Free Listening Through May 9, 2017:
For many decades Diana Leafe Christian has worked with intentional communities and has come to understand some of the most effective ways to sustain them. One of the governance systems she is familiar with is called sociocracy. This structure is used by peers and colleagues, and involves feedback loops and constant decision making. It includes a mechanism to measure group choices and evaluate whether to keep them, change them, or throw them out. It values equality, collaboration, and the rights of people to decide the conditions under which they live and work. Its principles and practices are very different from parliamentary procedure and majority rule. Majority rule may need only 51% of votes to pass a measure and this can lead to a divided society, promoting competition and dominance instead of cooperation and equality. Sociocracy goes a step beyond even consensus-governing practices. Consensus needs unanimity to pass a measure and this can be a long-drawn-out process. When someone is not in favor of a measure in sociocracy they can say, “This will be good enough for now and safe enough to try.” And through feedback loops a decision can be modified for improvement along the way. There is a way for a group to move forward even though there might be some resistance to what is being proposed. This means that no one person can hold the process hostage. It uses transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability to increase harmony, effectiveness, and productivity. She describes how we can bring this into our own community.