Re: How many community meetings to make a decision?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 14:36:27 -0700 (PDT)
> In sociocracy, even though the process might be held by one circle, the
> all-member meeting can give input into the steps, on whichever step(s) it
> might be most useful. So for example, the circle could do meeting #1 (and
> generate a description statement of the issue) and run it by others; then
> ask for input for meeting #2 and synthesize those ideas in the circle
> meeting; then #3 would be the decision. The back and forth between small
> group-large group can be a very powerful dance, and it's the reason
> decisions in small groups can still include the input from a lot of people.

I would add that this is all the decision-making process.  If you start 
counting the time it takes to make a decision with a meeting in which people 
are confronted with a proposal about an issue that is new to them, it can take 
many meetings to get up to speed. And it has to — if you want people to be 
committed to the self-managed, self-governed community, you have to engage all 
the selves. 

The decision to spending half a million dollars to install solar panels and do 
early roof replacement received full consent in ONE MEMBERSHIP MEETING because 
the process was so well done. (Technically it took two — one for presenting the 
proposal and one for final decision, but it could have been done in one. We 
just always take 2 for policies and major decisions like this.)

Everyone with the remotest interest in solar was welcome on the working group 
exploring this. Expert advice was sought in addition to cost comparisons and 
visits to energy agencies, etc. It was most like the Adventure Education 
modules that are done in primary schools in which a topic like Tropical Forests 
is explored from all angles over many weeks and a final presentation made.

It took working group a year to write the final proposal which included 
detailed analysis of expenditures and paybacks. It was several pages long and 
included FAQ. One membership meeting but countless working group meetings and 
discussions. Updates were posted along the way, and we could see the 12 people 
meeting in the CH over the year. By the time the proposal came to a meeting, we 
were convinced by the quality of the research and the planning.

If there is an open flow of communication in the community, people will be 
aware of various issues before there is even an attempt to find a 
solution/resolution. People are not confronted in a meeting with a proposal  
about an issue of which they were totally unaware. If you start counting 
membership meetings that way, it will take many more because no previous work, 
or not enough, has been done.

My favorite test of a decision is when they are made when they no longer need 
to be made. The resolution has become that clear. Deciding is just confirming.

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
Affordable Housing means 30% of household income
Cohousing means self-developed, self-governed, self-managed

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