Basic Values for Consensus to Work Well

(Thanks to Caroline Estes & Lysbeth Borie at Alpha Institute for providing much of this information.)

Cooperation
—work together to achieve collective goals
—foster win/win attitude
—recognize that we all come from an individualistic, competitive culture, and work to let go of that
—stay in touch with common purpose
—move away from either/or thinking, toward creative possibilities
—common ownership of ideas

Democracy/Egalitarianism
—expect all to participate (though people can take breaks if needed)
—everyone has a piece of the truth (Quakers – there is that of God in everyone)
—background structures for organization and agenda planning also not hierarchical
functional delegation is ok
—recognize dynamics of social oppression based on factors such as gender, class, ethnicity, age, looks, sexual or relationship orientation, physical ability, etc. and work to alter these dynamics
—appreciate experience and expertise while also welcoming new input
—no coercion, manipulation, or threats

Honesty/Openness
—share all relevant information
value feelings and intuitions as well as “rational” input
—really listen to other people’s ideas
be willing to reconsider your own thinking, in the light of new information
—allow for independent validation of assumptions
—be open to the possibility of transformation!
—as facilitator, represent your skills and limits fairly; admit mistakes; transparency & demystification

Responsibility
—everyone (including facilitator) takes responsibility for themselves and their participation
—everyone also helps support the group
—facilitator is dedicated to process, but the group is still responsible for itself and its decisions

Trust
—yes this really can work
—need a minimum amount of trust to get started, can build from there
—value conflict, “the tension that can arise from difference”
shows that people care; challenge is to use that energy constructively

Beauty
—elegance, simplicity, rightness, ideals

Love
—love each other and the group
—need to do it, whether or not you talk about it
—honoring all