Consensus Decision-Making: Facilitation Case Study
In our experience, the value of consensus decision-making is directly proportional to the length of time it has been absent in corporate practice. In other words, absence does make the heart (and the head) grow fonder.
This business had three partners, each of whom were valuable contributors to the company’s success, yet each of whom was managing their part of the business with such a degree of independence that every employee was literally part of two groups: us (our operation) and them. The partners wanted to foster a greater “spirit of collaboration’, yet how to do this? What would this “spirit of collaboration” look like? How would we know we were successful?
We facilitated a team-building session for everyone at the company, at this time with approximately 70 employees. At this meeting we went through the following steps.
People were formed along cross-functional lines, so each working group had at least one person from each function represented. The burning questions to be answered: “What does the ‘spirit of collaboration’ look like at our company?” “What are the tangible results we would realize if we improve and implement the ‘spirit of collaboration’ at our company?”
Report and Capture Results
We had each group record their answers on 3-M flip chart pages, posted around the room. We then had each group report their findings to everyone.
Prioritizing, Voting and Final Selection
After each response was reviewed, we consolidated and facilitated voting, resulting in a list of six identifiers for “What does the ‘spirit of collaboration’ look like at our company?” and six identifiers for “What are the tangible results we would realize if we improve and implement the ‘spirit of collaboration’ at our company?”
After some very heated discussion, everyone realized that it didn’t matter who “owned” what percentage of the company; what mattered was the degree to which people were involved in decision-making that helped drive the company’s success and growth. When we returned one year later and then again two years later, in one-on-one conversation, focus groups and company-wide, we verified that a true ‘spirit of collaboration’ was not just a catch-phrase, it was a reality which was producing tangible growth and improving corporate performance – they increased their growth rate by almost 33% in Year One and by almost 50% in Year Two, so everyone was enjoying a larger share in success, not just the three partners.
For More Information
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