Re: queries during conflict
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 06:45:58 -0800 (PST)

On Dec 20, 2005, at 11:10 PM, Tree Bressen wrote:

I would enjoy hearing other queries that people have found helpful in unblocking situations of this kind.

Most consensus facilitator's queries focus on the personal motivations, beliefs, and actions of those identified as being in conflict, "conflict" defined as existing between individual members and the group. This is not the case in sociocracy.

Sociocracy places the conflict not in the arguments presented for and against the proposal. The reasoning behind arguments is considered most important in achieving a good result.

Resolving objections requires examining the arguments and doing creative problem solving to craft a solution that works for everyone. Objections are desirable because they lead to better solutions. if the group is to achieve the aim that a proposed action is supposed to produce, the group needs to know what actions may not allow everyone to work whole-heartedly toward that aim.

Rounds are used both to (1) keep the whole group involved in presenting and examining arguments and (2) maintain equivalence -- the equal power of each member to analyze the arguments. Open discussion is used alternating with rounds but rounds are very important -- not optional or occasional. Equivalence is the fundamental value and sound argument is the fundamental power.

Objections are not treated as personal issues that can be resolved with personal reflection. It is the job of each person to address arguments and to present reasons why an argument is valid or not valid.

The emphasis in sociocracy is on moving forward with continued reevaluation. If an action does begin to produce negative results it is reevaluated. Decisions are not made for lengths of time -- they are made until the results show that adjustment is necessary.

Sociocracy places more emphasis on defining aims and searching to find better and better ways to achieve those aims. Emphasis is on a dynamic process of leading-doing-measuring that repeats itself every moment and not on the BIG DECISION as consensus decision-making tends to do. ("Leading" includes evaluating past results and current conditions and proposing a new direction.)

Thus the queries relate to exploring arguments and reasoning and information supporting the arguments.

Sharon Villines
Coauthor with John Buck of the forthcoming
Sociocracy: A New Power Structure for Ethical Governance

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.