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Leadership Development 1, Requirement 1

Define consensus and collaboration in your own words, give an example of how each can be applied in a grove setting, and explain which you prefer and why. (250 words minimum)

Consensus is the process of coming to a unanimous or near-unanimous conclusion, where agreement is a process where everyone's opinion is valued and considered with equal weight. It is not always complete agreement, but it is agreement reached after deliberation of all possible steps. Concerns are best raised early in the process here, where they can be quickly addressed before to process gets too far along. If consensus is complete agreement in a given case, then it is possible that the consensus may not be met entirely through discussion, but can also be acheived by political manouvers, force, or coercion.

Collaboration is the process of working with a smaller number of options, often with a team rather than a whole. Collaboration is particularly focused on problem solving, rather than on agreement, and works in most cases with a leader or lead team that draws on the experience and input of a team or set of teams working together. The driving factor here is a common, understood goal that the collaborative effort should aim for.

I prefer the concept of collaboration, primarily because consensus can often take far too long to acheive: it is a process fraught with appeasement and coercion. If the consensus is unanimous, it can be blocked by a single "no" vote, which means that the process is at the will of even a single unscrupulous individual. If the consensus is not unanimous, the consensus-forming process can lead to members feeling as if their voices are not being heard if they are consistently ignored. The goal-oriented nature of collaboration also provides structure and solid expectations for the project.

Perhaps the most important aspects of collaboration are that it involves bringing others up with you, recognizing and valuing their input as a team, and ensuring that the process can move in some sort of order.


Source Definitions and Additional Input

Consensus: [American Heritage Collegate Dictionary, 4th ed.]
1 a: general agreement : unanimity the consensus of their opinion, based on reports from the border John Hersey b: the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned the consensus was to go ahead 2: group solidarity in sentiment and belief
   — Additional input from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making
Collaboration: [American Heritage Collegate Dictionary, 4th ed.]
1: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor 2: to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one's country and especially an occupying force 3: to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected
   — Additional input from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration

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