Consultants and facilitators are typically assigned to assist groups in working in tandem to develop solutions to resolve issues, accomplish goals, or resolve issues. One of the abilities that are essential for them to have is their ability to create consensus even when there seems to be a significant disagreement. I’ve found it beneficial to consider disagreements on three levels. Additionally, we use five fundamental consensus-building strategies based on the severity of the disagreement.
Why do people disagree?
Our experience with hundreds of organizations over the last five years has helped us to classify disagreements into three main types. In other words, there is a tendency for people to disagree due to one of three main reasons and, more often than not, because of the first reason:
They haven’t clearly been able to understand and comprehend the arguments of each other and the motives for supporting them. (Level 1: They’re not listening to each one)
They’ve heard and comprehended; however, they may have had diverse experiences or hold different values, which lead to having a preference for one choice over one over the other (Level 2. They possess different beliefs or experiences)
The dispute is caused by personality, the previous relationship with one another, or other elements that do not have anything related to the alternative (Level 3: External external factors)
The facilitator can use techniques to deal with the first two motives. But a disagreement that is based on personality or circumstances (Level 3) cannot be resolved in the course of the meeting. It is therefore essential to determine the cause of the dispute as fast as you can to avoid wasting time.
Resolving a Level 3 Disagreement
What is the best way to identify an argument that is at a level 3? If the argument is not based on the basis of logic or the two parties involved do not have a desire to resolve the disagreement, The issue is likely to be a matter of personality or historical events. If that is the case, then consider the following plan of decision-making:
Pause for a while. Have a private meeting with the parties to inform them that you don’t think the problem can be resolved during the meeting.
Get agreement to bring an upper source for resolution outside of the session. In the end, let a higher-level within the company make the final decision. Both parties reach out to the source in a group to clarify the problem.
Don’t try to resolve your issue in the course of the meeting! Most issues that are related to personality or circumstances require more time than you could afford to invest in.
If the cause of the dispute is in Levels 1 and 2, then we suggest using the appropriate methods for building consensus:
Discussion of Strengths and weaknesses
The Building Criteria List and the Scoring Options
Converging on an Alternative
In the remainder of this piece, we will concentrate on the three first methods to reach a consensus.
As we have mentioned before, the most common reason for disagreement is that they haven’t fully understood the other’s argument and the reasons behind it. Sometimes, we can offer excellent service by making it possible to silence the first side, and then listen to the second side, and then to silence the second side and let people listen only to the other side. Simply by listening to each other and letting the parties who disagree realize that they aren’t in the slightest! This, I believe, is the goal of “Delineating the alternatives” will be about.
Start by confirming: “We seem to all be in agreement that …”
Verify the root that caused the dispute: “Where we seem to disagree is…is this correct?”
Write down the topic under discussion as well as the alternative on one flip chart. (You can write them according to how you think about them or let the participants dictate what they want to write.)
Problem: Will salespeople be willing to use the laptop computer?
Option 1: Take a survey to discover
Alternative 2: Conduct an uninvolved pilot
In each case, ask specific questions to the supporter for each 4. alternative. Record answers on the chart. The questions must help that the participants understand the following:
How many years
Who and What is in the picture?
Once every alternative has been delineated, then check to determine the consensus. Was reached. It is easy to determine this by focusing on those who disagree. If one party appears to have changed their mind towards the other option, you can ask to be non-threatening to determine if consensus has been achieved.
Even if a consensus has not been reached, defining options first will allow discussion to continue on an understanding of the critical questions. Facilitators can make use of other methods for building consensus (e.g., Strength and Weaknesses, Merging Weighted Score, or Converging) to help the group come to reach a consensus.
Recognizing strengths and weaknesses
If there isn’t a consensus through delineation, we would suggest beginning to identify what strengths and weak points of every option.
The entire group should focus on a single option and then point to the strengths of this alternative. Then, discuss identify the strengths of the second alternative.
After you’ve identified the advantages of every option that has been determined, have all participants review what weaknesses are present in each choice. It’s crucial to identify what strengths are shared by both options first, prior to discussing one’s weaknesses.
Another option is to include each person who is not in the agreement provide the advantages of the alternative they oppose. The one who supports the alternative will then be able to explain the weak points of the alternative they support. (This method allows for active listening and also helps those who disagree to see the opposing perspective.) This strategy offers “value” to every alternative prior to giving the participants the chance to “devalue” by engaging in discussions about weaknesses. In many cases, it is the case that weaknesses are comparable with the advantages of the other alternative. Once you have identified this connection, you will be able to reduce the time spent discussing the weak points.
Do not assign a defender of an alternative to provide its strengths. This could serve to further divide the group.
After weaknesses and strengths were identified with respect to each option After that, you can determine whether consensus has been reached.
Remember that the Level 2 disagreement is based on different experiences or beliefs. Through our strengths and weakness assessment that you can assist the group in identifying the fundamental values that result in participants deciding to support one option over the other. Even if no consensus has been achieved, the process of identifying the underlying values will give the group an understanding of the basis to move forward. Facilitators could then employ any of the other consensus-building methods (e.g., Merging and Converging, Weighted Score, etc.)) to help the group come to reach a consensus.
If the group is unable to agree on weaknesses and strengths, The following method we suggest is to develop an alternative that combines the main advantages of the two options. We refer to this method as “Merging.”
Guide the group to the charts, identifying the advantages of every one of the options.
You can ask, “For this first alternative, What are the two or three strongest strengths?” (Place an asterisk beside the two strengths you have that you have identified.)
The one or two advantages of the alternative.
Suppose you can Draw a circle that represents the main strengths of the alternative. Ask, “Is there an opportunity to develop an alternative that incorporates these strengths? Do you have a solution that has … (read your strengths)? What does it need to be like?”
When one or more promising possibilities are discovered, have the group pick five. one that holds the most significant potential and defines it. (See the previous tip for Delineation.)
Merging is often the primary strategy to develop options that are beneficial to all members of the group. Typically, we use the Delineate-Strengths/Weaknesses-Merge process in sequence. You might find that the group is eager to cut the process short early and develop new solutions in an opportunity!
Techniques like these aid in moving a group in the right direction. Be sure to be aware of the needs of the group and the reasons for disagreement in order to employ the correct strategy to build consensus.