At The Latimer Group, we’ve been talking lately about the difference between Persuasion and Consensus. The question came up in our discussions among our colleagues and clients about whether Consensus is always necessarily a good thing. We wrote recently that it is — that we can persuade our coworkers toward a certain outcome, but if we can then make them feel good about it — build consensus — that it makes for a more positive workplace experience overall.
The caveat, however, comes when you need to elicit a decision, or some other progress toward an outcome. In short, sometimes in an effort to build consensus among a group, progress can be hindered if too many members of the group have “veto power” along the way. We wrote about this in greater detail in our last blog post.
Consensus is a good thing, borne of respect and awareness of others’ perspectives. We should strive to build it among our teammates whenever possible. But it’s not always an “at all costs” concept. If it’s getting in the way of progress and the decision-making process, then consider simply persuading to the outcome you need.
Thanks, as always, to the team at Switch and Shift, a business blog focusing on “the human side of business,” where we contribute regularly. Our latest post, “Go Further Than Persuading. Build Consensus,” can be found here. And as always, your comments and feedback are welcome.