Consensus decision making (suggestions for small groups)

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The following resource describes a consensus-type decision-making model suggested for small groups. It focuses on active listening and teamwork. It has been successful according to the testimonies and experience of many people who have applied it in their groups (Fairy Creek and Extinction Rebellion).

When to use this model?

For small groups (less than 15 people) with a level of trust and who feel they've gotten to know one another. If you are lacking trust or haven't gotten to know each other well enough, see our wiki page on modified consensus decision making (suggestions for large and small groups)

Decision-making steps

1. Proposal

By this point, discussion should have been completed (if relevant) to understand the decision to be made. A proposal is made to summarize the discussion of ideas on the decision at hand. 

2. Introspection 

The group takes a few minutes to think about the proposal.

3. Questions

A first round of questions and answers is done.

  • The person who proposed answers the questions directly.
  • Each person can choose whether or not to use their speaking turn

4. Concerns

A round of concerns is risen.

5. Improvements

A round of improvements is made.

6. Rewording

The person who came up with the idea reformulates it and shares it with the group.

7. Adoption

If no one blocks the idea, it is adopted.

In case of blockage

  • If a person blocks a proposal, it is not adopted. It can still be submitted again. 
  • Informal discussions (between the person who blocked the idea and the person who proposed it) can resolve a dispute over a proposal. An improved version may be submitted to the group.
  • An idea cannot be blocked more than 3 times. After 3 resumptions, the idea cannot be submitted to the group again.

If you still have questions about consensus decision making, or would like to try a modified version, see our wiki page on modified consensus decision making.

If you have any suggested revisions or additional resources to share related to the above content, please email them to

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