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Approaching Conflict with Confidence Course Series

The Impact of Consensus Decision Making Training in Multi-Party Consultation

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 3:01 PM | Kristy Rhyason (Administrator)

Consensus Decision Making (CDM) is a form of collaborative decision making where diverse stakeholders agree to work together towards finding mutually acceptable solutions to complex issues.

Consensus Decision Making works well for those who are involved in multi-party consultation processes as a stakeholder or who would like to learn to manage or lead the process.

This style of collaborative decision making is often useful for professionals such as:

  • Oil & Gas representatives who actively engage with citizen groups
  • NGOs seeking to build collaborative relationships with other NGOs (specifically Board members and Executive Directors)
  • Land Use Planners
  • Professionals whose work focuses on public engagement
  • Government regulators whose work requires them to consult and collaborate with industry and the public
  • Forestry representatives who are involved in developing forestry management agreements

We offer a Consensus Decision Making Certificate Program that is made up of two courses designed to prepare students to participate in or facilitate consensus building and consensus decision-making processes. The first of these courses is our foundational Communications in ADR course which is followed by the Consensus Decision Making course.

Jay White, the President & CEO of Aquality Environmental Consulting Ltd. in Edmonton, took our Consensus Decision Making course. He uses the skills he learned daily at Aquality Environmental Consulting; they work all across western Canada on a variety of water related projects that support responsible development.

We decided to follow up with Jay a few years after the course to see what the impact has been on his professional life.

What advice do you have for someone who might be thinking about starting training in conflict resolution?

Anybody involved in consultation – managers, leaders, etc. – should take this training. Make the time to invest in yourself; it’s a tremendous contribution to your professional development. I specifically wanted to learn the skills in Consensus Decision Making. I wanted to support my work on the Alberta Water Council and the Alberta Lake Management Society.

What was your favourite part of the course?

The group activities were very memorable, in particular I enjoyed an exercise where I couldn’t offer any input unless I was directly asked by other participants. In the exercise, I was the only person who held a key piece of information for the group’s success. So the group’s success was limited by their ability to reach out and get other’s feedback on the issue.

What important and practical skills have you gained through taking this course?

Every aspect of my day to day business interactions have been improved by this course. In particular, Critical Skills for Resolving Conflict was eye-opening, and quite frankly, life changing. The Four Tongues and Four Ears/Listening for Understanding is something I use every day and reference often. I have referred my staff to most of the modules in the course. Overall, the most important lesson I learned was to listen for understanding, and speak to be understood.

If you’re interested in gaining these skills, find more information about the Certificate in Consensus Decision Making.

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