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Find yourself doing much of that lately?

Maybe it’s the economy?

When times are tight, people get tight.

When people get tight, they can get worried.

When people worry, they can become defensive, aggressive, manipulative, territorial, and often, job-threatened.


Reaching agreement becomes increasingly challenging, and sometimes it feels close to impossible. It can be especially problematic when working with volunteer groups.

When your business or key issues come to a grinding halt, you can:

  1. Draw Straws
  2. Flip a Coin
  3. Go Bonkers
  4. Call in the Police
  5. Work it Out (Recommended)


Working it out, for two people –as those who are married, engaged, courting, living together, or partnered know all too well– means that someone must give up something.

Working it out for three or more might also mean giving stuff up, but more likely –if it’s to be any kind of meaningful reconciliation of divergent thinking– some type of collaborative compromising of interests is generally desirable.

Reaching consensus involves a synergistic process. It means that everyone within the group (team, task force, department, division, company) must agree at least somewhat with the resolve or conclusion or direction reached. Note “somewhat.”

Consensus-seeking can be a very effective leadership/teamwork method of problem solving because it inherently prevents any one person from “winning” a “competition.” Everyone involved must be able to agree that she or he can live with the way things are worked out.

As a device for settling disputes, consensus-seeking flies in the face of traditional American brainwashing to win at all costs. It is (sorry, football fans) not the case that there always needs to be a winner and loser, and that there is no such thing as second place.

For those deep, dark, impulsive, no-constraints,

take-off-the-gloves moments,

go for a referee or umpire.

(You can also always call your Mother-in-law!<) 


For issues that will impact working (or living) together, consensus-seeking leaves all involved parties with some worthy scraps to cling to, allows everyone to save face, and usually prompts a process or procedure or product or production (ah, communicative benefits of alliteration!) to occur that is both measurable and accountable. Because it’s a group-effort pursuit! 

As leader/facilitator, Pfeiffer and Jones suggest in the University Associates Structured Experiences for Human Relations Training, you need to establish consensus-seeking “rules” to help ensure productive results by employing the following guidelines: 

  • No averaging,
  • No “majority rule” voting.
  • No “horse-trading.” 


You need to influence group members to avoid arguing in order to “win” as an individual. Seek instead the best collective judgment of the group as a whole. Conflict on ideas, solutions, predictions, etc. should be viewed as helping rather than hindering the process.

Problems are best solved when individual group members accept responsibility for both hearing and being heard. Tension-reducing behaviors can be useful as long as meaningful conflict is not “smoothed over” prematurely.

The best results flow from a fusion of information, logic, and emotion (feelings). Need a little coaching help? Call me.


302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You,

and God Bless all of our U.S. Troops and Veterans.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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