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Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making (PDF)
The CODM Model for Facilitating Groups to Widespread Agreement
For any group or organization to function effectively, it must be able to make decisions well. Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making is the first book to offer groups (and group facilitators) a clear and efficient path togenerating widespread agreement while fostering full participation and true collaboration.
Poised to become the new standard for group facilitation, Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making combines:
- Deep insight into complex group dynamics
- Effective conflict resolution techniques
- Powerful communication skills.
Groups using this simple, step-by step approach experience increased cohesion and commitment and stronger relationships as a result of their successful cooperation.
Incorporating the principles of collaboration, inclusion, empathy, and open-mindedness, the CODM process encourages shared ownership of group decisions. The method can be used in any group situation, regardless of whether the final decision-making power rests with a single person or team, a vote of members, or unanimity.
Business, government, non-profit, social and community organizations can all benefit from Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making. Whether you are a designated facilitator or an active participant, understanding this powerfulframework will help you contribute to the success of your group through achieving maximum participation and efficiency, a clearer decision-making process, better decisions, and improved group dynamics.
Tim Hartnett, Ph.D. is a group facilitator and mediator who blends extensive knowledge of non-violent communication with insightful understanding of group dynamics and effective techniques for conflict resolution. He practices as a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in individual counseling, couples therapy, and parenting after separation. He is also the founder of a small intentional community in Santa Cruz, CA.
"This practical and intelligent guide to consensus-oriented decision-making is a must read for people of good will who are engaged in decision-making and progress. Regardless of how much or how little you work in the decisionmaking space, this guide will be of immense value."
Fred Keeley, Former Speaker pro Tempore, California State Assembly
"A highly usable and practical guide to navigating the challenging waters of groups acting together. This guide helps me be more consistently effective: it takes what I've intuitively done as an experienced facilitator and puts it into a clear step-wise model. For those less experienced, it will help you avoid many painful pitfalls."
Susan Partnow, Founder: Global Citizen Journey; Co-founder: Converstation Cafes and Let's Talk America; Senior facilitator: The Compassionate Listening Project
"Tim Hartnett gets it right when he calls consensus an "orientation" rather than a rigid rule or method for decision making. The consensus approach yields the greatest benefits to those groups that build a bit of skill with the process and do a bit of planning when using it. Hartnett's book provides tips and tools that can help groups get smarter about how they use consensus, and it steers clear of the mysticism and hyperbole surrounding consensus orientation. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to make their group more democratic, more deliberative, and more effective."
John Gastil, Professor, Dept of Communication, U Washington, author of Democracy in Small Groups
"This book arrives at just the right time — when citizens everywhere are looking for practical solutions to the impasse and gridlock that seems to be blocking progress on a wide range of day-to-day concerns. Hartnett's book will be a guidebook for serious people, in the US and around the planet, looking for a simple approach to finding common ground with neighbors, colleagues, and partners everywhere."
Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State
Dr. Hartnett's book shows that consensus building is both an art and a science. This is a blueprint for creating legitimate democracy."
Kris Jacobs, Executive Director, JOBS NOW Coalition
"Are you frustrated by that common challenge called group decision-making? Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making can help! Clearly written and well organized, keep this book by your side and refer to it often. Groups you are part of will function better as a result."
Peggy Holman, author, Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity and co-author, The Change Handbook
"Succinct, thoughtful, and complete. So many groups (including elected officials and government agencies!) get lost in the search for consensus with the best of intentions — this guidebook shows clearly how to get to a decision in the best spirit of democracy."
Richard Conlin, President, Seattle City Council
"In an age often characterized by adversarial partisanship and division, Tim Hartnett's excellent book could not have come at a more crucial time. His immensely practical process of Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making provides a framework of participatory communication, mutual respect, and facilitation steps that can strengthen any group of any size. The decisions the process produces will be built on a solid and trusted foundation."
