Who Decides Who Decides?

How to start a group so everyone can have a voice!

Powerful, tangible, and empowering organizing has never been more needed. Here is a gentle, stepwise guide for how to begin. Drawing on many years of experience and teaching, Ted Rau takes the mystery out of forming effective groups.
Nathan Schneider

Professor of Media Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

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You can launch a new group in 3 meetings and establish shared power and self-management!

To get off to a good start, start by defining the purpose, and put the infrastructure and practices in place that you will need to decide together so all voices can be heard.

This booklet shows you and your group exactly how to do that.

Any group can form itself using the template outlined in this book. It works especially well if the founders and early members want to grow and nourish an organization that gives every member a voice and is effective.

Why does this matter?

So many groups form. And so many groups fade. What distinguishes those groups that grow and flourish from those that fade and fail?

The success factors are well-studied, even though the lessons learned hardly make it into the design of those who start groups. That makes sense – groups form because people feel the urgency for change in an area of their attention, not because they are experts in how to start a group.

Yet, starting a group can be learned – and this book is your guide into the unknown!


3 meetings to get started!

  1. Commitment to consent
  2. Commitment to rounds
  3. Decide your aim
  4. Get to know each other
  5. Formally start the circle
  1. Select who is doing what
  2. Build the infrastructure
  3. Write your list of topics
  4. Decide where to start
  5. Invite new members?
  1. Stay coherent
  2. Bud out and differentiate
  3. Get started on action!
  4. Review, reflect and improve

Your group is now self-managed!

What others say…

Humanity is undergoing a species level rite of passage. We can choose to disagree on how to address the problems of climate change, cascading ecosystems collapse, obscene levels of inequality, etc., or we can manifest our evolutionary potential and mature into new ways of collaboration for the common good of people and planet. This will happen place by place, community by community, bioregion by bioregion. It requires paying attention to the biocultural uniqueness of places and people. We are capable of moving from a culturally dominant story of competitive scarcity to co-creating a world of collaborative abundance and in the process heal the Earth and her people. In order to do so we need to work on inclusion, participation and collaborative decision making. Sociocracy offers effective ways to accomplish just that.

Ted Rau’s book makes its practice and processes easy to understand and apply for any group ready to step into the adventure of co-creating diverse regenerative cultures everywhere.

Daniel Christian Wahl, Author, Speaker, Advisor

Powerful, tangible, and empowering organizing has never been more needed. Here is a gentle, stepwise guide for how to begin. Drawing on many years of experience and teaching, Ted Rau takes the mystery out of forming effective groups.

Nathan Schneider, University of Colorado Boulder

Ted Rau has written another invaluable survival guide for groups interested in distributing power and working towards a shared purpose. He demystifies common and frustrating pain points of governance and offers practical, down-to-earth tips for running effective meetings and clearing the path for meaningful collaboration.

Lisa Gill, founder of Reimaginaire and self-management coach

Ted Rau has done an outstanding job of tackling how to avoid the sneaky slide into a power struggle amongst well-meaning people who really want to cooperate and collaborate but need better tools. A practical, accessible approach to decision-making, this book is an excellent handbook for groups wanting to fulfill a mission and not spend their time stuck in a decision-making quandary.

Dawna Jones, author, Decision Making for Dummies

How does one start a completely self-governed group? Ted Rau is one of the most appropriate people to answer this question, because it is something he works on every day, not only in the organization of which he is the operational leader and co-founder, Sociocracy For All, but also accompanying groups and organizations (for profit and non-profit) that seek self-management and sharing of power. For those of us who work with him, he is a constant guide and reference due to his great knowledge, multiple experiences and the ability to explain things with clear, simple and with replicable materials. This book brings great clarity to those who accompany groups and who are part of them, since there are always common situations. Here, we will find concrete ways to be able to navigate and overcome them.

Nora Plaza, Consultant, leader of Sociocracia Práctica

What I love about Ted’s writing is that he speaks from the heart and from experience. Everything Ted discusses in this book he has tried and tested; and everything works! Our world seems to be moving through a phase of increasing division and rampant self-interest. Forming small groups that embody cultures of caring, empathy and `power-with’ rather than `power-over’ is a way for each of us to practice the skills that the world needs to move toward greater harmony. Well functioning small groups are a powerful piece of the more networked world we are creating. Ted is a gift to the world, and this book is a fantastic, practical guide to creating groups with the culture we need.

Paul Atkins, Prosocial.world

Look inside!

  • 119 pages
  • color illustrations
  • softcover, 6×9
  • each meeting explained with examples

See our resource page

For minutes templates, printables, and demo videos for each process in the book!