Re: Question about selection/election processes
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 19:56:35 -0800 (PST)

On Dec 16, 2009, at 1:22 PM, juva [at] wrote:

The sociocratic has been much more efficient but neither necessarily got us the people for the positions that has the skills needed. We on the facilitation team are seeking to improve our process of selections. One idea is to emphasize the skills more. We had consented on the skilled needed previously but not re-consented each time.

It is very important that you do this each time. It reminds the participants that this is about skills and the need of the community for those skills. Then you have set the stage.

Nominations should address skills. "I am nominating Bessie for treasurer because she has bookkeeping skills and has worked on the facilities team for 5 years. She understands what we spend 95% of our budget on."

If a nominator doesn't address skills, the person conducting the elections should ask them to address the job description.

The concern is having to say why we would have an objection about a person’s skill in front of the whole community.

This is a common fear. Since you have been using this process, I would be interested to know who has been conducting the elections? One important skill for that person is to help people frame their concerns as positively. First discuss concerns -- not objections. Then the person has an opportunity to address the concerns. And can also withdraw themselves from consideration as well.

No one wants a job they are not qualified to do. It means failure. But if the qualifications are not made clear, anything can happen.

We have a traditional nominating committee although it is a more open process with a group discussion of the nominees. The difference is that the nominees are already nominated and asked if they will serve (bad idea - to easy to say no) and only those people who are interested come to that meeting.

In the last meeting one person who was nominated asked what the job required. Since everyone else had declined that job, people were anxious to keep her as a nominee. She was told all she had to do was attend two meetings a month, so she said she could do that.

Well, to attend those two meetings she has to read all the team minutes and attend membership meetings so she will be informed enough to discuss proposals and make decisions. Because the nominating committee wasn't practicing full disclosure (and I wasn't in the room), we will now have a board member who only shows up. She has never read a set of minutes in her life!!!!

Do the job description up front and require people to address it.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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