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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 55: How to achieve consensus

I have always endeavoured to listen to what each and every person in a discussion has to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will represent a consen­sus of what I heard in the discussion.

Nelson Mandela, South African statesman

Consent involves the will or the feelings and indicates compliance with what is requested, desired or necessary. In order to achieve the state of consensus in a group, time must be allowed for each member who wishes to speak to state an opinion – a personal judgement or belief falling short of positive knowledge – fully enough to get the feeling that others really do understand them.

This condition is necessary, otherwise a person who is speaking in opposition ...

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