Questions and Answers
Intentional Community Resources
What is an Intentional Community?
Meadowdance News
Agreements and Intentions
Contact Us
Links Home

Formal Consensus

Meadowdance uses a decision-making structure called Formal Consensus. If you have used a process called "consensus" that involved everybody sitting around and arguing about something until somebody got so frustrated s/he gave up, Formal Consensus is not what you are familiar with. Formal Consensus is structured, fair, participatory, creative, effective, and even (believe it or not) efficient.

One distinguishing element of Formal Consensus as compared with many other democratic systems (e.g. voting, "informal consensus" as described above) is that an individual's focus is on resolving concerns, not on trying to win over or change the mind of someone with a different opinion. In other words, if you are voting and someone disagrees with you, you have to muster votes to defeat the other person. If you are participating in a Formal Consensus process and someone disagrees with you, they express their reservations and then everyone participates in trying to find some way to address those reservations. Thus Formal Consensus is an excellent method for finding win-win answers.

A great deal more and higher-quality information on the subject is available in the document On Conflict and Consensus, which is available for free online.