Re: How many community meetings to make a decision?
From: Maggi (
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 10:19:09 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks, Ted! How often do your whole-group meetings generally happen? When
you say you can "do them all in one go," how is that decided? Do you get
any feedback from folks who cannot attend that one meeting that they are
upset by not being able to participate?

More context about my question: we have a similar process of surfacing
issues around an issue before moving forward with solutions. This typically
happens in our committees as well. However, we have a culture around
wanting approval from the plenary before making decisions about
money-related issues. This causes stress when our plenary only meets once a
month, and a perception that "consensus is slow" and a general
dissatisfaction around that. When we have tried to do meeting #1 in our
committees and then bring the description statement to the plenary meeting,
we get feedback that people are feeling lost or shut out of the process.

On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 8:41 AM Ted J Rau <ted [at]> wrote:

> In my community, most decisions are made in committees, not in the
> all-member meetings (following sociocracy process).
> Therefore, each committee (aka circles) meets as often as they see fit, and
> it can be different for each circle, like every 2 weeks, or every 4 or 8
> weeks. It can also change over time - for example, "my" circle met more
> often during high-stress covid time to make sure we understand
> implications; other circles met less often during that time.
> One general frame that might be useful even for groups that don't
> decentralize decisions like sociocracy does is this and that I each in my
> facilitation classes is this. Every time there's an issue, there are three
> steps:
>    - Understanding what the issue even is: Who is upset about what? What's
>    not working? Does this need a decision, or is some listening and/or
>    feedback enough? This can enter into an agreed-upon statement of how we
>    understand the issue we're trying to solve.
>    - Exploration of solutions: We enter a process of generating policy. We
>    use 3 sub-steps here (a) writing up dimensions to find headlines for
> ideas
>    (b) gathering of ideas of what we could do (c) synthesizing the ideas
> into
>    a proposal. Then ready for the next step!
>    - Decision: making a decision about the proposal we co-created.
> Of course one can do them all in one go but a "sane" pace is to take it one
> step per meeting. *So even a big policy decision can be made in 3 meetings
> and solved together*, especially if there's work done between meetings
> (extra listening, sending out drafts etc).
> 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.
> On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 12:14 AM Hafidha Sofia <hafidhaao [at]>
> wrote:
> > I would echo much of what Muriel said. And add: self governance is time
> > intensive, and the more activities or work we do, the more planning and
> > communication time required… most meetings are either for info sharing
> > about a thing that’s going on or for planning a thing we want to happen.
> >
> >  Songaia has a monthly ”house” aka community meeting that has a set
> agenda
> > related to the community’s state of affairs; those meetings are organized
> > by a committee (which meets monthly to set the agenda).
> >
> > And then there’s a second monthly meeting called the community circle
> that
> > has a very flexible format and wide range of topics; circles generally
> > provide space for ongoing community praxis and skill building — usually
> > related to communication, conflict, trust, etc. We might skip 1-3 circles
> > per year (esp in summer) but we don’t skip house meetings.
> >
> > Our community is very active and does a lot so there are many committees
> > and task forces of 3-12 people who need to meet anywhere from weekly to
> > twice a year to keep the community running, to foster communication, to
> > plan celebrations, to manage facilities, and to handle the legal and
> > financial affairs.
> >
> > We also have round tables, which are optional, but a way for topics and
> > solutions to be explored and temperature checks taken. For example, we
> had
> > round tables recently to talk about how we felt about covid precautions
> > post vaccines.
> >
> > Separate from that is groups that gather for an activity or identity,
> like
> > the meditation group, women’s group, people of color group, book study
> > groups, etc.
> >
> > I moved to a cohousing community in part so i wouldn’t need to drive
> > anywhere to have a rich social life. 😁
> >
> >  Hafidha
> > Songaia, WA
> > 2017-2021
> > now an associate (non resident) member
> >
> >
> > > On Jul 13, 2021, at 7:55 PM, Maggi R. <librarymaggi [at]> wrote:
> > >
> > > 
> > > How many meetings does your community have each month? How many
> meetings
> > does it typically take to make a decision on a topic from beginning to
> end?
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> >
> >
> >
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