Groups make decisions by a variety of means. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Informal voting results in majority (but seldom unanimous) decisions. A group leader can also arbitrarily decide for the group. These decision methods evidence little involvement, thus little commitment to the decision. Here is how to arrive at a group consensus.
With your group, discuss the pros and cons of a proposed decision. Each group member can select one of five options:
1. I fully agree with the decision.
2. I accept the decision.
3. I accept the decision, but I’m not happy with it.
4. I don’t agree with the decision, but I won’t block it.
5. I don’t agree with the decision, and feel we should explore other options.
If all group members have selected options 1. through 4., a consensus has been reached. If any group member selects option 5., a consensus has not been reached. To avoid the groupthink trap, more discussion is in order (see also Independent Thinking).