Sociocracy academy

Why this Academy?

Sociocracy and other forms of decentralized governance have received an increased level of interest in the past years. Many people are questioning the ways of command-and- control and are longing for different ways of working together.

The “self-management journey”, however, is hard to travel alone. A transition to decentralized collaboration requires knowledge, skills and a mindset that many of us are just stepping into. This makes perfect sense - we’re collectively leaving behind the command-and-control culture we have been accustomed with, without really knowing what the new ways look like.

Leaders and people who implement sociocracy on their own are often lonely and in need for exchange and more learning, together with some coaching and “hand-holding”.

The vision behind this program

(4min video)

(4min video)

What is the Academy?

The Academy is 1-year program that serves as an accelerator for everyone’s learning by

  1. deepening our understanding (in workshops and in practice)
  2. mentoring
  3. communities of practice.

The entire program can be done online, with online classes, small group meetings, one-on-one video calls, self study and practical work inside organizations.

Who is the Sociocracy Academy for

The ideal learner is someone who has done introductory and possibly intermediate training in sociocracy and wants to step up their game, either in implementing and using sociocracy, or as a trainer and consultant.

  1. introduce sociocracy (or parts of it) in their own organization AND/OR
  2. introduce sociocracy (or parts of it) in other organizations.

Everyone can start on any intermediary or advanced level and progress from there. It is important for the student to state their personal goals which could include deepening learning, implementing in their own organization, adding sociocracy to their consultancy skills, improving an existing implementation.

Three integrated ways to learn

1. Learning

The Sociocracy Academy includes free access to 100+ hours of online workshops a year.

Topics include advanced facilitation, typical issues in implementation, how to plan and run performance reviews, meeting evaluations, how to resolve conflict, how to integrate objections. You can see an overview of topics in the section about badges below.
Learning can happen in workshops but it doesn’t only happen in workshops. We encourage students to learn from people with expertise in a certain area and also to go out into the “real” world and experiment. That’s why the badges in the Academy are not tied to workshops, they are earned when skills are acquired - no matter where you acquire them!

Ideas for learning from real-life situations are:

  • Analysing meeting recordings, reading resources or attending webinars - SoFA or other
  • Teaching a workshop and reflecting on the experience
  • Consulting with an organization and reflecting on the experience
  • Observing/co-teaching during a workshop taught by a more experienced trainer
  • Observing/assisting during consulting calls of a more experienced trainer (online)

Allow 4 hours per week of learning time in workshops and outside of workshops.

See the course catalogue for the first semester.

2. Companionship

The Sociocracy Academy includes membership in a community of practice, a group of 4-6 people where members can bounce ideas, ask questions, and get feedback. In small groups, everyone can be known and heard. Participants can build deep relationships and a history with each other.
The communities of practice are self-organized. Together, they decide sociocratically how they spend their time, how and what to learn. They issue badges that each individual earns, based on a clear description of skills needed for the badge and and strategies for evaluation.

Meetings will be 2-3 hours per month.

3. Individual support

A mentor supports the individualized learning path of each participant. Having a mentor is useful as a place to think and dialog about what you’ve learned and how it applies to your context. How do you go about implementation? Where can you find resources that would work? How do we talk with people who are resistant to change? What’s your next challenge and how can you go about it?

Meetings will be 1 hour at least 8 times over the course of the year, scheduled individually.

Badges - all your skills at a glance

Badges are an acknowledgment of real world skills. The Sociocracy Academy issues Open Badges that you can use them for self-motivation and monitoring your learning and as demonstration to others of what you know.

You receive a badge after you have acquired and practiced a skill. This could, for example, be to facilitate a selection process in different contexts (with multiple roles, online, in person etc). The badge is defined by a description of the skill and the measurement of the skill acquired (depending on the skill, this can be self-evaluation forms, evaluation forms from the people attending, e.g. participants in your selection process, or evaluation by an observer). The requirements are transparent and clear.

When someone has acquired a skill, the participant’s peers will review the evaluations and issue the badge. In order to issue a bundle of badges (a “cluster”), the pod’s parent circle (the ‘superpod’) needs to review all evaluations and approve. We offer many badges in this list compiled by the most experienced sociocratic teachers and consultants. If you think something is missing, the Sociocracy Academy Circle will be eager to hear your input.

