Re David Clement's concern about two members of the same household in a General Circle
From: Diana Leafe Christian (
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2019 17:47:29 -0700 (PDT)
Three comments about David Clements’ concerns about two members of the same 
household serving as members of the General Circle in Sociocracy.
        I agree with Jerry Koch-Gonzalez’ view that two members of the same 
household can work fine if the circle regularly schedules time for circle 
members to use the Sociocracy process of giving each other feedback about 
what’s gone well and what may need improvement (a process I call 
“Role-Improvement Feedback). This regularly scheduled Sociocracy process is 
used, as Jerry said, to “keep yourselves honest, responsive, and 
well-functioning.” Circle members can give their whole circle this same kind of 
feedback as well. I’ll be happy to send workshop handouts and other materials 
on using Role-Improvement Feedback to David and anyone else using Sociocracy in 
their community. If you’re interested, please let me know.
        I also agree that it doesn’t matter if two people from the same 
household are in a circle because in Sociocracy decisions are made with Consent 
Decision-Making, not majority-rule voting or consensus. In Sociocracy their 
contributions to policymaking are, to quote Jerry again, ideally are 
“persuasive rather than arm-twisting,” and General Circle members chosen for 
their ability to serve the big picture, not those simply with free time to 
attend meetings.
       Lastly, I’d like to suggest that a General Circle would not be a 
community’s main governing and policy-making group, as David noted. I believe 
this may be a misunderstanding Sociocracy.  As I understand it, people 
participate in a General Circle simply to coordinate the work of the main 
functional circles when needed, and do long-term planning for the community. 
The primary self-governance and policy-making work is designed to take place in 
each functional circle and sub- or “daughter” circle, relative to its area of 
work responsibility and ongoing services it provides the community. 
         To ask a community’s General Circle to serve as its main governing and 
policy-making circle could concentrate too much decision-making power in the 
center, rather than, as I understand Sociocracy is designed, for “distributed 
leadership,” spreading decision-making and leadership out to each functional 
and daughter circle. I’ll be happy to talk with anyone about this further, if 
         Diana Leafe Christian  diana [at]

Westwood Cohousing in Asheville NC has adopted a variant of Sociocracy.
     We have a Sun Circle (General Circle) which is the main governing and 
policy making group. The Sun Circle serves legally as the Board of Directors. 
The Sun Circle delegates authority to three Planet Circles (Community, 
Buildings/Grounds, and Administrative/Finance). Most of those on the Sun Circle 
are there by virtue of being Operations Leaders for or Representatives from the 
Planet Circles.
     As of now there are 8 members of the Sun Circle. Two households each have 
two members on the Sun Circle.
     We have heard concerns that it is a bad idea to allow more than one member 
of a household to serve on the Board/Sun Circle at a time. We could change our 
bylaws to allow only one Board member from each household.
     Have any of you had this issue come up, and what did you decide about it?
     Thanks for any feedback.
     David ClementsWestwood Cohousing

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