Sociocracy combines consent decision-making, a decentralized system of authority and intentional processes to improve our decisions and processes over time into a governance system that supports effective and efficient process while increasing connection, listening and co-creation among members.
Get a quick overview
Books from Sociocracy for All
Making group decisions: consent
Consent is the default decision-making method in sociocracy. In consent, a decision is made when no circle member has an objection. Every person will consent if they can accept the proposal, and object if the proposal has negative implications with respect to the circle’s shared aim.
A group moves to consent in the consent process: presenting the proposal and clarifying questions, quick reactions and a round of consent/objections.
Different from blocking a proposal in consensus decision-making, objections are welcomed. as valuable information and they can be integrated by modifying the proposal, its term or its measurements.
Circles and roles: who decides what?
Decisions are made in circles, a defined team of people working together towards their circle’s aim. Circle members make collective policy decisions in their domain and they define operational roles to empower individuals to take on responsibility and circle roles to self-manage their circle.
Circles are connected through parent circle/sub-circle relationships of nested domains, leading to a system where everything can be decided locally in the system, without centralizing power at the center. To make sure two circles are connected, we double-link them with two people as members in both circles.
Meetings with sociocracy
- Opening: check-in and ADMIN
- Content of the meeting
- Consent to agenda
- Agenda items
- Check-out (meeting evaluation)
Facilitation is a focus of sociocracy. Rounds – the practice of speaking one by one – are commonly used in meetings to keep equivalence and focus. Rounds also make it easy to run virtual meetings in video calls.
All sociocratic processes are built on the basic idea of continuous improvement. Feedback is a way to improve what we do, both by creating feedback-rich organizations, a commitment to interpersonal feedback and formal, peer-oriented performance reviews. Other practices are: meeting evaluations in meetings, reviews for all policy decisions and for role selections.
Leadership in sociocracy is peer-oriented and based on accountability to own commitments and to the circle. Many people also combine sociocracy with restorative justice or Nonviolent Communication to align their practice with their values and to improve their effectiveness and communication.
Writing proposals together
Policy proposals are always approved by a circle, but they can even be written together using the process of picture forming and proposal shaping.
See it done
How hard or easy it is to implement sociocracy in your organization highly depends on your size, culture, current set-up and commitment.
One distinction you need to know. While training talks about sociocracy, an implementation changes the power structure of the organization.
- Training is about knowledge of how sociocracy works in general, potentially with practice on examples.
- Implementation is the application of sociocracy to a specific organization
Do you need a consultant to implement sociocracy? It depends!
- SoFA supports “self-implementations” without external help, for example through organizational membership with groups of peer support and discounts on training.
- But we also offer coaching and consulting for any desired level of hand-holding through the process. The help of a consultant is only useful when you already know that you want to implement and all decision-makiners are on board – see the typical steps to get there!
More sociocracy resources: articles and videos
What are you interested in?
Table of Contents[Open][Close]MeetingsBetween meetingsRoundsSummaryReferences In a team, does it make sense to have those talk who know the most? Or should everyone speak? Does that slow things down, or does…
Table of Contents[Open][Close]The question of group sizeThe Case for Smaller GroupsThe Case for Broader InputsImplications for Sociocracy The question of group size With the world’s issues and complexity rising, the…
Table of Contents[Open][Close]Why is feedback important?How sociocracy supports feedback at multiple levelsReaction rounds and exploration roundsMeeting evaluationsRole improvement feedbackCircular hierarchyHow we might expect the use of sociocracy to connect to…
Table of Contents[Open][Close]At the team levelSelf-managed teams need goal alignment among membersSelf-managed teams need to be in harmony around their involvement levelAt the individual levelSelf-managing leaders need specific qualitiesSelf-managed team…
Table of Contents[Open][Close]But how are you really doing?The benefits of psychological safetyWhy can’t we skip the check-in? Vulnerability and trustWhat is shared leadership, and how does it create psychological safety?Benefits…
Table of Contents[Open][Close]Why are authoritarian workplaces the norm, when they are detrimental?Defining democratic workplaces and self-managementResearched benefits of democratic workplacesMeaningful feedback for organizationsJob stability during crisesFostering trust and making work…
Sociocracy and Holacracy are more similar than they are different. Both are decentralized self-governance systems that have received more attention in recent years. It seems to be almost universally true…