Facilitation with a Consensus Building Approach

By — on / Negotiation Skills

Recent delays at a manufacturing company have cut deeply into company profits. The management appoints a multi-departmental team to come up with a way of speeding up the launch of new products. A vice president of manufacturing is put in charge of overseeing the effort and is encouraged to use consensus building techniques to take into account every relevant department.

A consensus building approach allows groups to reach an overwhelming agreement among relevant stakeholders and maximize possible gains to everyone. This approach employs a neutral facilitator to canvass all of the possible stakeholders.

In this case, a team leader taps a trained facilitator to speak with each of the employees most involved in recent product launches and then prepares a written analysis of the possible reasons for launch delays based on the interviews. The facilitator also prepares suggested ground rules and agendas for team meetings.

After initial interviews and comments, the facilitator produces a final report with proposed recommendations to take back to each department for comment. The report is final when no one can come up with new ways to create additional value. And the facilitator has helped the company solve the problem by making sure all stakeholders had a say.

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