps describe the formal consensus process. ​ Those  decisions that require formal consensus will follow each of the steps.
  
-    *+//Ground rules //—Quelab will use the following ground rules, developed by [[http://​www.schwarzassociates.com|Roger Schwarz]] as part of [[http://​www.schwarzassociates.com/​facilitator/​189/​The-Skilled-Facilitator-Intensive-Workshop/​|The Skilled Facilitator]] approach for consensus decisions:
  
-Ground rules+    * Test assumptions and inferences. 
 +    * Share all relevant information 
 +    * Use specific examples and agree on what important words mean. 
 +    * Explain your reasoning and intent. 
 +    * Focus on interests, not positions. 
 +    * Combine advocacy and inquiry. 
 +    * Jointly design next steps and ways to test disagreements. 
 +    * Discuss undiscussable issues.
  
-—Quelab will use the following ground rules, developed by [[:​http:​www.schwarzassociates.com|http://​www.schwarzassociates.com/​]]| +==== Hold initial discussion to determine scope of decision ​====
- +
-Roger Schwarz +
- +
-as part of [[:​http:​www.schwarzassociates.com_facilitator_189_the-skilled-facilitator-intensive-workshop|http://​www.schwarzassociates.com/​facilitator/​189/​The-Skilled-Facilitator-Intensive-Workshop/​]]| +
- +
-The Skilled Facilitator +
- +
-approach for consensus decisions:​ +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Test assumptions and inferences. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Share all relevant information +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Use specific examples and agree on what important words mean. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Explain your reasoning and intent. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Focus on interests, not positions. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Combine advocacy and inquiry. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Jointly design next steps and ways to test disagreements. +
- +
-    * +
- +
-Discuss undiscussable issues. +
- +
-    - +
- +
-Hold initial discussion to determine scope of decision+
  
 Before attempting to reach a decision, it is important to establish the  goal (for example to decide what car to buy) and boundaries of the  decision (for example the car is needed by next Friday). ​ Participants ​ should begin the consensus process by holding an open discussion around ​ the nature of the decision and the desired outcome to prepare for the  work ahead. Before attempting to reach a decision, it is important to establish the  goal (for example to decide what car to buy) and boundaries of the  decision (for example the car is needed by next Friday). ​ Participants ​ should begin the consensus process by holding an open discussion around ​ the nature of the decision and the desired outcome to prepare for the  work ahead.
  
-    - +==== Establish criteria ​====
- +
-Establish criteria+
  
 Criteria are the requirements to which the final decision must adhere. ​ To use a common consensus metaphor, the criteria create the box within ​ which all acceptable solutions will fit. Criteria are the requirements to which the final decision must adhere. ​ To use a common consensus metaphor, the criteria create the box within ​ which all acceptable solutions will fit.
  
-    - +==== Draft Proposal ​====
- +
-Draft Proposal+
  
 (may be in full group, or sent to sub-group) (may be in full group, or sent to sub-group)
Line 223: Line 84:
 After the group sets criteria the full group or a sub-set of the group  work to develop a solution that satisfies the criteria laid out by the  whole group. The level of detail required in the proposal will depend on  the complexity of the decision at hand. After the group sets criteria the full group or a sub-set of the group  work to develop a solution that satisfies the criteria laid out by the  whole group. The level of detail required in the proposal will depend on  the complexity of the decision at hand.
  
-    - +==== Review Proposal ​====
- +
-Review Proposal+
  
 After the proposal has been drafted it comes back to the full group for  review, discussion and further action in the following order. After the proposal has been drafted it comes back to the full group for  review, discussion and further action in the following order.
  
-    - +==== Clarify the proposal ​====
- +
-Clarify the proposal+
  
 Group members ask questions one at a time about the meaning of the  proposal. Each clarification should be finished before the next is  asked. As necessary, the proposal language is refined to improve ​ clarity. Group members ask questions one at a time about the meaning of the  proposal. Each clarification should be finished before the next is  asked. As necessary, the proposal language is refined to improve ​ clarity.
  
