How to Gain Agreement in Groups

A challenge faced by many facilitators is to gain agreement in groups.

We recently explored some options to use to gain agreement in groups.

Often, groups get stuck on what they disagree on and can’t move forward (e.g. in a strategic planning workshop).

A strategy that was worked for me is to use an adapted version of Sam Kaner’s ‘Gradients of Agreement’ model.

Here are the steps.

Step 1. Help the group to clearly articulate the issue (e.g. Our Board should be skills based rather than representative based).

Step 2. Develop your gradient scale identifying how strongly people agree with the issue. It typically is a five point scale that ranges from Strongly Disagree-Disagree-Live With-Agree-Strongly Agree

The scale can be:

  • Laid out on the floor across the room with each point labelled on A4 paper
  • Drawn up on a whiteboard
  • Stuck on walls or windows
  • Entered into an online poll

Step 3. Ask participants to move to the part of the scale that represents their view (or vote on the poll)

Step 4. If the clear majority of people are placing themselves from ‘Live With’ to ‘Strongly Agree’ then move on

Step 5. If there are people placing themselves at ‘Strongly Disagree’ or ‘Disagree’ points, ask them to explain what they don’t like about the proposal. Clarify areas of disagreement. Discuss with group and find out what could be changed to get those disagreeing to shift. Otherwise, get them to propose an alternative.

 

Step 6. Write up the alternative and get participants to place themselves on the scale again. If the clear majority are in the ‘Disagree’ to ‘Strongly Agree’ parts of the gradient, the decision is made and move on. If not, repeat step (vi) above

The key part here is to ensure those in disagreement are heard, their reasoning is better understood and there is clarity regarding how well the option is supported.

Click this link for a quick reference infograph for you to keep or Gaining Agreement in Groupsshare!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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