The Problem With Majority Decisions

How to Make Better Decisions

In a democratic society, decisions are voted on. Majority rules! It’s the recommended approach in Roberts Rules of Order, for example, where each member of the decision team gets to speak for or against a motion, followed by a vote to decide the action to take. What’s the a problem with this approach?


Majority Rules!

The problem with majority votes? There’s a minority who still want to be recognized. Like snipers, they lie in wait for a second chance.

While the action proceeds under the power of majority rules, there is an undercurrent of dissent that can emerge at awkward times and slow down the progress.

Decision by Consensus is obtaining unanimous support for a decision. The Roberts Rules approach can be used to build Consensus if one more step is added: Modify the motion to accommodate the needs of the minority voters. If done well, a Consensus Decision has a much better – almost guaranteed – chance of success. Inherent in this approach is the assumption that everyone who will be impacted by the action is a party to the decision-making process. Then, everyone wins because everyone supports the decision.

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