Decision Building

Key Features of Peace and Power Decision Building:

  • Minority points of view are carefully considered and used to help shape the decision.  If possible, they are integrated into the decision (for example, a plan is built to accommodate the minority opinion or viewpoint)
  • “Voting” is used only to get a sense of the group as a whole in the process of discussion, not as a means of making the decision.
  • Final decisions are not rushed; if a time factor must be met the decision is considered temporary or transitional.
  • Each individual has the responsibility to focus on the group’s well-being as a whole.  If you have an individual concern or preference that is not forming a good “fit” with that of the group, you have a responsibility to reflect on the tension or conflict, and make a personal choice that reflects your commitment to the group.  Rather than “stonewalling” a productive decision, you may have to practice the fine art of yielding.  Yielding is different from compromise in that you are still moving willingly with the group. Consider the analogy of yielding on the road – you still have a path for moving toward your destination, but you yield for the well-being of everyone on the road!  You continue to “move” with the group n a spirit of solidarity, realizing that you can continue to contribute constructively as new opportunities arise.
  • Final decisions are only made when every individual has had a chance to participate in discussion, and everyone feels confident that they understand all aspects of the situation.
  • The decision is built when everyone can affirm that it is the best action that is consistent with the group’s values (Principles of Solidarity)

How to Build a Decision

  • Clarify the question that needs to be answered, and make sure everyone understands the question.
  • Identify the values (Principles of Solidarity) that the decision needs to reflect in action,
  • List the benefits that you seek in making the decision.
  • Explore as many options as possible
  • Make sure that you have as much information as possible.
  • Select the option that best reflects your groups values, or decide not to decide, or keep looking for other options.

What Decision Building is Not:

  • Decision Building is not consensus or compromise.  Instead of everyone simply agreeing to “go along,” everyone instead affirms (without resentment or hostility) that the decision is the best “fit” with the group’s values, and satisfied that any minority opinions have been respectfully considered and used to shape this decision, or the group’s future actions, or both. 
  • Decision Building is not the outcome of a vote, where a majority opinion dismisses the minority view.  Very few decisions reflect a complete agreement.  But using Peace and Power Decision Building, everyone does understand the wisdom of the decision reached for the group, feels included in the process, and knows that minority viewpoints will continue to be addressed as the group moves forward.

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