Re: Sociocracy
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2012 06:01:41 -0700 (PDT)
On 7 Jul 2012, at 7:45 PM, davidaclements2 wrote:

> Several of us at Westwood Cohousing are interested in the possibility of 
> implementing Sociocracy in our community.  We will be having an information 
> session soon.  I think it would be a great idea to have on the Coho List a 
> list of cohousing communities that have implemented Sociocracy.

Thanks to David for his excellent questions. i would also be happy to have this 
information. One of the difficulties in obtaining it is that (1) there are many 
degrees of using sociocracy. It is easier to say "influenced by" or "moving 
toward" or "implementing." And (2) people rather like to be themselves and have 
their governance system be invisible. We use consensus has a cache about it — 
we are sociocratic or we use sociocracy begins to push against cohousing 
communities' desire to be non-ideological. Sociocracy is a set of principles 
and methods to be used objectively but can sounds more big-brotherish to people.

In considering a community or organization to be using sociocracy thus becomes 
a broader definition of influenced by, studying, using the sociocratic 
definition of consent as "no objections," using the double link to form a 
coordinating body or board, etc. Takoma Village where I live has reached the 
point of using the sociocratic definition of consent. Before hearing of 
sociocracy, the board included a representative of each team. We've yet to 
distinguish policy decisions at the team level — an arcane point but important 
and too long to discuss here.

So I'm happy to list communities as exploring sociocracy or having a sub-set of 
members exploring sociocracy and will start a list at

Several years ago I wrote a piece called "Applying Sociocracy Without an 
Organization" and now entitled " Sociocracy for One". The full piece is posted 
at the link below and I included a summary:

1. Expect Consent. Function as if consent is already the standard in 

2. Initiate Rounds. Instead of waiting for open discussion, begin rounds by 
asking, “What does everyone think? Mary?” and move around the room to each 

3. Double-Link: Suggest that two people with differing styles or opinions 
represent your group when approaching an authority or attending a conference or 

4. Make the Best Choices Using Discussion and Consent: Don’t ask for 
volunteers; ask who might to be a good person for a function or task and obtain 

5. Actively Solicit Objections: After presenting an idea welcome objections by 
asking, “Now how is this going to work? What’s wrong with it? Let’s make it 

6. Measure & Report: Build measurements into your decisions so you will know 
how they are working.

7. Encourage Self-Organization: Ask questions that expect people to find their 
own answers, to be self-generating. And take control of your own 
responsibilities so you can do the same.

8. Self Education: Take responsibility for your own development, for continuing 
to learn about life, about your work, and about your organization. Create an 
environment of growth—not necessarily bigger, but deeper.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
Coauthor with John Buck of
"We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy"
ISBN: 9780979282706

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.