For Planning, Consensus Can Be the Devil

Running any sort of planning workshop is hard enough. Unfortunately many managers make it even harder when they focus on trying to gain consensus for every detail. Collaboration is necessary if you want to build ownership and commitment, but over-collaboration can be paralysing.

At best, consensus helps to involve everyone and promote fairness. At worst spending too much time finding consensus can produce:

  • Procrastination and time wasting

  • Mediocre solutions

  • Politics and positioning

  • Compromised goals, objectives and plans

Is consensus always necessary? No. What is necessary is finding the right solutions for your team and the path they are going to take to achieve their goals.

So think twice before you feel the need to take the opinions of the minority into account. Here are some things you need to do in order to make consensus work:

1. Explain the reality

People can