Dudley Weeks, Ph.D., author of The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution
"I thoroughly enjoyed Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making in which author Tim Hartnett uses his keen insight and far-reaching experience to present the reader with a truly integrative model of decision making. This book is an excellent introduction to consensus process, a valuable resource book for groups already practicing consensus who want to become more efficient, and a handy reference book for professional facilitators. The content is wellorganized and comprehensive and the reader can't help but be inspired by Harnett's passion for his subject."
Adam Wolpert, Co-Founder Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
"Tim Hartnett has done a fabulous job of synthesizing information in a nondogmatic manner from a variety of fields including facilitation, mediation as well as consensus processes. The CODM methodology is an incredible resource — clearly written, easy to understand and with great examples — for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge in group dynamics and facilitation. Highly recommended."
Shakil Choudhury, Senior Partner, Anima Leadership
"Tim Hartnett has produced a practical, balanced, and accessible guide to helping groups make decisions in a timely and effective way, using processes designed to maximize participation and ownership. This is a book that all facilitators will find useful, regardless their experience, client profile, or approach to their craft."
John Butcher, President, Associates in Planning Inc., Ottawa, and former Canada Regional Representative to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF)
"I am so grateful for the timely appearance of this book on our planet. It offers concrete guidance for group wisdom to emerge in decision-making that takes into account all stakeholders. The author presents a wealth of insights and suggestions in such a clear conceptual framework. I feel immediately inspired to re-vision the way I facilitate meetings."
Lucy Leu, co-author of NVC Toolkit for Facilitators and Nonviolent Communication Companion Workbook
"As a facilitator of frequent public meetings with City Councils and citizens groups, I value this book both because it puts the entire consensus-based decision-making process in a clear and concise container, and because it includes a host of real-life examples and techniques that can be put to immediate use. Tim Hartnett has created an easy-to-read, step-by-step guide that will be effective for both facilitators and participants in a host of settings."
David Early, Founding Principal, Design, Community & Environment, Berkeley, California
"In Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making, Tim Hartnett has provided a practical and yet imaginative primer on how to approach group decision making in an inclusive way. Tim emphasizes the importance of both participation and efficiency in decision making, two potentially conflicting goals that are both honored by the CODM approach in a creative and effective way. For anyone organizing, leading, facilitating, or participating in an important group decision making process, this book provides a valuable resource."
Bernie Mayer, Professor, Werner Institute for Negotiation and Decision Making, Creighton University, author of Dynamics of Conflict Resolution, Beyond Neutrality, and Staying With Conflict
"Tim Hartnett's book is a one-stop shop for effective collaboration. It offers a straightforward, skillful seven-step process for facilitating people with diverse views and experience to agreement on outcomes and implementation. This book goes into the top ten facilitation manuals and workbooks in my bookshelf."
Laurie McCann, University of California Santa Cruz campus ombudsman
"Dr. Tim Hartnett's contribution to the world of facilitation and conflict resolution will make a valuable addition to the library of anyone who works with or as part of a group. His Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making model covers all aspects of group decision-making and illustrates applied collaboration. The book's theory is grounded in practice, demonstrated by down to earth examples that include group living situations, non-profit boards and work teams. In his presentation of the process and skills, Hartnett includes "shortcuts" to allow any group to adapt the model according to the nature of the group and the particular issue at hand. He also includes communication skills essential for facilitators and helpful for every group member. For "old hands" at facilitation, Hartnett provides a valuable refresher with some new wrinkles. For aspiring facilitators, he offers a definite overview and invaluable guide. And to groups seeking a cooperative approach, he bestows a must-read on applied collaboration."
Gary Harper, author of The Joy of Conflict Resolution
"With this comprehensive yet elegantly simple guide to decision-making, Hartnett gets it right. Use this roadmap to turn ideals and ideas into lasting change."
Kevin Ristau, Board Chair, League of Rural Voters
"Command and control is an archaic style of leadership in today's business world. Dr. Hartnett's book is a wonderfully practical guide to understanding how to apply consensus building in both your personal life and the workplace."
Patrick Donovan, President/CEO of Bremer Bank
"Dr. Hartnett's comprehensive but easy-to-understand prose will be as useful in the Congress as it will be in the palaver huts of West Africa. It will become a standard text for multiparty resolution."
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