I did a talk on how I reached consensus for a decision in my church project team recently and I thought to share some of my insights with you.
Here a quick overview of the scenario: A Foundation which takes in unwanted or neglected babies until they can be adopted and which we have been supporting for some time was experiencing an unusual increase in babies being dropped off for care. They were in dire need to increase their living space and to improve the adoption process of the babies.
My first learning point was that I identified 3 different stakeholder groups:
  • my project team
  • our church leadership
  • the beneficiary of the decision, the baby haven.
Secondly, I was surprised that consensus building turned out to be a journey not just a process. The process is pretty straight forward:
  • Discuss the options
  • Identify the concerns
  • Ensure participation
  • Reach consensus
The options were:
to get a much bigger place so that the number of babies and caregivers could be cared for.
A concern was the cost - the baby haven depends entirely on donations.
The 2nd option was for the Foundation:
  • to employ their own social worker which would speed up the adoption process, also with the concern of cost but on a much smaller scale.
During several weeks I kept interacting with all three stakeholder groups, making sure everyone was on board and on the same page.
I am happy to report that the final outcome was the commitment for my church's financial support towards the employment of a social worker at the Foundation
The journey was well worth travelling!