We 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. Consensus is… Read More . . . “Consensus or Sociocracy?”
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 Coordinator… Read More . . . “Consent vs Consensus : Laird Schaub on Sociocracy”
Diana is the author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community (New Society Publishers, 2003, 2005). She teaches Sociocracy to intentional communities — including ecovillages and cohousing communities — in North America and internationally. She also leads workshops on starting all varieties of intentional communities, how existing communities can succeed and thrive, and on governance and decision-making.
As… Read More . . . “Diana Leafe Christian, United States”
A video has been posted on YouTube that talks about using sociocracy at Lost Valley Intentional Community. This is a nice video for residential communities — cohousing, cooperatives, condominium, and intentional — because it talks about the values and benefits of creating a sociocracy without the corporate/business vocabulary and concerns. It is also set on the community grounds rather than in an office.
About Lost Valley
The Lost Valley Intentional Community is associated with… Read More . . . “Lost Valley Intentional Community, Eugene, Oregon”
Many communities—cohousing, religious, etc.—believe that conflict resolution is based on loving and understanding. That if we just care more and understand each other’s needs, conflict will go away. They emphasize how hard this is. “This is the hard work we all need to do.”
Peace workers, in particular, are big on love and understanding and couple attempts to acquire it not only with hard work but with courage. “It takes a lot of courage to… Read More . . . “Conflict Resolution: The Fixer”
The term for the highest circle or governing unit of a sociocratic organizations is “top circle.” The top circle has many functions of a board but is not all powerful as many corporate boards are. I have used “board” here because it is more familiar and in this context not likely to be confused with absolute power.
When sociocracy is explained the emphasis is often on its benefits for delegating decisions effectively and efficiently, extending… Read More . . . “Full-Circle Meetings”
Sociocracy is a governance method based on collaboration, self-organization, and distributed authority. It is designed for transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability. Democracy values freedom and equality but doesn’t have a governance structure guaranteed to ensure them. A Sociocratic Democracy uses the methods of sociocracy to achieve the values of democracy creating a practical and effective way to organize. This site is about sociocracy and the ways in which it can help democracy achieve its highest goal: freedom and equality for all, finally.