There is a never ending struggle in the collaborative culture because there are always reasons to short circuit collaborative actions.  This is not to say there are not sometimes good reasons to bypass collaboration but it does mean that you must focus and strive to start with the intent to collaborate.  The intent is important to maintain because the intent will support and grow the collaboration culture.  Consensus is an important practice in the collaborative culture and the acceptance and embrace of consensus is a key platform in the collaborative culture framework.  I do not think that collaboration can be successful without consensus and consensus cannot be successful without collaboration. 


Collaboration culture must be the long term objective for any collaborative efforts and a collaborative culture is the most difficult to achieve and then maintain. The command and control practice and culture is always calling because of the ease to maintain and the perceived efficiencies.  Collaboration can be messy and frustrating because of the collaboration action and for this reason it is important to remember that collaboration does not require everyone involved to agree.  This too is an important and often overlooked concept in the collaboration process; consensus is required to come to a decision.  Consensus is also a difficult practice because while you may not always agree, you must always abide and accept the consensus.


Consensus is a key ingredient to the collaborative culture because it provides a framework for working together and a framework for decision making.  Decision making in a collaborative culture would be impossible without consensus and consensus would be impossible without collaboration and the collaborative culture.  Without an acceptance an embrace of consensus I think it would be almost impossible to reach a collaborative decision.  Consensus does not mean that everyone agrees with the decision it means though that everyone understands the decision and will abide by the decision.  The point to consensus in my opinion is that the basis to consensus is that while everyone may not agree with every decision, everyone can expect that they will agree with some if they do not agree they will publicly and privately support the decision.


Decision making in a collaborative culture is a difficult process and consensus makes that process workable.  Consensus is the secret sauce for collaboration success.  This is a skill like many other management and collaboration activities and must be practiced in order to be successful.  As you practice you will gain in skill and the ability to gain a consensus and as your skills increase in consensus building your decisions will become better and better.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?