What does it mean to switch to Socioracy? [was Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance workshop w/John Buck, Sheella Mierson on 2/26-27, Wash DC
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 07:09:51 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 5, 2013, at 12:00 PM, Diana Leafe Christian <diana [at] ic.org> wrote:

>       Here's a wonderful 6-minute video by some Lost Valley members saying  
> how they switched from consensus to Sociocracy, and why they like it. 
> http://sociocracyconsulting.com/resources/videos/

To expand on Diana's shorthand:

I would describe this as "how they switched from no governance structure to a 
governance structure based on consensus." Sociocracy is the only governance 
system that supports and reinforces consensus decision making. it enables 
consensus, makes it practical in large and diverse groups with complex aims.

In the video community members explain how communities are able to retain the 
collaborative and inclusive qualities of consensus decision-making while 
delegating decisions to small groups and allowing them to become specialized.

While I understand why people like to oppose consensus with consent, I believe 
that in the end it is self-defeating. It becomes a battle of definitions rather 
than a focus on how to organize cohousing communities so they function as 
excellent places to live and grow.

The fundamental difference between what cohousing groups using consensus do now 
and what they would be doing by adopting the sociocracy is not changing their 
decision-making method but adopting a governance structure that supports it and 
makes it more effective. That is the change that produces the shift from 
stalemate to community.

Sociocracy's dynamic governance structure uses principles of organization 
derived from observations of natural systems and has been tested and developed 
in organizations since the 1970s. It was also strongly influenced by Quaker 
beliefs and ideals. It was developed first in a large residential school and 
then in a corporation. It has all the bells and whistles needed to make quick, 
well-considered decisions that are evaluated and improved over time, but also 
has as its underlying values equivalence and harmony, not competition.

In cohousing, because we fear losing the inclusive wholeness of our 
communities, we have resisted adopting anything other than full-group 
decision-making. Sociocracy allows us to delegate and specialize and still 
retain the sense of the whole.

Sharon Villines
Co-author with John Buck of We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, a 
Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods

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