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How to Build a Consensus among Your Employees

Build consensus among your employees when you need them to agree on a business issue or solve a business problem. Consensus building among employees doesn't mean stifling viewpoints, initiatives, or alternative solutions. Your team members may have very different feelings about an issue, but you can get everyone’s genuine support.

  • Define your goal. Are you trying to develop a new product? Are you designing a marketing campaign?

  • Choose your players. Identify the decision makers, but also consider inviting those who may be impacted by the goal.

  • Set the ground rules. Everyone should be able to express his or her opinion, unless it ventures into a personal attack.

  • Test the waters. How far apart are the members’ views and attitudes? If they’re polar opposites, you need more time to reach a consensus.

  • Discard invalid assumptions. Find out why someone is opposed to, or in favor of, a position. That person may have an incorrect assumption, so ask questions to clarify viewpoints.

  • Encourage reasoning. You don’t want people simply to disagree. Ask questions that lead people through logical steps of, “If this, then that.”

  • Keep emotions in check. If emotions are running high, take a break and meet individually with the team members who are locking horns.

  • Reach a consensus. As a last resort, if your team truly cannot reach a consensus, go with the majority opinion.

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