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Unwilling to Compromise

This obstacle is easy to recognize because the behavior screams, “I want my own way!” People like to have their own way some of the time, but this becomes a problem when someone needs their own way all of the time. When overcoming this obstacle, remember that just because someone wants their way, doesn’t mean you have to dig in your heels to get your way. Explore why a person might act in this fashion. This behavior usually surfaces when:

  • The person doesn’t understand that consensus is not an I-versus-you struggle.

  • Focus on shared needs and shared power when addressing this behavior. Consensus requires partners rather than adversaries, so maintain a positive atmosphere when discussing issues. Challenge the people involved to find a path to resolution that improves the relationship for all involved.

  • The person believes that if others are heard, their ideas may be considered; thus, power will be lost.

  • When you use consensus, keep the focus on developing “our” power. The power of the group is much stronger that the power of any single member and this point should be reinforced.

  • The person may be focusing on his or her own control over the situation instead of the needs of the situation.

  • Encourage the member to address options relating to proposed solutions rather than controlling a single or specific outcome. It is not possible to reach consensus by giving in to one member’s desire to avoid conflict. The immediate situation may go away, but the relationship will not improve and neither of you has learned to resolve conflict. Think of consensus as a partnership—finding a resolution that is “getting our way!”


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