Left Coast Media

North Bae 006 - Sociocracy and You

December 14, 2017 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 006 - Sociocracy and You
Show Notes Transcript
Just comrade Tiberius for this one, but a very important discussion about what sociocracy is and why it's important for us as radical and even reformist socialist with Jennifer Rau of sociocracyforall.orgRead about the local democracy project in Kerala here: https://wikis.uit.tufts.edu/confluence/download/attachments/42666929/KeralaExperiment.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1299688067000And find the sociocracy training courses on http://www.sociocracyforall.org/training/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJhU0G6Hm2-Xk8T7BvpKhRw

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Speaker 1:

I am muted. That is, how did that happen?

Speaker 2:

No, no, no. And I got kicked out again. I'm so sorry. You know what you mean? Is, do you know what

Speaker 1:

okay, always stops in the same position of your question. Jeez. I think maybe we'll be missing to maybe who knows who's up, who's observing what you're going to say. And you had the question they'll give being is that you about to ask? You're not allowed to ask.

Speaker 3:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

All right. And welcome to the North Bay podcast.

Speaker 2:

Unfortunately, I was just going to be me as a host today. My Co host could not make it here this early in the morning to join us. So it is just going to be myself type areas, Caracas and our guests today, Jennifer Rowe from the sociocracy for all nonprofit. So go ahead and, um, uh, introduce yourself. Let our listeners know what sociocracy for all is trying to do and then we'll sort of get into what sociocracy is and what it means.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Thank you. Yes. So I'm Jennifer Rowe. We call founded sociocracy for all because what we wanted was we wanted to spread sociocracy as a governance model and all the education around that as widely as possible. And our background is that both the other cofounder Jerry coach can tell us and I have been around for quite a while. I actually got exposed to it. I'm living in an intentional community and uh, we've trained quite a bit and at some point we, um, got a little impatient, I guess with the, with the pace in which change was happening and we decided to stay lit up a little. One way of doing that is, um, uh, is by making videos, I'm accessible producing videos and putting them online so people can learn and study on their own more just to make it easier and faster to spread a lot of what we're about and sociocracy for all. And that is what the four all comes from is that we want to make sociocracy and all the education and information about it more accessible to everybody because there's a barrier there for cost and for just what kind of information you have access to. And we wanted to make it easier for people. And I guess he also asks about sociocracy what sociocracy yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I think that there's sort of like the way that I see it, at least there, there are two key features of sociocracy, the first being the circles and the principle of double linking that allows for both autonomy and a sense of a structure and information resource sharing as well as the ability for a leadership to arise through the ranks as necessary. And then the, the other part of that is shifting from a, a majority voting process to a consent process. So it's, it's, uh, it's different from a standard majority vote. It's also different from the way that we did a consensus in sort of like the occupy movement. And I think it's, um, it's, it's a much more sort of nuanced approach. And if you could talk about those two things, so, so that our audience gets a good sense of, of where we're all coming from here.

Speaker 1:

I see. Let me quickly say where the name comes from. The soul CEO's are the people who associate together and Christy is governance by. So most people who work together decide together. That is sort of the shortcut of sociocracy. Um, and it's been fed, um, historically from three different sources. One is the decision making came from the Quakers that use a special form of consensus. And from there we developed, it was developed to use consent. I will talk about that in a sec. Then there is a socket structure that you mentioned that is very much inspired by natural systems. How natural systems work. For instance, if we look at natural systems and in our body, okay, we have semi autonomous systems in us. So there's a secondary system and the respiratory system, the muscular system and all of those and they each do their own thing, but they are entity pendant. So when I run, you know, it affects both my respiratory system and my secretary systems and all kinds of systems. So there are interdependencies between, but really they each do their own thing and that is exactly how we look at soccer. So a circle it group of people who work together have authority over what they do, which means the people who work together in one domain, they make decisions about that domain. They don't have to ask their boss. And they also don't have to ask the steering committee. They make the physicians and their domain. So that's one, one big aspect of that. They're making the authority of the decision power more local, again, closer to the people who actually do anything with it. And then the third aspect that you didn't mention, and that is in classic sociocracy not so obvious, although it is a bear, but we like to highlight is the the notion of feedback. And it's that everything we do,

