In today’s business environment, management consulting firms must be ready to address client challenges and needs that will transform their business by 10 or 100 times. Tools and methods must be scaled up to ensure applicability to the widest possible audience globally.
The Consulting Workshop Series provides a good understanding of the 10 Methods of conducting Workshops that are custom designed to fit specific workshop objectives. Different methods are developed for the purpose of providing organizations the most appropriate tool necessary to support organizations to achieve their strategic goals and targets.
If it is the management’s goal to generate consensus and options regarding a controversial topic or issue, then the Consensus Conference is the most appropriate method to undertake.
Understanding the Consensus Conference
Consensus Conference is a 3-day intensive program that provides a vehicle for organizations to meaningfully influence policy decisions. Strategically, its application spans a broad range of uses. It can be used in the development of new regulations, generating new debate and understanding, consolidating politics, building bridges between interest groups and perspectives, and removing organizational silos.
Consensus Conference is also useful for combining many forms of knowledge and a method for obtaining informed opinions. Interestingly, the Consensus Conference provides a vehicle for organizations to meaningfully influence policy decisions, conflict assessment, clarification of attitudes, and assessing the relevance of an issue.
Approach to Consensus Conference
The Consensus Conference starts with Planning and the Recruitment & Selection of Panel. Thereafter, significant issues relevant to the topic of concern are discovered, drawn, and documented during the first 2 weekends prior to the Consensus Conference.
- Planning. The primary objective of the Planning stage is to determine the Management Staff and Advisory Committee. This also includes defining the scope, topic, and allocating budget.
- Recruitment & Selection of Panel. At this stage, the planning team starts screening and onboarding members of the Panel. Potential members of the Panel are qualified in accordance with established criteria.
- First Study Weekend. The First Study Weekend is the start of a steep learning curve for the members of the Panel. It is the beginning of relationship building between the Project Management Team, the Facilitator, and the Panelists.
- Second Study Weekend. The Second Study Weekend takes on the agenda planned by the Panel during the First Study Weekend. At this stage, there is further development of competence for the final week and shifting of control of the process decisions and facilitation to the Panel.
- Consensus Conference. The main event, the Consensus Conference provides the avenue for discussion on topics and issues of great importance and impact to the organization. Its primary objective is to influence policy decisions and assess the relevance of issues undertaken.
- Dissemination and Evaluation. One month after the Consensus Conference, a Final Report is prepared and disseminated to policy-makers, departments, and individuals in the organization. A debriefing is conducted 1 to 2 months after the conference. An evaluation is conducted 1 to 12 months after the conduct of the Consensus Conference.
Conducting a Consensus Conference is intensive. Hence, it is necessary to gain mastery of the approach to allow organizations to effectively use Consensus Conference as a tool for assessing an identified critical topic.
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