Judy Crockett

Judy Crockett
Judy Crockett

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Consensus Building vs. Winning

Over the past two months, I have been listening to voices on two sides of an important issue in our community. Interestingly enough, both sides have the same ultimate goal; yet the individuals involved see a different path toward achieving that common goal.

I have spent time one-on-one with various members of the nonprofit boards impacted by this conflict, searching for common ground to take baby steps to go forward as each side earns the trust and respect of the other. It has been a frustrating process of one step forward, two steps back.
So why is there a lack of traction and forward momentum?

As I enjoyed solitude on a quiet beach last night, it occurred to me some of the individuals involved in this conflict seem more bent on "winning" than on "consensus building". Giving, during the give and take process, is seen by some as a weakness and as loosing rather than an act of maturity in the negotiation process. This attitude has created an environment where it has been difficult to meet the needs of everyone involved.

When we come to the table to resolve problems, if we truly want to move forward and find solutions, we must be willing to let go of our personal attachment to our ideas. The goal at the table should be to find solutions that work for the common good of all, rather than to "win." Good negotiators build consensus and let go of the concept of, "I am going to get my way! I am going to win!" We cannot bully our way into consensus.

A true win at the end of the day is when all parties feel respected, heard, and considered when working as teams to resolve conflict. When working toward an outcome that truly meets the needs and common good of all, it takes maturity and good self confidence to be willing to let go of the personal idea of being the winner.

After all, in the end, if there is no consensus, and the project falls apart, what is the prize for the winner?


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I am concerned we have been developing the bully approach more and more the last eight years - - first with congress, then with Donald Trump. Are we teaching our children to behave like bullies?

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