Speaker 5:

we

Speaker 1:

make a plan, we carry it out and we see what happened. So for instance, how that plays out at an actual, um, organization is bad. When we make a policy, we always put a determined on it. Say we're going to make a policy. Ron Membership read, not had the policy in one year and after one year we have to either decide again and decide what the same policy like affirm it all. We have to make a different plan. We can just let it go, go stale or rigid or forget about it. We have to be practice about a policies so that they connect to the service. So those three things, the, I'm just fishing, making by consent, a circle structure like natural systems and feedback system from cybernetics originally. That is really what makes us office. And really the whole thing is designed so that nobody can be ignored. And that's also where the decision making system comes from. So let me talk about that briefly. Um, the decision making system method, as you said, as much consensus and not majority vote. It is something that is very close to consensus, but it has a little bit of a tweak to it. And that is so in consent it decision is made if there's no objection and objection, meaning I can work with this. If we decide this, I'm not going to be able to do my work. So it's not, oh, I don't like this. It's, no, this is actually going to keep me from working. Okay. So we have a, we have a clear definition of what an objection is and that means we have the dis, we have a way of distinguishing between personal preferences that we can hear, but that I'm not going to hold us back and real objections that we are going to incorporate because of obviously we don't want a policy that keeps people from working. Why would we do that? So we're happy when we hear about that because then that gives us a chance to make a policy better. So more about the difference between consent and consensus because I know that 10 people had a reaction to this if they are very much at home in consensus and that is that sometimes we get the reaction, well that's what we're doing and um, we, I'll Santa responses. Yeah, many groups do it but there is no consensus on what consensus really understand in many different ways of actually living it. If you run your consensus decisions the way I just described and like consent. Great. If rather in many organizations that takes a different shape, it takes the shape of everybody sitting in a room and talking and arguing all the water's the solution. Because if you go by consensus in terms of everybody has to agree, then people will argue and fight for their personal preferences, which means that we'll be much harder to make a decision and it can be really hard to listen to each other because we're trying to prove each other wrong. And that is exactly the dynamic that consent decision making is trying to avoid because we're not talking about personal preferences and the more we're just trying to hit the sweet spot where everybody can contribute and the work as best as possible.

Speaker 2:

Right. And I really like that way of thinking about it because it, it is much easier to set aside your personal ego when the outcome is what is essentially acceptable rather than what is the thing that you want. And then to add on top of that, the idea that all of your policies and decisions are, are always up for review. You know, as you put the policy into practice, you are sort of like taking notes and, and seeing how it's effective and then the next time you come to a meeting and say, okay, we tried this thing, it didn't quite work out. Let's see what else we can do. Or uh, we tried this thing. There were some, there were some concerns about it, but we have through putting it into practice, we have overcome those objections and now we're fine to go move on to something else. It feels like a way of sort of existing within a small group of people that is much less prone to the kind of uh, sclerosis that, you know, if, if everybody has to 100% agree, then nothing can ever really get done.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. We, we lose a lot of time and organizations and meetings trying to figure out what the best solution will be as if we know what would happen. You know, one, one thing that that happened for me being immersed in sociocracy over over quite a while is that my mindset has shifted and that is that for me is a huge shift. And that is to not having to know, I don't have to know what the best solution is. I just have to be willing to find something that's safe enough. I'm like, okay, I, I think I can work with this. Let's try it out that review in six months. And by that time we will have learned more because really our world is too complex, too complex to make any decision at any, any predictions. Um, you know, if we, if we change one thing and one and it can, like if you think of systems thinking it can completely have like an unexpected effect somewhere else, how would I know? Well I'll just trying to do our best, but we have to be honest about that, about the not knowing piece. So for me that is, that is a huge learning in consent decision making. I don't have to know. I have to be willing to try it out and take in the feedback that I get and work with that and then make it better so that over time we're going to better decisions, not instead. So imagine we would decide about the same policy and tweak it every time in four iterations over two years. That's way better then arguing about what might be the best perfect decision for two years because we will actually get to a better result because we actually based in, in fast.

Speaker 2:

Right. And I think that's a good jumping off point to talk about sociocracy in the real world on the ground where it exists, we are implementing it at a a pretty small scale and our local DSA chapter, I mean it's, it's really only about 20 of us who are actually being active and the majority of us who are, who are actually meeting regularly to report backs and decide what we're going to do. That's only about eight to 12 people. Uh, so we have not sort of grown big enough to really strain the model so that we know how it works for us. Eh, particularly. So I kind of wanted to get your sense as someone who has been in this work for much, much longer than, than I have even really known about sociocracy where this model is being implemented and how the people who are actually working within this model and it's been particularly in larger organizations, how they feel about it.

