Saturday, January 17, 2009


tony morgan posts a great article on consensus: I'd love to hear your response.

I’m growing more and more convinced that the worst thing an organization can do is try to reach a consenus about something. Think government. Think church committee meetings. Think declining big business.

On the surface, reaching a consensus seems like a positive thing because it means people have agreed to move in the same direction. That’s a good thing isn’t it?

Actually, I’m not convinced that’s the case. For example, here are:

5 Reasons Why Consensus Sucks

  1. It embraces the status quo. Change, whether positive or not, is not human nature. We would prefer for things to remain the way they are today. So, when people get together to discuss the possibility of doing something a little different in the future, it’s normal for the majority to avoid making changes.
  2. It gives the malcontents an equal voice in your decision. Reaching consensus gives everyone a voice at the table. When that happens, even the negative, bitter folks that don’t really embrace the vision have the opportunity to pull the rest of the group away from what could really be the most desirable outcome.
  3. It short circuits the radical ideas that lead to the biggest breakthroughs. The big, bold ideas won’t see the light of day. Yet those are the ideas that could potentially lead to the best innovations. Consensus brings people back to the middle where the majority approves but mediocrity reigns.
  4. It leaves unresolved conflict on the table. At the opposite ends of a decision are distinct opinions which, if left unresolved, could potentially lead to division. Consensus prevents tough conversations from happening. It gives people the freedom to jump to compromise without engaging a healthy debate.
  5. It discourages people from dreaming big dreams. Want to neuter the creative-thinkers and entrepreneurs and visionaries in your organization? Force them to reach consensus with the rest of the crowd. These are the people that make you uncomfortable. They can drive you crazy. That’s OK. They’ll just go work someplace else if you keep forcing them to compromise their dreams.

What do you think? Do you agree? Or, have you actually seen consensus work? What would you add or delete from the list?


Walking Church said...

This is a no brainer!

defn of Autocracy:
1.government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch.
2.a nation, state, or community ruled by an autocrat.
3.unlimited authority, power, or influence of one person in any group. (courtesy of

* Leave consensus to things of this world - it has no place in the Church lead by Jesus Christ. There is nothing outside of Jesus Christ nor will there be.

Leave these flesh patterns behind and operate in the Spirit...His Spirit.

I am so tired of hearing people trying to govern Spiritual affairs with carnal abilities.

In Christ Alone said...

I have read this article over several times and am having mixed reactions to it. I just wonder what not reaching a consensus would look like in gov't or church or whatever.
I agree with every point...and it kinda bothers me that I do...although how freeing is that kind of thinking and how many people could actually realize their ideas and dreams...(within their lifetime lol) if this were the way things were done.
In reality though if everyone at the table had a real voice that was heard.... would chaos ensue, anger, division? I don't know, maybe we haven't matured enough to handle the conflicting ideas of each other and exhibit grace at the same time. Our listening skills are horrendous and other than our way is the only way (even when it comes to our thoughts on Him whom (or is it who) decides all things for that the same for you? Big, big, wonderful ideas but do I see this in any way shape or form....nope, not really...but wouldn't it be grand to try? If we closed our mouths at least as much time as we opened them and truly allowed others to present their ideas....? That is radical! It sort of means giving others a chance to work through thoughts, feelings, ideas and revelations before squashing them needlessly into the ever-nonchanging way of doing group decision making. It means we all need to be at a place of responsible dignity and respect for each other's voice and place in their journeying...and I don't think most of us are there yet. Perhaps because it is not cost-effective? Just my thoughts.

In Him,