Sociocracy at Work
“Working in a sociocratic organisation is like playing in a band where everyone is master of their instrument but we’re playing as one, without a rigid structure that determines the way the different instruments sound together.
Within this, our circle and role structure is like the sheet music: you need it to understand how the music works (especially at the beginning!) but at the end of the day, it’s not what makes the music – what makes the music is what individuals do with it.”
Nothing AG (Switzerland)
Key Concepts of Sociocracy
Sociocracy focuses on organizational self-governance:
- consent as a pragmatic and inclusive decision-making method, and
- organizational structure with small empowered teams,
- a built-in practice to evolve and learn continuously.
Sociocracy and Other Frameworks
Sociocracy is often combined with agile, compassionate and integral frameworks.
Top-down implementations of sociocracy are possible but not typical. More often, it is a team effort of changer-makers in the organization re-designing its governance system from within. Purpose-driven organizations will find the best fit in sociocracy.
Who is Already Doing it?
- Nothing AG (Switzerland)
- IT department, DTU (Denmark)
- Effinger (Switzerland)
- Coworking Lounge Tessinerplatz (Switzerland)
- subject:resoul (Germany)
- West Brabandt Homecare
- BioEnspiral (Brazil)
- 1STi (Brazil)
- Sociocracy For All (global)
- Codento (Finland)
- Social Care Network (UK)
- MedLife (Chile)
- meci-group (global)
- Bright AssetBank (UK)
- 10pines (Argentina)
“Sociocracy for us has delivered far beyond organization dynamics and team performance.
By giving people a voice, we are progressing to a new level of consciousness, ethics, and strategic awareness, activating collective intelligence, leadership development, and wholeness of presence in our company.”
- Open minds: hearing everyone the first time makes sure that people’s expertise is wanted – employees know a lot about how their work can be improved.
- Psychological safety: a meeting culture where it’s ok to share ideas, ok to care about something, and ok to make mistakes. Learning and making things happen go hand in hand.
- Nimble organizations: putting decisions closer to where the action is makes decisions faster and more realistic.
Can we just do some pieces, or is this a package?
You can use individual pieces from sociocracy as you see fit.
Sociocracy is completely tailorable and is not owned or trademarked. You use what you want, and you learn from your experiences. (More on this topic.)
That said – you also decide how much time you want to invest in tweaking it. From our experience, starting out with a standard package saves some time and headaches.
Is sociocracy hard to do?
We have noticed that sociocracy is easiest to implement in a young organization. Yet, even established organizations can switch and enjoy smooth, action-oriented and connecting governance if they are serious about a trust-based, blame-free governance system.
Where do we start?
Read and watch the information on this site. If you are interested in suggesting at your workplace, make sure to read The Sociocracy Starter Kit first. You will notice that it suggests involving other people in your exploration as early as possible. Having seen dozens of organizations in this situation, we really mean it!
Featured Resources for Workplaces
Learning and Implementation
All SoFA Resources on Sociocracy in Workplaces
Will sociocracy ever become mainstream? François believes it could, or at least the principles of sociocracy could, because it celebrates and respects both diversity as well as convergence through consent, enabling new perspective to emerge, all conditions for living organisations.
From leader to leadership. We formed a cross-functional unit out of 3 teams. Instead of autocracy or anarchy, we use sociocracy to foster alignment and autonomy, while taking our long-time agile software development practices into account.
As a business change consultant Simon Copsey was fortunate to employ tools from Sociocracy in a few different settings, from tactical to strategic – sometimes successful, and sometimes not – but always offering valuable lessons.
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