Speaker 1:

What you're asking about is really bad. The issue of scale, right? Because we can all easily imagine a situation where we make decisions and it grew for 15 maybe 20 what happens with 100 people? How about 2000

Speaker 2:

cause we can do what we can do basically anything we want to with you know, 15 people and it's probably going to work out because we see each other on a regular basis and we know each other and there's not like that many competing interests. So you know, whether it's sociocracy, whether it's consensus, whether it's majority voting, whether it's authoritarian, we're going to find a way that works. I'm really interested in seeing how it works. Is Scaling Up as you said.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So on a technical level, he is how it works. But I have much, much as I am about that. So, um, if we imagine that we have, let's say one second, okay, we'll suck lift seven people. That's a good group science. So, um, we make decisions. Okay, fine. But what about the other departments, the other interest groups, working groups. So how do we, how do we avoid silos an in I'm Bruce and the way we do that is that every circle has a parent's circle and has two people who are so from my soccer that two people who are also part of the next highest and highest and close here because hierarchy, sometimes people, and that's parents. SOCOM is going to have the, what we call a lead and they're like, it's two people from the other Soko. So my, my siblings circles so to speak as well. So that is where, um, all the information flows together and it's important to, to remember that the authority for my domain is in my circle. I'm not giving that up and just sending two people to the next higher circle so we can coordinate between groups. So the power for my piece is in my group. The next, the parents are actually has less power because all they do is surf of flow of information and to decide who decides what. If there's a new issue and we don't really know what's going to take care of that, that's what they decide. Okay. So that's um, that's the general setup that you mentioned earlier. Double linking the two people connecting to two circles that are nested. You can think of that like fractals. So every socket can branch out bud out into new sub circles in everyday, in every direction, wherever they are in the system. It's their decision, only their decision whether they bought out into subsequent cause. And they will do that when they are more people or they have two big areas of work. They might form Sacra subsurface around that to really push the decision making to the most grass roots level concept. So if you think about that really had words, well sue just have um, many, many circles and um, have a large organization like that. Typically when you go to a certain level of scale, you want to create, um, opportunities for people to know each other so that you can still have a sense of trust between people. Because trust is trust. This huge thing in organizations, you can in a group of 15 and have trust because you know, people group of 25, maybe 100, two some then, but then it sort of stretched too thin in a way. And that's, that's when we want to have a ways like for instance, forums or just social get togethers so that we can meet each other. Um, that's, that's just just the, the, the, um, to keep the trust in the system because really the only people you interact with is your own on circle and the next high end, the next lowest circles if you have any. So, but here's one important thing. There is a model if you think about it, could we, you know, could be used as a just general governance system. And I would just like to play with that for awhile because, um, there are actually the experiments being done about that. There are neighborhood parliaments in India. They are already using hike, almost like a shadow government where they form circles always I think 30 families and they interlink those circles and they go up to to a national level and not is in that of course, but they've, they already have quite some waves in some regions and um, the trying it out and that seems to be working really well. So that works with the scale. One effect of that is that the decision making power actually remains at the base with a people. So in a neighborhood parliament for instance, those neighborhoods decide about matters that affect their immediate environment. And on a regional level lets the region, you know, the way I think about it is that once we do that and we actually think it throw, it means that the national level hardly has any decision making power because it's already all taken care of. And that is a huge change of course, is that it's a huge paradigm shift so that I'm, I don't claim that I understand how that would work. I'm just saying the experiments without that. And so people are working on the scan issue. And other, um, side comment here is that another way of um, dealing with the scale thing is also to have a large body of membership and only a few people who are actually decision makers, which means that we have to pay a lot of attention to how those members and the people who are decision makers, how they hear about each other, what the flow of information is there so that we can actually make decisions that serve our members for that. We have to know what they are up to and they have to know what we're up to. So it's a matter of information and hearing and working with the feedback that we get. So there are two different ways to go about the scanner machine.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Um, I'm going to guess that a lot of those municipal implementation, so Oh sociocracy are going to be in Kerala. That seems to be where a lot of really progressive social movements and you know, socialists practices and tendencies are actually being put into place. I'll have to find some information on that for my audience so they can,

Speaker 6:

yeah, I would love live. So in, in general a good, a good, um, a size organization that has been worked with quite a bit. For instance, in intentional communities on Kobes I nonprofits and so like a group size of say 60 to 100 people can be managed very easily. That works. Works like a charm. The funny thing is that once you do that at in runs well, um, governance actually becomes very smooth and silent and almost becomes invisible. And that's how we know that it's working. Whenever something is not working, you hear about it. If you do nothing, that means it's working.

Speaker 1:

MMM.

