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This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide


go through page Consent vs. Consensus / Build Consent / Build Understanding / Go On

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navigate in the page--Consent vs. Consensus

Often, teams start with a great, feel-good proposal to make all the decisions through consensus. They feel that this will provide the support needed to complete the task. However, this type of consensus is rarely acheived in the real world.

Most participants will fall somewhere on a continuum between absolute support (willing to sacrifce money, time, family, etc. to see the project happen) and absolute opposition (willing to sacrifce to see that it does not happen).

Getting people from strong opposition to the strong agreement needed for consensus is virtually impossible. Don't give up hope--you can probably get people from a strong opposition to a reluctant consent or agreement not to fight your project.

People sacrifice because their values are involved -- something is at stake that they feel deeply affects the way they live.

Consent vs. Consensus

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navigate in the page--Build Consent

Participants do not have to wholeheartedly support decisions. They merely need to grudgingly agree that the:

The goal is to work together to actually solve the problem now and in the future.

click for comics(The importance of common ground)

Ways to help build consent:

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navigate in the page--Build an Understanding

Focus on the detractors and veteors*definition --you need to work with the people who can stop you.

If people understand that some action must be taken, they will be more likely to participate and ensure that actions taken will work. Ensure everyone understands that:

  • The problem is significant
  • Given your roles and responsibilities, you must deal with it
  • You are dealing with it in a fair, responsible manner
  • While your action will harm someone, it is a fair way to address what must be done
  • Working with you is better than working against you to solve the problem.

(NOTE: these four points are based on the works of Hans Bleiker )

Use Decision Process Worksheets to keep everyone on track and show where you have been and where you are going.

Document and share to show the rationale your process took.

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navigate in the page--Go On


Executive Summary Tour Take this car on a fast tourPartners <------> Politics

Helpful Hints Tourwizbang help hereDecision Analysis <------> Communication

Handyman's Tourcompass for handyman's tour Responsibility <-------> Communication Lines

GeneralHip Pocket Concepts


NextTechnical vs. Social

Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.