Consensus oriented decision-making: the rigour's in the detail

I’ve been reflecting on our recent blog interview with Tim Hartnett originator of Consensus oriented decision-making (CODM). We focused quite a lot on the rigour that the 7 steps of CODM bring to the decision-making process. In his book Tim’s defined the steps in detail,  the detail does seem to provide facilitators and groups with an approach more likely to lead to good quality consensus that the undefined ‘organic’ process often used. However the interview wasn’t the place to explore the 7 steps in detail. For the real detail you’ll have to get hold of a copy of the book. But Tim’s kindly sent over his “CODM Crib Sheet” – a checklist for facilitators – which we’ve reproduced below. Hopefully it will give you a sense of the detail of the process:

Step One: Framing the Topic

  1. Collect agenda items
  2. Clarify the essence, goals, and appropriate process for each issue
  3. Interview a sample of group members
  4. Identify and delegate useful pre-meeting research
  5. Introduce the discussion

Step Two: Open Discussion

  1. Inspire an open-minded, creative discussion
  2. Provide guidelines and structure for the discussion
  3. Manage the discussion
  4. Support full and varied participation
  5. Record the ideas generated on an “Idea Chart”

Step Three: Identifying Underlying Concerns

  1. Ask the group to identify all the stakeholders affected by the issue.
  2. List all underlying concerns of each stakeholder on an “Underlying Concerns Chart.”
  3. Gather all the identified concerns to form the basis for collaborative proposal development.

Step Four: Collaborative Option Development (Barn-building)

  1. Describe the collaborative process of taking turns to build multiple proposals
  2. Help the group select “root ideas” on which to develop proposals
  3. Use a “Proposal Development Chart” to help the group develop each option to its full potential.

Step Five: Choosing a Direction

  1. Check for readiness to choose a direction
  2. Analyze the proposal options
  3. Use preference gradient voting to choose which option to develop further

Step Six: Synthesizing a Final Proposal

  1. Review any unsatisfied concerns
  2. Identify details that might improve the proposal
  3. Select which details to include in the proposal
  4. Compose final wording for the proposal and a process deciding for any unresolved details.

Step Seven: Closure