7 Tips for achieving sustainability consensus

Is sustainability consensus even possible? Jennifer Woofter offers seven ways to get get closer.

Which approaches work best for your team?

Ask a dozen people about their sustainability priorities, and you'll get a dozen answers. Just kidding -- you'll probably get a hundred answers, since people rarely restrict themselves to just one priority. So how do you narrow down the options enough to move forward with a plan? Is sustainability consensus even possible?

Getting People to Say Yes When Everyone Isn't on Board, by team development consultant Dana Brownlee, offers seven ways to move closer to consensus. While her article isn't targeted specifically for sustainability, it's easy to see the possibilities for sustainability professionals.

1. Set guidelines (about the decision-making process)

2. Separate and clarify (so you really understand any disagreements)

3. Get others involved (to ensure you have enough information to make a good decision)

4. Change things up (to get people out of their usual ruts)

5. Have a group decision (using collaborative decision-making techniques)

6. Ensure it isn't personal (and take personality conflicts offline)

Have you tried any of these approaches? Which ones work best for your team? At SSC, we insist on setting decision-making guidelines early (#1), but we could probably use some work on changing things up (#4). Maybe our next planning session needs to be in a picnic setting!

Jennifer Woofter is an Advisory Board member for 2degrees, and the founder and President of Strategic Sustainability Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in helping rapidly growing, mid-size businesses integrate sustainability into their business model. She tweets at @jenniferwoofter.