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Consensus building: A necessity or a needless exercise?

By Julious P. Smith Jr, Chair Emeritus, Williams Mullen

23 April 2014

In an earlier article on leadership, I talked about consensus building as a leadership tool.1 Wikipedia defines consensus building as “a group decision-making process that seeks the consent of all participants”. Margaret Thatcher and Catherine Ashton present the extremes of the value of consensus building.

Thatcher said: “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning
all beliefs, principles, values, and policies.
So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” On the other hand, Catherine Ashton supported consensus building as a decision-making process by saying:
“I look for the consensus… [it] drives
the policy into new places.”

How do these contrasting views
fit into the make-up of a good leader?

Top-down approac...

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