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Reaching consensus around several alternatives

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A polling process for any workshop where a decision between several alternatives is hard to reach



To reach a decision around alternatives in a way that everybody is allowed to show their opinions





    Ideal conditions: The group can not come to agreement of which alternative to choose

    Pre-Work Required:

    Alternatives have been proposed and are clarified.


    When you are in a state of the meeting when it is time to come to conclusion or the participant can't come to an agreement of which alternative is the best:

    Put the alternatives up in a table on a brown paper or flipchart. Then ask the individual participants to look at each alternative and grade it with a number between 1-10 (you can choose higher value than 10 if you want them to have greater range of alternatives).
    Explain that they should use 10 "if this alternative is the one they choose and will start shouting in joy and this is the ultimate choice, nothing negative with it"
    and 1 "if this is a catastrophe, everything will collapse and I will feel really bad about this."

    Have each participant write down their answers on a sheet of paper. Do not make them write their answers directly on the table, because you want to allow them to adjust their grading depending on the others grading.

    Either collect their answers and write them into the table or ask the participants to write one note for each alternative and put their name on it and add the note to the table.

    Summarize the grades on each alternative.

    Then you have a prioritized list and know what alternative you should go with!

    Feel free to adjust the scale or what the participant should have in consideration when grading each alternative.


    Usual or Expected Outcomes: Prioritized list and a base to make the final decision

    Potential pitfalls: The method is not explained and the participants therefore will not accept the decision

    How success is evaluated: Reach a decision and everyone has had the chance to think over every alternative.

    Examples of successes and failures: A group could not agree upon a name on a new product. After using this method we quickly reached a common agreement of what the name should be.

    Online Tips: Using a virtual interactive tool (Slido) participants indicate their choices using a rating scale or live online poll.


    Source: Ter's Salmi

    History of Development: The Scale is often used in coaching

    Recognizable components: Scale

    References: Scale

    Alternative names: Prioritize from different aspects

    Comments (2) (3.0 avg / 1 ratings)

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    • In group discussion with other facilitators, we observed that we might need to clarify with the group that we are not voting for our favourite idea but the one that we would actually be willing to do.

      almost 3 years ago
    • Good for visual polling: not a voting method

      over 6 years ago