Example workshops:

  • Advanced facilitation, with practice
  • Power Analysis
  • Implementing sociocracy in business/communities/cooperatives
  • Sociocracy in schools - what’s there to learn?
  • Reflective listening and NVC for meeting facilitation
  • Performance reviews
  • How to define operational roles (role descriptions)
  • Meeting agendas for progress in your circle
  • Leadership and self-management
  • Generating proposals

The duration/frequency of each workshop depends on the topic and ranges between a 3-12 hours.
Note: we are aware that other commitments might make it impossible to attend every workshop. Basic workshops are repeated on a regular basis (and offered in different time zones and different bilingual support). Specific events are always recorded and transcribed.

Our cluster of badges:

The Journal

The core piece of work is reflected in the journal of every participant.

The journal lives in the cloud and is maintained by the participant (in English, Spanish or German). Mentor and peers from the pod will read and comment in some sections of the journal. It includes:

  • 20 short essays on foundational knowledge of sociocracy
  • Documentations of the badges earned
  • Ideas and reflections/documentation of conversations with the mentor

You can see a sample document.

Time and money

How much time does it take to be part of the Academy?

There are no limits to learning. The more time you invest, the more you will get out of it.
In order to get substantial value out of the resources offered, plan at least 12 hours a month of workshops, community of practice and journaling. You will always be able to pace yourself.

Tuition

We estimate that the market value of a year of training of this quality is about $6,000 per year. Sociocracy For All’s mission is to make sociocracy affordable to anyone. To us, this means that everyone pays what they can, depending on their individual situation. Everyone will need to stretch a little to make it work, just as the Academy staff is striving to put on amazing learning opportunities. The final decision on your individual tuition will be made in a consent decision with our enrollment coordinator in a video call.

The enrollment coordinator will work with these guidelines:

for profits/consultants 5,000 per year. (Installments possible.)
non-profit and cooperatives $2,500 per year.  (Installments possible.)
Individuals $500-1500 per year
(for community fundraiser see below)

Transparency is a high value of ours. You can read our official business plan here.

What’s a one-time community fundraiser?

We support people who get trained to benefit their own ecosystem of organizations. What you learn in this Academy is needed in local communities and we want you to share what you’ve learned with others. To make this program affordable to individuals, we are encouraging you to ask for financial support from the network that is going to benefit from your learning. There will be many ways for you to give back: for example, if you are trained as a sociocratic facilitator, you can give back by running meetings in your local organizations. You could also give beginner workshops in your communities or coach individual organizations -- in that case you can run a pre-order campaign for workshops your give after or during your training.

Partial scholarships are limited to people in low-resource contexts. Some bartering might be possible - we will reserve 2 spots for people who will work in administration in exchange for their participation. These spots will be open until filled.

Mentoring Badges/learning Community of practice
2 hours (2x1h) per month 12+ hours per month 2 hours per month
Fee agreed upon with the mentor.$50-$100 per month. Included in tuition Included in tuition

 

How is the Academy organized? Who decides what?

The Academy is organized entirely sociocratically with staff and with a voice for each stakeholder - including students and coaches.

Badges are approved by the Communities practice - the group of peers. The “Superpod” makes decisions about bundles of badges. That way, it the people who learn together and know each other well who make the relevant decisions with each other.

All circles are double-linked: that means that members of each community of practice form the “superpod”. Someone from the Academy Circle attends meetings of the Superpod (with consent rights), and someone from the Superpod attends Academy Circle meetings. The same pattern of mutual influence and shared decision-making applies everywhere else: students’ and mentors run their own domain and can co-create how the Academy is run, with full transparency and open feedback lines about policy, budgeting and all other matters.

To those with only theoretical experience in self-management, even just being part of the structure of the Academy will be a learning experience in itself!

How do I apply?

What are the requirements? The most important two requirement are (a) solid knowledge of sociocracy and (b) willingness to experiment as a co-player. A good training to build a foundation of knowledge and skill is the Sociocracy Leadership Training that is offered 4x/year as a 9 week online class.

What are the steps? We think that talking is the best way to get to know each other and figure things out. In a 30 min video call, we will determine whether you have enough experience and you can ask your questions and decide whether this program works for you. We will also determine your tuition based on your situation. We can also split up those conversations, of course. We would like to know by mid Nov how many mentors and trainers are needed, so we'll work towards a head count then. 

We will ask for a downpayment of $100 to hold your spot. As the starting time for you cohort gets closer, the Academy support will help you get oriented, make contact with your mentor, show you around in your journal and in the workshop registration. You will also be put in contact with your peers and you will be expected to self-organize as a community of practice.

How to apply:

Make a date to talk with the program director, Ted Rau.

