Jeff Bezos , founder of Amazon talks about this interesting decision-making process in the annual letter.

Regardless of how highly we think about consensus based decision-making, consensus is hard to build and is painfully slow. Sometimes, its impossible to achieve unless you tire other person down or negotiate your way out.

consensus is not ideal in current world which rewards prompt decisions.

How do you make prompt decisions in teams struggling to build consensus ?

First of all, teams should learn to make decisions based on 70% information rather than waiting for 100%. It also means that teams should be agile in their decision-making if available information changes.

Second, disagreements should be welcome. It should lead to better decision-making or healthy debate on the topics.  To what extent, would you carry on debating ? Should not be for long.

Define time limit to make a decision. If someone still disagrees, ask them to ‘Disagree & commit’. It simply means that they have been listened to, but team is making different decision than what they proposed and that’s what they should commit to.

Once committed, then it becomes team’s responsibility to execute that decision, no matter what. Afterall, they are in it together. There is no place for sulking or discussing behind the back once committed.

If you are looking for real life application of it, check out Lone Survivor.