In our “new” South Africa values and beliefs can be a big problem in allowing teams to reach a team consensus.
It seems that most teams struggle with this once in a while. It could be that one of the reasons we fail to reach a consensus is that most people’s values and beliefs are based on opinions rather than facts.
Opinions are relevant in determining how we feel about something, but cold, hard facts will help us move to a conclusion quicker because facts leave less room for dispute. Opinions are also shaped by our values, the beliefs taught to us by our parents are usually the facts we believe to be right. Our values tell us what is right or wrong, good or bad, however in our multi-cultural society these are usually open to interpretation.
Most people will frequently agree that much of what they say is just their opinion, but once an issue becomes important, then all of a sudden, their opinion becomes the “truth.”
Many value or belief based impasses in reaching a consensus can be reduced or removed by fact based knowledge.
Everyone on the team must learn more about values and beliefs. Team building exercises that dip into a person’s belief system are valuable training tools. Simple team building exercises can reveal that each person on the team has a different view of the world. As these views are pursued, team members will begin to see that thoughts that differ from their own are not automatically wrong, just different, this will become an eye opener, because from then on team members will think first about considering the other team members point of view, before deciding to argue against it. Once they understand that there are other “right” points of view then reaching a consensus is simplified.
Beach and Bush, a team building company, have many simple and fun team building exercises to help your personnel to respect each other’s way of life and beliefs.