Fill out the enrollment form

(also below for FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

I want to implement sociocracy in my organization. How will this help me?

In our most preferred model of introducing sociocracy in an organization, a few key people in the organization are trained deeply and are able to support and maintain the implementation in the organization. They are experts and trainers at the same time. You will know to run sociocratically. You will learn how to interact with the people who struggle with concepts of self-management, you will learn to spot typical issues in implementations and you will be able to support  facilitators in your organization. For your support, you will also have your mentor who will help you think through your role in the transition and next steps towards a successful implementation, plus the peer support to hear other people’s perspective. Self-management can’t be introduced by an outside consultant -- but having companionship and access to support along the way makes it much easier.

This approach also pays off financially. Paying a trainer to train all your staff in a 3-day workshop typically costs about $2,500 plus travel, and ongoing coaching to implement and course-correct easily costs another $2,500 per year. With a “homegrown” expert that is trained well and connected in the Academy, you can have ongoing support by someone who knows your organization well for about the same amount.

 

I want to become a (better) sociocracy trainer. How does this help me?

Whether you are giving workshops yet or not, the Academy provides plenty of opportunity to grow. You can deepen your conceptual understanding of sociocracy in workshows, exchange training designs with your peers, talk through your personal growth as a trainer with your coach.

The mentors available in the Academy have taught sociocracy for years and can help you become an effective trainer.

If teaching is your focus and you are already a skilled facilitator, you can get confirmation of your skills by documenting your expertise with badges, while getting useful feedback on the way and building a solid and credible portfolio to advertise your training.

 

I want to include sociocracy in my consultancy. How does this help me?

You are already consulting with businesses and you want to include self-governance in your repertoire. The huge advantage of the Academy for you will be the connection to other experienced consultants who have seen many implementations, tell their stories and can give you a picture of the typical struggles. Since the Academy itself is running sociocratically, you will also be able to gain some first-hand experience of what it’s like to operate in a sociocratic organization. Besides giving you a solid foundation, a workshops format particularly of interest to you might be exclusive “ask me anything” sessions with experienced practitioners and consultants. The Academy acts like a marketplace of experiences and networks, all accessible to you.

 

Can I pick a mentor?

Every SoFA member can be your mentor. It makes sense to pick someone who has more experience than you. You can ask anyone to mentor you as long as that person has first-hand experience with sociocracy and joins SoFA and the mentor circle as a member. All mentors are part of the mentor circle to ensure that mentors have a place to reflect on how best to help you. The mentor circle double-linked to the operational Academy Circle to make sure that insights of mentors can give impulses for programming and for  improvement of how the Academy is run.

 

What "school" of sociocracy do you teach?

Traditionally, Sociocracy For All had been open to all schools of sociocracy, which includes SCM, wider interpretations of sociocracy, Sociocracy 3.0. Of course, every organization has their own style. We have been influenced by holacracy, agile, non-violent communication, other forms of communication and the long history of non-violence. That said, we are deliberately open to all non-dogmatic styles of the sociocracies. We think that mastering your tools and being open to learning and adjusting is more important than "purity". We also acknowledge that every human being will create their own mix, depending on their context, style, values, experiences - and it's that personal ownership and pluralism while having a shared basis so we understand each other enough to learn from each other that will strengthen the movement of self-management. 

Is there certification at the end?

We will give you a certification at the end of 1 year of being in the Sociocracy Academy if all your documentation (badges, journal incl. essay questions, performance review documents) are complete. It will reflect the badges earned, and the workshops attended. For some contexts, having a proof like “certification” is valuable. Much more valuable than that, however, will be your skills and your journal that can serve as a basis for a public portfolio. That’s why we put our focus on creating an environment where you can get a lot of experience fast so you are ready to make impact in the world.

 

Is the program only one year?

There is no end to learning and therefore no end to the Academy. There is no one set of skills and knowledge that “completes” anything there is to know. We expect that some students transition into positions of coaches and trainers themselves, but our goal is not to feed the Academy but to change the world outside of the Academy.

We ask for a one-year commitment so we can hire trainers. After that one year, you can extend in 6-month increments (with the same tuition per month as mentioned above). That way, you can gain more experience and earn more badges.

Is there a group discount? Referrals?

Yes. If two people sign up together, they both receive a 15% discount on tuition. This is also true if one person is already in the program and brings a friend into the program.

 

When can I join?

New people can join 2x a year (Jan 15th, Sept 1st). Basic classes are offered 2 times per year. More specific classes are offered once a year. The first class will start in 2019.

Expore this interactive description