Techniques or Understanding


One criticism of We the People is that there is too much history and theory. Some people only want the "how to." Or say, "The book should start with the how-to.""Give me the technique, not the boring stuff."But if you focus on techniques, you then ask for more detailed techniques. A technique for every situation. As if there could be a technique to cover all situations. If there were such a thing it would look like Robert's Rules Order and you would have to have a specialist—a parliamentarian—in every meeting to cite the rules. No one else would learn them, and you can't stop a meeting to look them up. It's thick book. In small type.

Understanding Is Fundamental

Techniques are important but not by themselves. They are applications, not understanding. Without understanding you can't develop unique techniques, ones to fit the situation confronting you. And people are … Continue Reading ››

Collaborative Governance

I've been looking for a new description for and have tried several. In reading recent posts on [email protected] and sociocracy-related websites, I found the word collaborative used the most often to describe sociocracy and, perhaps more importantly,  to be used consistently with the same meaning:
Collaboration is working with others to achieve a common task and to achieve shared goals. It is more than the intersection of common goals found in co-operative organizations.

Why Not Consent?

The word consent is used by many to describe sociocracy but I haven't found that people are attracted to it. Some because they don't know what it means outside of a marriage ceremony, and others because they are afraid of it. They envision long meetings and months of discussion. However fundamental consent is in creating a sociocratic organization only those already familiar with consensus decision-making seem comfortable with it and many of them also want to avoid … Continue Reading ››

Update on

A picture of my Frazzled Brain
My Frazzled Brain
In January 2014, I decided that developing both my Sociocracy site and my Deeper Democracy site was turning me into a frazzled mess. In order to focus, I imported all the information from A Deeper Democracy to, planning to close down A Deeper Democracy. I spent almost a year developing as both a guide to the principles and methods of sociocracy and an exploration in relation to other ideas. I put a closed sign on A Deeper Democracy and let it be.The problem was that writing about democracy, sociocracy, and governance in general all at the same time was confusing those new to sociocracy. Learning new methods is easier when the teaching focuses rather narrowly. To compare and integrate diverse ideas is a more advanced and a different task.Combining my … Continue Reading ››

Consensus or Sociocracy?

Drop Cap Letter QWe are 3 months into starting a cohousing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. Consensus and sociocracy seem to be common strategies in cohousing and other intentional communities. Which do you recommend?

"Consensus or Sociocracy?" Is the Wrong Question

(But there are no dumb questions. This one is a very good question and one we hear frequently.)Sociocracy and consensus are not opposite things.
  1. Consensus is a decision-making method.
  2. Sociocracy is a governance method.
  3. Sociocracy is a governance method based on consensus decision-making.
Sociocracy establishes a structure within which to make policy decisions (the planning and leading) and operations decisions (the doing).Policy decisions are made by consensus. Operations decisions are made by the leader of the work group or as the circle decides. The circle can also decide to use consensus for day-to-day decisions, the consent of 2-3 circle … Continue Reading ››

Biography of Kees Boeke

Cover of Dutch Biography of Kees BoekeWell-received biography of Kees Boeke in Dutch by Daniela Hooghiemstra, a noted Dutch Biographer.Available from Bol.comDescriptionDe christen-pacifist Kees Boeke (1884- 1966) wordt wel ‘onderwijshervormer’ genoemd maar hij beoogde niet minder dan de stichting van een nieuwe wereld. Toen de poging om die gemeenschap te stichten mislukte, besloot Boeke een school te stichten waar de ‘nieuwe wereld’ van de grond af opgebouwd moest worden. Deze unieke school kreeg na de Tweede Wereldoorlog een prominente leerling: prinses Beatrix. De koninklijke aandacht leek de kroon op zijn werk, maar luidde ook het begin in van de ondergang van Kees Boeke en alles waar hij altijd in geloof had.

Collaborative Collective Cooperative

Ornamental Capital Letter CCollaborative, collective, and cooperative are words often used interchangeably. When I hear them I wonder which one the speaker or writer means. I use them interchangeably too, sort of giving equal time to all of them. I have a preference for cooperative because it seems to have fewer political overtones than collective, and collaborative reminds me of clabber. It sticks in my throat.

The Problem with Dictionaries

The dictionary definitions of these three words don't help very much because they tend to give each as a synonyms of the other, particularly collaborative with collective and collective with cooperative. Remember when dictionaries told you which word was correct? They might have been too proscriptive but at least they preserved the precision of language.There is great value in language becoming new with inventive applications and combinations that play off the original, but smushing words together with no regard … Continue Reading ››

One Name = Conquer Google

Google LogoI was searching my name on Google this morning as the quickest way to find my own website. I shockingly  discovered that for sharon villines there are more than 52,000 results. Then I was reminded by my associates on [email protected] to search on "sharon villines". A big difference: 6,390. Still a lot. Some are duplicates but that's a lot of websites. (Another day I have to find out what they are.)Then I checked sociocracy to find out how many results there were: 32,000+. Certainly up from 12 in 2002, but still not stellar. (I keep a running count of Google hits, the Google Count.)

Collaborative Governance

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