Skip to main content

HFI-U Advises Consensus for Healthier Environments

Listening to everyone affected is key to consensus and making rapid progress


NAMPA, ID, US, February 3, 2020 / — HFI-U is advising environmental leaders to foster facility-wide consensus toward healthier indoor environments; thus gaining the cooperation of everyone affected.


“Focus on addressing the interests of everyone at the table,” says Allen Rathey, principal of HFI-U. “This means taking responsibility to meet the needs of persons who are least articulate in sharing their views.”


Since janitors are instrumental in maintaining a clean, healthy indoor space, their interests must be heard at the same time as those of senior operations and management. It is vital to include suppliers or other parties impacted by decisions, and to facilitate discourse by putting all options mentioned on one side of a piece of paper.


Per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s), Short Guide to Consensus Building ― Rather than a simple majority vote: “…it is important that consensus be the product of a good-faith effort to meet the interests of all stakeholders. The key indicator of whether or not a consensus has been reached is that everyone agrees they can live with the final proposal; that is, after every effort has been made to meet any outstanding interests. Thus, consensus requires that someone frame a proposal after listening carefully to everyone…”


Per MIT, after a discussion broaching everyone’s interests, the final questions to ask the group are:

1. “Is there anyone who can’t live with the last version of what has been proposed?”
2. “If so, what improvement or modification can you suggest that will make it more acceptable to you, while continuing to meet the interests of everyone else with a stake in the issue?”


Toyota is legendary for its commitment to consensus. Per the book, The Toyota Way, 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer ― Principle 13 is: “Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly.”