Sociocracy (sometimes also called “Dynamic Governance” in the US) is an effective governance and decision-making method Diana now highly recommends for intentional communities and member led groups. It means “governance by peers or colleagues,” and is a system for organizing work and making decisions to guide the work. Sociocracy is based on the values of transparency, equivalency, and effectiveness. When a community uses Sociocracy (and uses it correctly), they tend to get more done and enjoy more high-energy, effective meetings. In the U.S., Sociocracy is sometimes called Dynamic Governance.
DATES AND TIMES:
All three days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, May 19, 20, 21 2018:
9am to 5:30pm with ample breaks and lunch break. Write Lois for a summary outline of the three days, if you are considering attending: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of small group work and playfulness. Guaranteed fun workshop.
All three days:
Breakfast: Coffee, tea, fruit served 8:30 to 9am
Lunch on your own from 12:30 to 1:30: A list of good inexpensive restaurants within a five minute walk will be provided or bring a brown bag and have a relaxing lunch in the gardens.
117 Bimini Place – Community Room #201
Los Angeles 90004
Los Angeles Eco-Village
$200 to $300 sliding scale
Please let us know if members from your group plan to attend:
Lois <email@example.com> or 213-738-1254
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED and space is limited:
Contact Lois at 213/738-1254 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Leafe Christian is an author, former editor of Communities magazine, and an international speaker and workshop trainer on starting successful new ecovillages, how existing communities can be healthy and thriving, and community self-governance. She now suggests communities not use pure consensus, but rather use a modification like the “N St. Consensus Method,” or use Sociocracy, a relatively new self-governance and decision-making method. She lives in an off-grid homestead at Earthhaven Ecovillage in western North Carolina, USA.
She’s the author of:
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools for Starting Ecovillages and Intentional Communities (New Society Publishers 2003)
Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community (New Society Publishers 2007)
—Laurie Nelson, Pioneer Valley Cohousing, MA* “People tend to have more energy after a meeting than before.”
—Hope Horton Hart’s Mill Ecovillage, NC* “We’ve made more decisions in the past two months than in the past two years!”
—Davis Hawkowl, Pioneer Valley Cohousing * “It’s very clear what I commit to do; both inspiration & accountability go up.”
—Bill Baue, Pioneer Valley
* “We now organize committees in a way that we were never able to do before.”
—Marie Pulito, Rocky Corner Cohousing, CT
* “Information flows better, and we have better follow-up to our decisions; our meetings are faster and lighter and have a rhythm that feels satisfying.”
—Anamaria Aristizabal, Aldeafeliz Ecovillage, Colombia
* “People feel heard and supported.” —Mike April, Pioneer Valley
* “A visitor said she’d never seen a community meeting be so effective, efficient, and fun!”
—Hope Horton, Hart’s Mill Ecovillage
* “I would never have joined the community if we didn’t use Sociocracy; It’s our saving grace.”
—Kreel Hutchison, Baja BioSana Ecovillage, Mexico
How my Sociocracy trainings are different
Since 2012 I’ve been teaching Sociocracy for intentional communities — and visiting communities using it and I’ve learned what works well for people to learn Sociocracy effectively.
The workshop provides enough instruction to get started in using Sociocracy in forming or existing intentional communities or member-led groups, with ongoing help & training materials.
The workshop now includes:
* Simultaneous visual/verbal presentations with colorful, step-by-step drawings.
* Many small-group discussions for a shared learning process.
* Lively “Hobbit Skits” to introduce the Sociocracy meeting processes by seeing, hearing, and doing.
* Laughter and fun.
* Large wall posters of each meeting process. (I provide templates of these for each group in the workshop to make these wall posters for their group.)
* Abundant practice sessions “to learn in your bones and cells”
* A comprehensive 45-page handout booklet for workshop review and reference.
* All training materials in a Google.doc: the entire handout booklet, workshop exercises, templates for each wall poster, scripts for each Hobbit skit, and many additional handouts.
* Ongoing consultations by phone, Skype, or email about how workshop participants can implement and use Sociocracy. (No charge; included in the workshop fee.)
* “I got so much more than I expected — a solid understanding of how Sociocracy works and how to begin teaching and implementing it in my community. I feel so empowered! Your workshop is a 13 on a scale of 1-10.” —Jana Amsellem, Highland Lake Cove Cohousing, North Carolina, 2017
* “Your fabulous, fun, and effective workshop was so valuable for our group — I didn’t want to miss a word! I recommend your workshop to anyone curious about using Sociocracy in their community.” —Gale Tolan, Highland Lake Cove Cohousing, NC, 2017
Three Necessary Conditions for learning Sociocracy
As I see it, Sociocracy has seven important, mutually beneficial and mutually reinforcing parts, which we learn in the workshop. Like the design of a bicycle or a human body, each of the parts helps all the other parts function properly — all parts are needed!
After teaching Sociocracy and observing it being used well (and sadly, not so well) in various intentional communities since 2012, I now see three necessary conditions for learning and and using Sociocracy effectively:
(1) Everyone learns it. (Those learning it first help train other community members, ideally using the workshop’s training materials and with my ongoing consultation help.)
(2) Use all seven parts.
(3) Use it correctly! (Don’t combine it with consensus — this doesn’t work!)
I’ve also learned that it takes a three-day workshop (not two days) to learn Sociocracy well enough to use it well in an in-house study group or in the whole community if everyone is trained.
If you can only attend two days of the workshop, please attend the first two. Please have at least one group member attend the third day, so your group can learn all seven parts.
* First day: Basics of Sociocracy, including why building feedback loops into every proposal and clear aims for each circle is crucial. Circles & double links. Vision, Mission, Domains, & Aims. If you can attend only one day of the workshop, the first day is the one to attend.
* Second day: Consent Decision-Making and how feedback loops, clear aims, and what objections are and are not makes it work. Implementing Sociocracy — in-house study groups, proposal to try Sociocracy for 18-24 months, more training for members, member survey.
* Third day: Proposal-Forming, and Selecting People for Roles (Elections). Overview of and resources for learning more about the last two Sociocracy meeting processes: Role-Improvement Feedback and Consenting to Circle Members. Policy Meetings Operations Meetings, four roles of a circle in Policy Meetings, logbooks/websites.
* “Quite simply the finest workshop I’ve ever attended. Practical training with a hilarious sense of humor.” —Dennis Gay, 2013. Champlain Valley Cohousing, Vermont *
“The way Diana engages workshop participants is brilliant. She’s a master at taking making complex material and making it simple.” —Gaya Erlandson, Lotus Lodge, NC 2012
In Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of
the Los Angeles Eco-Village