NASA Exercise:

Decision by Consensus

This is an exercise in group decision-making. Your group is to employ the method of group consensus in reaching its decision. Consensus means that the placement of each of the 15 survival items must be agreed on by every member of the group before it becomes part of the group decision.

Consensus is difficult to reach. Therefore, not every ranking will meet with everyone's complete approval, try, however, to make each ranking one with which all the group members can at least partially agree. Here are some guides to use in reaching consensus:

(What follows are actual instructions given to NASA engineers when presented with a simulated emergency. They are designed to ensure that the most correct, not most popular, conclusions are reached.)
    1. Avoid arguing for your own individual judgements. Approach the task on the basis of logic.
    2. Avoid changing your mind just to reach agreement and avoid conflict. Support only solutions with which you are able to agree somewhat, at least.
    3. Avoid "conflict-reducing" techniques such as majority vote, averaging, or trading in reaching decisions.
    4. View differences of opinion as helpful rather than as a hindrance in decision-making.
Take as much time as you need in reaching your group decision. Fill in the group rankings in the appropriate column.