People in teams, from senior leadership down to tech and product teams, often believe that they are aligned around a particular direction and certainly usually aspire to be aligned. But actually achieving real consensus is hard. Here are some tips for getting there.
Get people in a room talking – don’t try to achieve consensus via email or networking tools
Commence the process by framing the topic and focus the discussion to ensure the group does not get side-tracked.
Get everyone to explain what they believe the strategy or direction to be, and get specific. It’s easy for a group to sound aligned while the discussion is at a high-level but explaining what is actually meant can unearth differing interpretations
Identify underlying concerns and make sure everyone has the opportunity to speak
Distil the points on which the group agrees and isolate the outstanding concerns for further discussion and agreement – choose a direction
Play back to people what they have said and seek clarification that this is actually what was meant
Write points down in the session on a whiteboard and get the group to agree that this is what was meant – this often leads to further discussion and clarification
Send round a communication after the session confirming what was agreed, and if possible do a face-to-face communication to explain it to the wider organisation
Use the set of agreements in follow-up meetings and keep reinforcing what was agreed
If you need help in formulating a direction and getting consensus, please contact interim.team.