The three most common reactions after an initial introduction to the CONSENT-method are:
- How nice to have a well-supported decision now!
- Wonderful that peace in the meeting! But does it always take so long?
- How do you do that with large groups?
A graphic designer friend has the infographic “fast-cheap-good” hanging above her desk (see the gray graph). For this blog - and an answer to those 3 responses - I translate that image into the CONSENT-method (the colored graph):
The subtitle of the picture - there are many variants on the internet - is always: “You can choose two.”
Explanation of the CONSENT version:
- Good = consult each other in a pleasant and safe atmosphere, where all voices are heard and well-founded decisions are made.
- Fast = Meetings that are efficient and focused, so that the points proper attention and don’t get bent out of shape. Meetings without ever returning topics because decisions are unclear or not complied with.
- Inexpensive = Investments can be translated into manpower and / or energy as well as into money. Cheap could also mean getting as many people as possible moving in one go.
Cheap & Good
Very simple: if you want to reach a good decision with a lot of people - so with a lot of support - it takes a lot of time and patience (adults also have a limited attention span). It is often said "time is money", so you may wonder how cheap this is… In our experience, it is better to divide a large group into small groups.
Fast & Cheap
This is a dangerous combination. This duo is often at the expense of equality and support because there is hardly any room to hear everyone. Sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing. The danger is here that you will sacrifice quality - "good".
Nevertheless, speed is sometimes required. We absolutely do not want to claim that in the event of a fire in a building, the firefighters should first sit quietly in a circle to do all kinds of rounds. Some situations simply require action. Please note: A clear structure determined in advance will result in "fast & cheap" at the critical moment. The investment is in the preparation. Again: is that cheap?
Fast & Good
If you create the right circumstances (clear group, peace, safety), you will efficiently arrive at supported decisions. Note: fast does not mean “rush”! It means investing in good preparation.
Back to those firefighters. If they are in a hurry and with a lot of people start running around in circles that is hardly useful. The better alternative:
- They have invested time in their preparation - both in the equipment and in the team and structure.
- When a call is made, they first take inventory (What is going on? What information do we have?).
- A good commander will certainly take the team's opinion into decisions.
Although decisions are made top-down in the moment, equality in the sense of mutual respect and trust will definitely benefit the functioning of a team (firefighters in this case).
- Everyone has their own, specific, predetermined task.
- They close an action with a moment of reflection.
Do you recognize the elements of the CONSENT method?
Would you like to experience for yourself how the method works? Then join an introduction.