The organizational structure and decision making process of Sociocracy (AKA Dynamic Governance) provides a foundation and framework for empowered collaboration. Sociocracy is defined as “rule by the socios”, people who have a social relationship with each other. Dynamic governance is achieved through the foundational sociocratic principles of “creative self organization” and consent based decision making. After working in a variety of structures for group process, I have found Sociocracy to be most effective and efficient in organizing people and projects, facilitating meetings, creating ownership, and cultivating leadership.
The primary organizational principle of sociocracy is a series of linked circles. Circle meetings are facilitated with a combination of open discussion and rounds to include everyone’s voice.
Leadership is the responsibility of everyone. Generally there are roles that include a facilitator, a secretary, and representatives for communication between circles. Nominations and elections are open, participatory, and consent based.
Each circle is organized around a practical and measurable aim (similar to a goal). Aim is objective and can be clearly communicated. It is in the context of vision and mission which are more subjective and motivational.
Decisions are made by consent. Reasoned objections are sought to provide solutions related to achieving the common “aim”. Consent is defined by the overlapping parameters of what each person can live with in pursuit of the aim. It is obtained through “rounds” in the following sequence:
1. Proposal is presented
2. Clarifying questions are asked
3. Reaction is expressed
4. Modifications are made to proposal
5. Consent is confirmed
Proposals that require extensive consideration are developed as follows:
1. Picture Forming – the fullness of the issue is explored through open discussion and rounds
2. Proposal Shaping – ideas for solution are explored and tuned into a proposal through the same process of open discussion and rounds. Tuning can require individual or committee research and development.
3. Decision Making – see above process
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