Frank Blechman

Private Consultant, Formerly at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

That fifty percent plus one is not enough consensus to move forward, you need more. Sixty percent, seventy percent, eighty percent, ninety percent, maybe even a hundred percent. But I think it is rare that you really need a hundred percent. My experience is that in most cases if you got fifteen groups in the room and you are trying to see how to move forward, there will be some issues that three of them can move forward on and that's fine. And there will be some that five can move forward on and that's fine. There may be one or two issues that everyone can move forward on, but if there are none that they can all move forward on, that's still fine.

So I don't think you always need consensus. I don't think that searching for consensus is always an efficient use of people's time. And I think in very large processes nobody knows how to actually generate consensus and so something that is somewhere between a super majority and exhaustion is sometimes the best you can do.