Aha! Stories about Sociocracy
From: Diana Leafe Christian (dianaic.org)
Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 06:27:31 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Prentice Zinn and all,

I wouldn't want folks on this list to think Sociocracy is about as interesting as a manual for a hot-water heater! ;)

So here are some quick stories. My community (Earthaven in North Carolina, not cohousing) had a visit last Sunday from Melanie Rios, Executive Director of Lost Valley Educational Center/Meadowsong Ecovillage in Oregon. She introduced Sociocracy at that community a year and a half ago with good results, and told us about it. People here were interested in her stories and getting even more interested in Sociocracy than they already were.

She demonstrated the Sociocracy election process and I helped her. We used a real role we have here, "Land Steward," and nominated real community members we know for the Land Steward position. It was "learn- by-doing" because we just did the election, and Melanie explained what we were doing as we went along. She selected someone for the role based on the logical reasons suggested by the nominees, after the "change round," in which each person had a chance to change their nomination or not, based on what they'd just heard from everyone else.

One of our members in the go-round had an objection to Melanie's nominated person. So we invited that member to do a "both-and" proposal instead -- something that would address her concerns about the nominated person yet we could still choose that person (as everyone else wanted the nominated Land Steward). The objecting member couldn't think of a "both-and" proposal. So I suggested one, and she liked the proposal a lot. So Melanie revised the nomination with this new both-and method, and conducted another go-round. No one had an objection to the new way to accept the nominated person, and we had ourselves a new Land Steward (in theory only as this was just a demonstration election.)

Everyone sat around the circle beaming. They liked the process very much. Melanie asked for their comments, and person after person said how they liked the upbeat, "connected" feeling they had, as they appreciated their fellow community members and found an appealing, workable solution.

Another story is that I'd done an introductory Sociocracy workshop for the same group back in March. When we discussed Circles (like committees), with each Circle linked by two people (called "double- linking"), they were intrigued. Then they got into small groups with a small whiteboard and some dry erase markers and, as an exercise, began "redesigning" our community's governance based on the Sociocratic circles and double-links. They loved it!

Another thing we did in that workshop was Hobbit Theater. That's where most workshop participants read lines in a script (the characters being hobbits, elves, humans, dwarves, etc. from The Lord of the Rings). The rest of the participants were the audience. So they put on a short "readers' theater" skit to demonstrate to themselves how the Consent Decision-Making process works in Sociocracy. It was a musical skit too. I and some other chorus members periodically interrupted the skit with silly short rhyming ditties to highlight which of the steps in the Consent Decision-Making process the characters were in at the time. The skit was silly and funny and everyone had a good time. And voila! they had a good "felt-sense" of how the process works.

We did the same thing in Part II of the workshop two weeks later, to demonstrate Sociocracy's "Proposal-Forming" process. The elves and hobbits were at it again, and folks had a good time.

By all this interaction in the learning process, these community members ended up having a positive experience of various aspects of Sociocracy, and a glimpse of what it might be like if it were adopted here at Earthaven. There are plans afoot to start adopting it here, little by little.

So you see, Prentice, learning about Sociocracy doesn't have to be dry or manual-like, or resemble the schematics of a hot-water heater. (Although you can, when someone objects to a proposal, hit the re-set button and try again. ;) ).

Diana Leafe Christian

Message: 1
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 11:47:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Prentice Zinn <prenticezinn [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: [C-L]_ Got Any  "a-ha!" Sociocracy Stories?
To: "cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org" <cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org>
        <1337021265.42136.YahooMailNeo [at] web162902.mail.bf1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

I'm looking forward to the Sociocracy Workshop on June 16th. & 17th. in Boston at Jamaica Plain Cohousing. ?(http://www.both-and.net/?)

To study up and perhaps inspire my neighbors, I pulled together this web resource. ?http://www.scoop.it/t/sociocracy

In doing so, I found that a lot of the sociocracy reading is about as much fun and inspiring as reading the owners manual to our hot- water system.

Do you have any short "a-ha!" stories that illustrate the promise, potential, or pitfalls of some element of sociocratic practice that you've experienced in your community?

e.g. "I realized it was really working when we...."


  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.