Re: Consensus decision making
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 08:16:35 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 5, 2008, at 10:29 AM, Racheli Gai wrote:

It seems to me to be important to define what is meant by the term

In sociocratic theory, an effective decision is one that moves an organization toward a desired result.

A fundamental assumption in sociocracy is that any action must work for every member of the organization who is affected by the decision. If it doesn't, it will weaken the organization and it won't achieve its aim as well as it might have otherwise.

The fundamental criterion on whether one can consent to a decision is whether you can "live with it." Can you consent to this decision and continue to work happily/enthusiastically/energetically toward the aim of the organization? The most effective organizations have the full commitment of all their members.

My personal objection to the standard of "live with it" which I read as a pretty low standard, was overcome by understanding that sociocratic methods also require measurement. Amongst other things, every decision includes (1) criteria for success that can be measured, and (2) a time limit. The important part of making a decision is to see if it works. This can only be done if you measure results.

Another benefit of time limits is that they often allow more people to consent. Almost anyone can live with what feels like a trial period. A person who objects to changing the temperature in the CH may consent if they know that that it will be changed for 1 month and that measurements will be done on the effectiveness of the change.

Defined and measured standards allow one to know that a decision moves one toward a desired result, that it was effective.

The determination of effective is in the results of the decision, not the process that led to the decision.

Sharon Villines
Coauthor with John Buck of We the People
Consenting to a Deeper Democracy
A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods
ISBN: 9780979282706

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