Consensus is defined as a general agreement, an accord and harmony regarding the project’s direction or stakeholder feedback. Gloria Larson shares her stories of being a community leader and having to take on several projects that required gaining a consensus of board members, communities, and business owners. Jim Johnson shares with Gloria some of the mistakes that can be made during negotiation such as coming into with a position and holding that position to being emotionally attached. People also are not listening or hearing. It’s a valuable skill that isn’t used enough in our society these days. Everyone wants to use their voice but no one wants to use their ears. Gloria Larson advises to look for common ground instead. Try to figure out how to merge each others needs and ways to connect. Jim Johnson, Rick and Steve also talk about “Log Jamming” which is when two parties are having a hard time finding common ground, and Gloria Lawson agrees that sometimes the best thing to do is just leave the room, take a break and give people a chance to digest the conversation.
Between being a board member for the Boston Convention Center and getting agreement to build the Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston’s Historic Waterfront in the face of powerful opposition Gloria Lawson has proved she has mastered her consensus skills. On top of all of this, Gloria Cordes Larson is President of Bentley University. Ms. Larson served as Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Affairs, Massachusetts Secretary of Consumer Affairs, and Chairman of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. She served as a Deputy Director of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission. She was a partner of Foley, Hoag and Eliot LLP, a law firm. Ms. Larson holds several board positions. Ms. Larson graduated from Vassar College and earned her law degree at the University of Virginia.