Consensus Practices & Advocacy Group
Consented to and Adopted 18 January 2013
We value our identity. First, there must be unity of purpose, a basic understanding of the goals and purpose of the group recognized and accepted by all. We, therefore, limit ourselves to work always within the constraints of the Purpose statement of the Consensus Practices & Advocacy Group. Second, we embrace our shared values, operating always from a foundation of these values. Third, we define our membership and we will apply only clear, specific processes and criteria for membership, welcoming those who share our purpose and our values and abide by our rules.
As long as somebody is willing to abide by the rules we collectively decide upon and they share our goals and values, they are welcome to apply for membership.
We value each member’s freedom to depart if that member finds the identity of our group unsuitable.
We value our member’s good will and participation as the sole source of our authority and will accept no other source. Only the group will decide what is right and wrong for its participating members.
Responsibility for every decision is shared by everyone in the group. The group requires that all members contribute to our tasks, supporting each other in those tasks and accepting help where necessary.
We are committed to treating each other as important individuals, holding colleagues in esteem, and acknowledging a job well done.
We value training all our members to be the best, most capable participants and facilitators possible. When all are encouraged to participate, the democratic nature of the process increases.
To create a balance of power amongst our members, everyone needs to consciously attempt to creatively share power, skills and information.
Consensus promotes and depends upon the empowerment of all members. The process of consensus, by developing trust, encourages the intellectual and emotional development of the individuals within a group. In addition, we resolve to nurture and support our members in conflict resolution by allowing creativity and experimentation and also resolve to continually evaluate these skills and improve them by empowering individuals in roles with which they may not be fully comfortable, through positive words and actions.
We value our duty to the group, including to always do our best.
Each member recognizes the group’s needs have a certain priority over the desire of the individual and accepts certain personal responsibilities, including to behave with courtesy, good will, and honesty.
To preserve cooperation, achieving the group’s goals is more important than winning arguments and each members efforts must be toward outcomes beneficial to the group.
Members of the group shall not delegate their responsibility, intentionally or not, because then they fail to accept responsibility for the group’s decisions.
Part of our duty to the group is always to make an effort.
In all our group’s endeavors, our professionalism includes a reliable work ethic and high standards for ourselves, individually and collectively. We value a general inquisitiveness about the world around us, courage of intellect, competency, thoroughness, accuracy, precision, and diligence. We strive always to improve.
We value our joint and individual ethical incorruptibility. We resolve to be true to our word. We will not permit any individual to accrue the group’s resources or concentrate power within our group.
For any long-term effort to succeed there must be both determination and strategic thinking. Although to fail is frustrating, we must show strength and resolve in the face of difficulty. During trying times we must endure so our successors can reap the benefits of our efforts.
We know there is no right decision, so we are determined to make the best one for the whole group by working together to make the most acceptable choice that will promote the greatest good for the greatest number.
We value creativity in our problem solving, seeking as many points of view as practical. Rather than dismissing divergent thinking out of hand, we encourage originality and welcome unconventional thought, as these are conducive to creative decision making. The best decisions arise through an open and creative interplay of ideas, therefore we value conflict, the expression of disagreement, which itself is neither good nor bad.
Conflict signifies a healthy exchange of diverse ideas and without it one is less likely to think about and evaluate one’s views and prejudices. We will not stifle conflict.
To resolve conflict requires patience, allowing time for the essential creative interplay of ideas. We value thoughtful, deliberate conduct and won’t rush our meetings.
To resolve conflict and ward off abusive behavior, we accept the shared, cooperative responsibility for finding solutions to each other’s concerns.
To maximize our potential, we will plan ahead, be punctual, not interrupt, and won’t waste time.
We will focus on results, setting goals and time frames and keeping these in mind. We pledge to accomplish tasks in a thoughtful, timely, organized fashion.
Our meetings are our home and must be comfortable, welcoming, supportive, and caring.
We strive to be accommodating to other people’s perspectives and desires. We will not presume any viewpoint is superior to any other, nor apply group time or resources to advance or alter the perspectives of our members. We value our objectivity and will take nothing personally. We value truth and will avoid making assumptions.
We each have an inalienable right to express our own best thoughts and therefore we promote trust and active participation by creating an environment in which every contribution is considered valuable.
We seek to create an inviting space where everyone is welcome, where we do not prejudge and all are expected to respect the group and be courteous to individuals. People feel respected when everyone listens, when they are not interrupted, when their ideas are considered important and valuable, so we need to actively listen to each other’s perspectives despite our preconceptions. We accept mistakes and failures as we each try to improve. Recognizing our culture has not prepared us for consensus, we value patience in working with each other’s best efforts.
Trust is the recognition that others’ intentions are in the best interest of the group. For trust to flourish, it is desirable for individuals to be willing to examine their attitudes and be open to new ideas. To promote trust, we shall acknowledge and appreciate personal and cultural differences. We need neither approval nor friendships for a good working relationship. Instead, successful, non-abusive relationships require our mutual trust and tolerance, acknowledging, appreciating, and honoring our different cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, methods, and limitations, as long as they are not destructive to the group’s identity. Trust is, however, conditional and increases as it is earned.
Caring for emotional and physical concerns as well as logical calculations promotes the kind of environment necessary for developing consensus.
We value our mutual safety, security, and calm and will permit no one to diminish the point of view of, attack, threaten, disrupt, or violate the privacy of another and shall meet any breach of these with swift and serious action.
The power of revealing your truth is the maximum force allowed to persuade others to your point of view. We consider it abusive to use power to dominate or control the group process. Instead, it is everyone’s responsibility to show courtesy to one another.
We must always make an honest assessment of our current challenges and gifts and must work from where we are right now, rather than over-emphasizing the past.
At every step, we invite evaluation, holding each member accountable for his or her actions, whether successes or failures. In our determination to learn from our mistakes, we will not hesitate to courteously recognize personal responsibility. To promote respect, it is important to distinguish between an action which causes a problem and the person who did the action, between the deed and doer. We must criticize the act, not the person. We will therefore avoid blaming anyone for conflict, knowing blame risks attacking dignity and empowerment, and encourages people to feel guilty, defensive, and alienated.
Egalitarian and accountable structures promote universal access to power but such power must be guided by the group’s structure and operate under the processes we set forth. Failing this, vague structures make decisions difficult to achieve, so we commit to a highly structured decision-making model, founded in justice and fairness, and equally accessible to all; we will not alter process to suit a topic of discussion or proposal.
Furthermore, we accept no structure allowing some to assume power over others without consent.
In order to arrive at the greater truth, we seek we must overcome obstacles to the sharing of information. Participation should be straightforward, so we make our best effort to make our decisions, actions, and history well explained and easily accessible to all our members, all prospective members, and the public. We value our openness to outside scrutiny, doing what we do transparently and openly.