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Mod. 5.1 - Consent Decision Making

After reviewing the lesson materials shared in the Week 5 Kick-Off Announcement, introduce a pilot consent decision to your work/matter of concern.


Identify an issue that is a good fit to try consent. Clarify that the team making the decision has authority. Consider the advice process as a way to gain input/intelligence to develop a strong proposal. Invite team members to learn the consent method (produce a brief training session, including why consent is a valuable approach. Test making a consent decision. Publish the result! Write or make a video in response to the prompts below to reflect on your learning.

  • What were the positives and challenges of introducing the concept of consent?

  • Were you able to identify a meaningful issue to address?

  • Did the advice process help craft a strong proposal?

  • How did the training go?

  • How did the pilot decision making go?

  • What did you learn as a leader about introducing new and possibly unconventional practices to a system?

 

Because I work for a very small company where I am the only full-time employee, I lack many opportunities to introduce new concepts like consent to my professional work. However, I am one of ten children, six boys and four girls, ranging from ages 29 to 49 and I recently had a chance to see many of them for a family event and an opportunity arose to introduce the concept of consent. As a family, we decided in 2011 to start scheduling a Family Reunion every three years. Since then, I’ve organized 3 of the 4 reunions with mixed reviews, the largest criticism being that there’s no shared understanding of how decisions are made. The topic of reunions came up during this recent family event and I quickly saw the chance to introduce the concept of consent as a potential framework to help in our decision making.


One positive that emerged from introducing consent was that my siblings agreed that having a shared framework to make decisions would be immensely valuable. But we agreed that the consent model may not be the best model for us to use around family reunions because there are too many people whose voices need to be part of the inner circle. That said, because the group has the experience of four previous family reunions, the advice process has become a welcome addition to how proposals around the family reunion are crafted and shared with the family. What this looks like for us now is that each family member can share ideas in the private family Facebook group on what they would like to do or see happen for the next family reunion. Those ideas are then organized and synthesized into specific options for the family to consider to move the planning process forward.


For example, a consistent question at the introduction phase of planning is where the reunion will take place. Three of the four reunions have been in the metro-Detroit area where we all grew up and where my parents are still based. Many have expressed a desire to reunite somewhere else, so it feels more like a vacation. But each sibling has different financial considerations that make some vacation options more difficult to realize. The consent model actually resembled closely what resulted for our 2021 family reunion where we managed to gather outside of Michigan outside of Orlando, Florida. What I observed in the process of consent decision making is that it’s critically important to present a proposal that accounts for each person’s considerations. While this can be an extraordinarily difficult process to go through, in this context financial considerations played a very important role that had to be thought out before a proposal was shared.


The number of immediate family members including in-laws and children is now 40 people. I was able to secure two 10-bedroom homes next to each other in a private community outside of Orlando, Florida with access to a water park and individual swimming pools at each home at a rate of approximately $45 per person per night for 4 nights. By finding an affordable option with 20 bedrooms across two homes we were able to provide comfortable accommodations, privacy when needed for the new moms and general exhaustion from festivities, plenty of family friendly activities that were free and in close proximity to the homes, and a home layout which supported decoration, outdoor dining, and caterers coming in for my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner.


The experience checked so many of the boxes that each individual had brought to the proposal that we all left feeling positive about being able to discuss and plan the next reunion in 2024. For me, it demonstrated the power of what can happen when people intentionally listen, consider, and research ways to incorporate each person’s/family’s needs, and how a positive experience can create a shared model for future planning. While the process didn’t exactly mirror the consent process, it certainly proved that introducing new and/or unconventional approaches to decision making are received by other parties with interest, openness, and without objection.

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