The use of consensus decision-making/problem-solving is a process that can be followed strictly or loosely depending upon your group and its needs. Success in using this method depends on people understanding it and their desire to use it. Consensus is something that can be used in all phases and activities of your group. It’s a way of working together. In addition to the problem-solving method, it echoes a theme which should run through all groups - that of people having control over the decisions that affect them. This is what consensus attempts to achieve.
Consensus does not necessarily mean unanimity, where everyone is of one mind and in full agreement with a decision, although it may. Consensus happens more as a synthesis of ideas rather than one side winning. A unanimous decision is not the goal, but instead it aims at facilitating the expression of input and views from every member of the group.