Consensus Thinking

Gaining consensus thinking within an organisation is as important as having well defined company procedures, if business initiatives are to work effectively. This applies to a range of situations such as selecting which brand values to promote in marketing materials or for describing the work flows in different parts of the business. If everyone assumes a different idea about how things should be handled, the resulting messages will be unclear and the results conflicted. Getting consensus thinking on basic concepts is an important first step in achieving clear communication.

Why do differences in thinking arise in organisations?

This is mainly due to the diverse viewpoints experienced by people in different parts of the business.  Sometimes other opinions have also to be taken into account, such as those of a board of governors or trades union bodies. An outside facilitator such as Salesnet, can be useful in bringing the thinking of disparate groups together. This can also be done in-house following these steps:

  • Describe the issue to be addresses e.g. ‘What is the hierarchy of brand values to appear on the website?’ or ‘What is the process that takes a new enquiry from inbound form to a presales executive?’
  • Analyse the issue in question: use a SWOT analysis to clarify ideas or create a flow chart to describe company processes
  • Identify areas of disagreement or process bottlenecks
  • Work together to reach consensus
  • Agree the outcomes of the discussions
  • Implement the agreed changes

Gaining consensus thinking can be a time consuming process but will bring big rewards by unlocking barriers to the effective working of a business.

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