Category: In Home and Family

In no other place than in home and family is it so important that we learn how to respect each other and to govern ourselves cooperatively. Sociocratic and democratic governance develops leadership, harmony, and strength. How can we be free and equal at home and in our families? How would a sociocratic democracy change daily lives?

Consensus and Personal Preferences

Personally I object to the use of the word “block” as synonymous with “objection” and this entry explains some of the reasons why.

What is a block? This is not a facetious question. If this is the word people want to use, what does it mean? From the accounts on the Cohousing-L email discussion list between cohousing communities that  uniformly use consent/consensus decision-making, block is used to describe an objection is more a veto. The … Read more “Consensus and Personal Preferences”

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
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Cohousing Meal Programs and Leadership

Some successful cohousing meal programs require participation by either cooking, preparing, or cleaning once every few weeks. (No one is required to eat.) But other communities that require participation in meal support still have meals infrequently.

A successful program averages 3-4 meals a week and their success is often attributed to  organization and leadership. This statement is typical of those programs:

We have a “meals boss” role, the Scheduler. Meals usually a major reason for

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Consent vs Consensus : Laird Schaub on Sociocracy

Laird Schaub

Laird Schaub helped found and has been living in Sandhill Farm, an intentional, income sharing community in Rutledge, Missouri since 1974. His community is very small, less than 10 adults, but his experience is very broad. He has been doing training and consulting in governance and consensus decision-making since 1987. He gives several workshops on decision-making, facilitation, proposal writing, delegation, etc., at the annual Cohousing Association Conferences. He is the Executive Secretary  and Development Read more “Consent vs Consensus : Laird Schaub on Sociocracy”

Encouraging Self-Organization

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social Change

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social ChangeIn a workshop I conducted last Sunday, one of the participants asked, “How do you encourage self-organization?” By some miracle, probably related to my being on every mailing list on anything related to sociocracy and governance, I received in my mailbox a link to an article on the  Interaction Institute for Social Change. You guessed it on  Tips for Encouraging Self-Organization by Curtis Ogden.

After some editing and additions, here are some ideas:

Encouraging

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Switching to Sociocracy in Cohousing Communities

Ecovillage of Loudoun County Virginia which adopted sociocracy when it began organizing in the late 1990s.

 

As is true with all governance changes, it is easier to begin with sociocracy than to switch midstream. Communities tend to stick with “the devil they know” rather than take a chance on a new one, but more and more and more communities are switching full scale or adopting some of the principles and practices.

Except for those who have switched to sociocracy, cohousing communities use full group consensus as their primary method of … Read more “Switching to Sociocracy in Cohousing Communities”

Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Massachusetts, US

Pioneer Valley Cohousing

Jerry Koch GonzalezJerry Koch-Gonzalez is a certified sociocracy consultant  and  partner in the Sociocracy Consulting Group. His focus is individual and organizational development in governance, decision-making, communication skills, and conflict resolution. His career has been in  organizing, educating, and consulting for social justice.

The approaches he uses are sociocracy/dynamic governance, Non-Violent Communication and Mediation, Restorative Circles, and Transformational Mediation. The organizations with which he has worked include Movement for a New Society, the National Coalition Building … Read more “Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Massachusetts, US”

Outside Experts on the Board of Directors

Image from the Getty Museum of a Council of war from the 19th century.Residential communities customarily do not have board of directors members from outside the organization. Corporations normally do, but they may not be chosen by their ability to balance expertise. Non-profit organizations and independent schools often choose board members based on their ability to raise money or influence government or foundation decision-makers.

Balanced Expertise

Balanced expertise on the board of directors steers the organization from multiple perspectives. Balance can be achieved with experts on larger community … Read more “Outside Experts on the Board of Directors”

Homeowner Association Boards (HOA)

blog post on the tyranny of homeowners association boards sparked a chord of frustration and disdain in me this morning. The blog post was by Jonathan Nettler, “The Tyranny of America’s Homeowners Associations,” on the Planitizen website, “a public-interest information exchange for the urban planning, design, and development community.”

Nettler’s post selectively quotes a post by Kaid Benfield, “Coercion by Contract: How Homeowners Associations Stifle Expression, Sustainablity” on the Natural Resources Defense … Read more “Homeowner Association Boards (HOA)”