Re: Question about Consent Governance
From: Dick Margulis (
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2018 04:18:20 -0700 (PDT)
The issue Philip identifies is what had our group in nearly complete paralysis for a couple of years, trying mightily but unsuccessfully to move forward using formal consensus.

Sociocracy set us free.

Strip away all of the specific procedures and processes and structures of sociocracy and just focus on the concept of consent that it embodies:

1. The proposal belongs to the circle with the authority to act on it, not to the individual or circle that brings it.

2. The proposal includes what amounts to a sunset clause: when will we review it to see if it's working as planned or needs further tweaking, and by what explicit criteria will we make that judgment?

3. To decide whether to object, you ask yourself whether the proposal is safe enough to try and good enough for now, whether it is consistent with agreed community values, and whether you can live with it. You don't ask whether the proposal is perfect, because you know we will revisit it later (see number 2).

4. If you don't have a reasoned objection but still feel that something is amiss that needs to be resolved, the circle's job is to help you put your finger on the problem and articulate it so that it can be examined in light of those decision criteria. If your initially inchoate objection has been developed into a reasoned objection, then more work is needed on the proposal to resolve that objection, and good for you for bringing it. If not, then the facilitator will likely ask you to stand aside.

The better we get at using sociocracy--especially the better we get at internalizing number 1, above--the more efficient our meetings become and the faster we can get to a decision on a proposal. And the active listening involved in number 4 has kept us honest: people who are not necessarily very articulate nonetheless feel heard; we've had any number of instances where a little niggle that's bothering one quiet person has resulted in major reshaping of a proposal once the group teased out the real nature of the objection.


On 7/17/2018 6:26 AM, Philip Dowds via Cohousing-L wrote:
So here’s the issue, really:

Let’s say a controversial proposal has arrived at plenary.  The whole community 
has faithfully followed its formal consensus process.  After several months of hard 
work, inside and outside of plenary, the proposal has been significantly modified, and 
now almost everyone feels his/her concern or objection has been adequately addressed.  
Except, maybe, for one person.

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