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Creating Consensus out of Chaos

How does a leader handle large group decision making when you have several conflicting points of view, and several competing “solutions”?

Do you have any ‘wicked’ problem in your organization, city, county, state or nation that you’d like to see resolved?

Want to learn a process that can solve even the most challenging problems in your organization or community?

This virtual or in-person workshop provides a framework for dealing with such challenging situations. It focuses on conflict resolution strategies designed to bring stakeholder groups with opposing or contradictory interests together, to consensus.

Creating Consensus out of Chaos introduces principles, tools, and a process to bridge understanding and develop effective solutions using uncommon methods. Participants discuss real-world problems offered by colleagues, and focus on ‘solving’ those problems using a deliberative process for engagement.

This program on large group decision making can be delivered in four virtual sessions, or in-person in half a day. As with all 4Forward learning experiences this workshop series can be customized to your team’s needs. Here is some of what we will explore together:

  • Differences among adversarial, administrative and deliberative decision making. Among other topics we discuss the limits and flaws of adversarial politics: focus on winning vs. solving problems, and blaming vs. accepting responsibility, incentivizing “bad” communication, and promoting polarization.
  • Deliberative large group decision making in its various forms: deliberative democracy, community problem-solving, collaborative problem-solving, participatory decision making, multi-stakeholder dispute resolution
  • How values inform and power large group decision making, including how values are ranked, relative to each other, and how they are invoked – or compete – in specific situations
  • The importance of impartiality, inclusivity, balanced participation and accuracy of data when facilitating group decision making

We will also look at the differences between tame and wicked problems. In brief, tame problems are those that can be resolved administratively, or through a scientific or engineering approach, even though they may be complex.

Wicked problems however involve competing values, paradoxes and tradeoffs that cannot be resolved through a scientific or engineering approach. In these cases, there’s usually a big question that needs to be answered, there are multiple stakeholders, emotions run strong, and conflicting positions.

What we’ll do then is work through this process for resolving wicked problems, step by step, using issues that your colleagues have presented:

  1. Planning the Process
  2. Setting the Stage
  3. Releasing Steam
  4. Sharing Information
  5. Generating Criteria
  6. Brainstorming Options
  7. Evaluating the Options
  8. Implementation Discussion

Our primary goal, by the time we are done, is to provide a skeletal plan for our colleagues, so that they can take back these ideas back to their organizations or communities.

Our secondary goal is to provide each of you with enough knowledge and confidence that you too can tackle a wicked problem when you get back home.

Through participation in this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Offer an alternative to adversarial or expert-based decision making
  2. Provide a process for public participation in decision making
  3. Solve ‘wicked’ problems facing their communities

Both virtual and in-person workshops are led by a talented team of facilitators including David Giles Luke, author of the book Creating Consensus out of Chaos. All participants will receive a complimentary advance copy of David’s book.

Contact us to learn more!

4Forward brought a level of clarity that we had not seen from other firms. They didn’t bombard us with jargon or complicated training models – just a clear plan to help us get what we needed."

— Craig MacDonald, Former Manager, Training and Curriculum Development

Tourism HR Canada

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