• Don ‘t engage in postdecision lobbying. Consensus decisions
should be made out in the open and as an entire group.
Withholding your reservations and then approaching individu
als after the discussion is both inefficient and disloyal. If you
have an issue, bring it up in front of the group. Leave unhealthy
alliances, dirty deals, and secret discussions to people who are
on reality game shows. They can afford to abuse one another,
take their winnings, and then go their separate ways. With fam
ilies and work groups, you stay together long after the ugly
behavior and you suffer the long-term consequences .
• Don’t say «[ told you so. ” Nothing is quite so annoying as
having someone agree on a choice (his or her second choice,
perhaps) and then cry, “I told you so!” when it doesn’t work
out. Once you’ve decided on something as a group, support
the idea-not even when it fails, but particularly when it fails.
There’s no room for fair-weather family members or team
mates. Show character. When an idea doesn’t work out, own
the failure together.
Advice for the Time-Bound
There are times when you know you should involve others in a
decision, but you absolutely have to make a decision by a certain
time. Tn these cases, consider selecting a fallback decision-making
For example, you could announce: “We have a critical deci
sion 1 0 make that affect s all of us, and it must be made by ten
1 7 4 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS
sharp. I propose that we use consensus to decide. However, if by
9:45 we have not come to consensus, then it will become a con
sult decision. I will use your input, and I will decide.”
This strategy allows you to try for the optimum decision-mak
ing method, but it leaves you a back door without making you
look like a despot when time runs out.