Choosing by consensus means that you can move forward when everyone supports the proposal.

It differs from:

  • decision-making by consent, where if no one disagrees with the proposal, it moves forward
  • democracy, where decisions are made by making people vote, usually until a majority agree with the proposal.

Some self-managed organization choose decision by consensus because it ensures everyone is heard. 

However, there are limits to decision-making by consensus. 

Indeed, compared to consent-based decision-making, decision by consensus can take a very long time and lead to missed opportunities. 

In addition, watering down a proposal to make it acceptable to everyone may mean losing out in terms of innovation. 

Finally, deciding by consensus may cause resentment by taking some of the authority away from the people who will be most impacted by the decision.

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