-    - +==== Address concerns ​====
- +
-Address concerns+
  
 Group members raise any concerns one at a time and discuss potential ​ improvements to the proposal. This process continues until all concerns ​ have been addressed (either resolved by modifying proposal, or noted but  allowed to stand). Concerns should be addressed in terms of criteria ​ not met by the proposal or group values that may be violated though the  proposal as it currently stands. Group members raise any concerns one at a time and discuss potential ​ improvements to the proposal. This process continues until all concerns ​ have been addressed (either resolved by modifying proposal, or noted but  allowed to stand). Concerns should be addressed in terms of criteria ​ not met by the proposal or group values that may be violated though the  proposal as it currently stands.
  
-    - +==== Call for consensus ​====
- +
-Call for consensus+
  
 (acknowledge possibility of a block - refer to section 7) (acknowledge possibility of a block - refer to section 7)
Line 249: Line 102:
 Group members are asked, one at a time, to indicate if they are “in  favor”, “stand aside”, or “block” the proposal; if there are any blocks, ​ see Section 7 for how to resolve them, otherwise go to next step. Group members are asked, one at a time, to indicate if they are “in  favor”, “stand aside”, or “block” the proposal; if there are any blocks, ​ see Section 7 for how to resolve them, otherwise go to next step.
  
-    - +==== Record final decision ​====
- +
-Record final decision+
  
 (including stand asides - who and why) (including stand asides - who and why)
Line 257: Line 108:
 The exact language of the adopted proposal is documented along with  whether it has been approved, and which participants were “in favor”, ​ “stood aside”, and “blocked” (in the case of a proposal that was not  approved). ​ For any “stand asides” or“blocked” “votes” note the reasons ​ for concern in the notes. The exact language of the adopted proposal is documented along with  whether it has been approved, and which participants were “in favor”, ​ “stood aside”, and “blocked” (in the case of a proposal that was not  approved). ​ For any “stand asides” or“blocked” “votes” note the reasons ​ for concern in the notes.
  
-Section 6: Informal Decision Making+===== Section 6: Informal Decision Making ​=====
  
 The formal consensus process described in Section 5 is reserved for the  most critical decisions made by the Board, namely those that carry the  most negative impact when a poor decision is made.  However, there are  numerous other decisions that must be made (everything from when to  meet, to the language that will go into a draft proposal to be presented ​ to the full Board), both at the level of the full board and of  committees. ​  The process used to make these decisions should still  focus on finding creative solutions by balancing all of the values in  play, and it should support the need to elevate the decision to the  formal consensus process when that is requested by a Board member, while  being nimble enough for daily use. The formal consensus process described in Section 5 is reserved for the  most critical decisions made by the Board, namely those that carry the  most negative impact when a poor decision is made.  However, there are  numerous other decisions that must be made (everything from when to  meet, to the language that will go into a draft proposal to be presented ​ to the full Board), both at the level of the full board and of  committees. ​  The process used to make these decisions should still  focus on finding creative solutions by balancing all of the values in  play, and it should support the need to elevate the decision to the  formal consensus process when that is requested by a Board member, while  being nimble enough for daily use.
Line 265: Line 116:
 The steps for this process are: The steps for this process are:
  
-    - +==== Initial discussion ​====
- +
-Initial discussion+
  
 As in formal consensus, the initial discussion should frame the  decision. ​ In less formal settings, this initial discussion may include ​ proposed criteria or elements of the solution. ​ The smaller the decision ​ (such as agreeing on the next time a committee will meet), the shorter ​ this step will take. As in formal consensus, the initial discussion should frame the  decision. ​ In less formal settings, this initial discussion may include ​ proposed criteria or elements of the solution. ​ The smaller the decision ​ (such as agreeing on the next time a committee will meet), the shorter ​ this step will take.
  
-    - +==== Develop solution ​====
- +
-Develop solution+
  
 As the discussion progresses, the proposed solution should start to take  shape. ​ For larger decisions (such as draft language of a proposal that  will go back to the Board as part of a formal consensus process), the  participants may elect to develop a short list of criteria as part of  developing the solution. ​ As the solution is being developed, the  participants should be looking for points that have not been addressed, ​ are not clear to the entire group, or that need further refinement. As the discussion progresses, the proposed solution should start to take  shape. ​ For larger decisions (such as draft language of a proposal that  will go back to the Board as part of a formal consensus process), the  participants may elect to develop a short list of criteria as part of  developing the solution. ​ As the solution is being developed, the  participants should be looking for points that have not been addressed, ​ are not clear to the entire group, or that need further refinement.
  
