Problem solving through consensus or compromise?

As the leader of the organization which has successfully identified the root cause of the problems, the question you may now face is which approach to take in developing and implementing solutions.  It’s a given that you have the courage to bring together both the leadership team and employees to develop the solution so let’s take a look a couple of things.

Do you develop and implement solutions through consensus or compromise?  Does it really matter?  Yes, it really does matter.  Look at the definitions of both words.  Consensus is usually defined as a general agreement or judgment arrived at by most of the individuals involved.  Think of consensus as being a general agreement reached through mutual accord or harmony.

Compromise is defined as a settlement which has been reached either through consent or arbitration with both involving mutual concessions.  So what’s really the difference here?  Compromise and consensus can achieve the same goal but there is a down side to the compromise approach.  Most folks think of compromise as a give and take approach.  If you end up believing that you’ve given up more than you’ve received, there’s a tendency to feel cheated.  How motivated would the parties be to implement solutions to problems they feel were forced on them?  What are some of the long term consequences of an unpopular compromise?  How much better off would your organization be if you hired a problem solving consultant who facilitated consensus?  You decide.

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