Social moment #4: troubled decision-making

What can we do?

# Embrace resistance to explore untapped creative ideas: Systemic Konsensing1

The Systemic Konsensing (SK) method honors and embraces resistance as an indicator for further creative potential, and helps to make decisions with strong group support. Below we offer a script/score that you can use to immediately get started. 

Use a large piece of paper, flipchart, or likewise to visualize this step-by-step process as you walk through it:

  1. Question: Formulate the question/situation you want to make a decision on, together. Write it down as a question for all to see. 
  2. Passive Solution: Formulate the ‘passive solution’ – e.g. what happens ‘by default’ if you don’t make a decision on this? Write it down.
  3. Suggestions: Collect (write down) suggestions for alternative solutions from group members. Allow clarifying questions (if you have enough time, you could collect pros and cons to each suggestion), but try not to argue about suggestions – trust the process. Continue until no further suggestions are made. 
  4. Rating: Read each suggestion (including the passive solution) aloud, ask everybody to feel their inner resistance to this option and rate it on a predetermined scale (e.g. from 0 to 10 fingers, or from 0 to 2 hands2). When everybody has found their answer, share – everybody at once – by show of hands. Calculate the sum and write it down, then proceed to the next suggestion. 
  5. Ranking: Rank all suggested options in terms of their respective total (or average) resistance. The solutions with the lowest resistance are good candidates for a sustainable group decision. Choose together what you will do with this result, e.g.:
    • implement it, or 
    • iterate the process to find better solutions.
  6. Take a moment to celebrate your process/result! 

This process is usually guided by a moderator, who ideally does not participate herself in the voting.

 1 For further details, see https://www.sk-prinzip.eu/

2 Rating: Note that ‘0’ means everything between enthusiastic agreement and ‘I’m okay with this’, whereas higher values indicate the level of resistance, all the way up to a clear ‘no-go’. Importantly, nobody is obliged to justify their indicated resistance. However, they are always invited to propose better alternatives, as significant resistance to a given option indicates high potential for further improvement.