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February 6, 2017

Insights

Group consensus is a unicorn named Unanimous

Group consensus is akin to a search for the elusive unicorn.

If you work with a team or have ever been part of a team, then you know how difficult it is to get a group consensus. One person has their own agenda, that person hates the color blue, and yet another person doesn’t like the photos that are being used as examples. Are you expecting a unanimous decision from a group? You may as well start an expedition for that magical unicorn.

As branding and website designers we deal with this all the time. Each person brings their own perspectives, interests, and preferences to the table and often they are going to be different than the person on their left or right. Sure, some may overlap but more often than not they are vastly different. The problem is that group decision making must not be individualistic. It requires big picture clarity and focusing on the end goals.  

We often have to stand in front of a group and present several different design directions. Often this can be one of the most difficult types of decisions for a group. Everyone has their own aesthetic tastes which can complicate their decision making process. This is why it is vital that we focus the decision on the business/project goals, audience, and brand - not personal taste.

When beginning a new client relationship, we believe it is important that each engagement start with the definition of the goals, values, and direction. At each deliverable it’s important to explain how decisions were made supporting these goals and direction. Then, if and when the group is struggling for agreement, we bring them back to the goals, values and brand positioning and evaluate the project from that perspective. It’s important to remind yourself of these things; otherwise, you might find yourself hopelessly searching for that unicorn. But if you find it, make sure you have your camera.

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