-    - +==== Check for completion ​====
- +
-Check for completion+
  
 Periodically,​ the participants should check to see if the solution ​ represents a complete decision. ​ If the answer to the following ​ questions is no, then the solution represents a complete decision and  should be recorded in the appropriate set of minutes Periodically,​ the participants should check to see if the solution ​ represents a complete decision. ​ If the answer to the following ​ questions is no, then the solution represents a complete decision and  should be recorded in the appropriate set of minutes
  
-    ​-+    ​* anyone feels there is anything missing from the solution 
 +    * anyone has any questions about the solution 
 +    * anyone has any additional concerns about the solution 
 +    * anyone is uncomfortable with the solution
  
-anyone feels there is anything missing from the solution +===== Section 7: Blocking and Resolving Blocks ​=====
- +
-    - +
- +
-anyone has any questions about the solution +
- +
-    - +
- +
-anyone has any additional concerns about the solution +
- +
-    - +
- +
-anyone is uncomfortable with the solution +
- +
-Section 7: Blocking and Resolving Blocks+
  
 Before working to resolve a block, it is important to realize that a  block should not be interpreted as a failure by the group, but rather an  indication that more work is needed to reach the decision at hand.   This frame of mind is crucial to successfully working through the  objections being raised and finding the correct balance of the elements ​ in the proposal. Before working to resolve a block, it is important to realize that a  block should not be interpreted as a failure by the group, but rather an  indication that more work is needed to reach the decision at hand.   This frame of mind is crucial to successfully working through the  objections being raised and finding the correct balance of the elements ​ in the proposal.
Line 305: Line 139:
 The first step toward resolving a block comes before the block occurs, ​ namely ensuring that the participants understand when and how to block a  decision. ​ Blocking a decision should be used to protect the goals and  values of the organization,​ not for expressing personal preferences or  values. ​ Specifically,​ it is important that a participant block a  decision if they feel: The first step toward resolving a block comes before the block occurs, ​ namely ensuring that the participants understand when and how to block a  decision. ​ Blocking a decision should be used to protect the goals and  values of the organization,​ not for expressing personal preferences or  values. ​ Specifically,​ it is important that a participant block a  decision if they feel:
  
-    * +    * key elements of the decision are not being addressed 
- +    * when one of the agreed upon criteria is not being met 
-key elements of the decision are not being addressed +    * when the decision is likely to create real danger or harm to the organization,​ its members, or any other people or organizations 
- +    * when one of the organization'​s stated or implied values would be violated by the decision
-    * +
- +
-when one of the agreed upon criteria is not being met +
- +
-    * +
- +
-when the decision is likely to create real danger or harm to the organization,​ its members, or any other people or organizations +
- +
-    * +
- +
-when one of the organization'​s stated or implied values would be violated by the decision+
  
 Ideally, ​ the concerns listed above that warrant a block would be raised ​ during the discussion and refinement of a proposal, but this is not  always the case.  Reasons for this can include everything from a  participant'​s absence during a portion of the discussion to the  participant not realizing they have a concern until they are asked to  agree to the decision. ​ Regardless of the reason, it is important to  approach the block with respect and patience. ​ The consenting members ​ should use appreciative inquiry techniques to seek to understand the  underlying values or previously unexpressed concerns that are leading to  the block. ​ Once the participants understand the source of the block, ​ they should return to Step 4.2 and begin addressing the newly raised ​ concerns, before continuing with the formal consensus process. ​ Note, if  more than one participant has blocked there may be more than one set of  new concerns to address, which should be addressed one at a time. Ideally, ​ the concerns listed above that warrant a block would be raised ​ during the discussion and refinement of a proposal, but this is not  always the case.  Reasons for this can include everything from a  participant'​s absence during a portion of the discussion to the  participant not realizing they have a concern until they are asked to  agree to the decision. ​ Regardless of the reason, it is important to  approach the block with respect and patience. ​ The consenting members ​ should use appreciative inquiry techniques to seek to understand the  underlying values or previously unexpressed concerns that are leading to  the block. ​ Once the participants understand the source of the block, ​ they should return to Step 4.2 and begin addressing the newly raised ​ concerns, before continuing with the formal consensus process. ​ Note, if  more than one participant has blocked there may be more than one set of  new concerns to address, which should be addressed one at a time.