Speaker 6:

And that is something that I've experienced quite a bit. And then it's, it's funny activity, how, how people want to come visit and be part of meetings of the Socratic organizations that were part of and on I say is there's not much to see. And that's the, we're focusing on our content because we don't, dealing with process, the process is clear. Everybody understands that we know what we're doing. So if you want to see us not deal with process, but we do with content, yes you're welcome. But if you're just interested in the process, um, well maybe you might be disappointed that you won't see all that much.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Well, I mean the whole goal of any proper governance is to, uh, facilitate a group of people to actually do the thing that they came there to do. So if you're focusing on the process, that means the process is not working because it is actively impeding your ability to get work done essentially. So the other thing too, to sort of think about with the consent versus majority voting is that, uh, most of us think about majority voting as like the democratic process. And, and coming from a more of an anarchist critique, I don't see the majority vote as being all that democratic. Yes, it is representative of the majority, but it does not allow the minority who does not win that vote to have a really as much of a voice. And you know, in the majority model, the, the final decision is really the only decision. Whereas with the consent model, the final decision isn't really a decision. It's, it's basically a culmination of decisions that have happened up until that point. So if you could get into a little more detail for our audience on that. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

Yes. First of all, I love what you just said. It's the first time I heard it said that way and I really like it that it's not the culmination of a hearing different voices, a decision and that with my information on the table, we might change it. Yes. And um, if you look at what happens in government is that a lot of things are being undone all the time. You know, there's a lot of effort that goes into a bill and then it's been like two years later, all of this I'm done and that is not what's happening. And, and so Socratic governments, because we build on things, we change, they make more changes, but not so drastic changes typically, unless everybody consensus, then it's fine. Um, in general, if you think about majority vote, we all were raised thinking and that's what little kids say voting is fair. Okay. And just like you, it's like really, is it fair? I mean, can we just question that for for a second? Because really it isn't, it's very fair at the end of the majority vote and in the majority, but it's in the unfair if you're in the minority. So really, um, that's sometimes hard to hear for people who are very much behind majority vote as, as a tool for decision making. Really you can say that, um, we're overpowering the minority all the time so it's not very fair. But we're, I'm drying in in consent. Decision making is to even start out with knowing that everybody will have to consent, which means I going to start out our discussion in a very different way. This is not about winning and losing. There are no winners and no losers and consent decision making. We have to all get to a point where we say, yes, this is good enough. I can work with us. So that means the behavior is going to change. We are not. And for instance, we also elect people into roles, leaders, facilitators, whatever. By consent, it's not going to be the most divisive. Um, it's not going to be the most divisive candidates that are going to get into office. It's, it's the people that everybody can work with. So another aspect of that is besides these that have a presence oppression piece is, um, the information. So if some in majority vote, if somebody says yes or no, we don't actually know why they are saying yes or why they are saying no. And consent decision making the process, we get to hear that because that's a lot more inflammation than yes or no. I mean really if you are being asked on the street, you know, are you for or against us? Like wow, there's more to say about that. And we can't just pretend that the world is black and white because it's not. So, and that's exactly what we're going for. More information on the table, more nuances to it and then not go buy your preference but go by what works for people. So what is important to me is to highlight that our, our very system of majority vote invites exactly the behavior that we're seeing. It invites winner loser mentality. It invites divisive, oppressive behavior and it invites it actually to be boards or it, it allows for people to ignore minorities. So if we're wondering why is why that is what we're getting, it's because it's, it's being baked into the way we make decisions. So it's not really a surprise if you think about it. So I don't think that majority vote is fair single event. It is. It is just what we've been a toad because of course obviously historically it's better than just monarchy or something like that. Autocracy. Yes, of course. But given where we are now, it's not something where we have to stay.

Speaker 2:

Right. And you know, if I can put my, my anarchist hat on here for a little bit, the way that I look at sort of like the majority voting process and the way that, the way that we elect people, you know, representation, these kinds of things. If there is a sense of democracy within it because it is up to the people to sort of say Yay or nay on something. But it was also undemocratic because it is typically not those same people who are coming up with the options in the first place. And I think that that is a really, that is a really important thing that tends not to get focused on is who gets to decide at what the options are for a decision. And, and those are the people who have the real power. And what I like with the associate cratic model and, and the, you know, consent democracy is that the people who are making the decision are also the people who are coming up with the options. And so it is, it is much, much more democratic process. And because there is a, a much higher information burden within a, a decision that also means decisions must be made, where they are, where they're being implemented and where the effect is. And so I, I really do appreciate that model and that's really what drew me to sociocracy in the first place.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, that really goes down to Mike to microscopic level really. For instance, just because it reminded me what you said reminded me of that is um, there's a lot of power in just what is in it on the agenda for a meeting. Right. Um, if I raise an issue and it never makes it on the agenda, you know, who is empowering. It's in, in sociocracy at the beginning of every meeting. Um, somebody will have prepared ideally for, for efficiency, we'll have prepared a draft of an agenda, but we all have to consent to the agenda. That also means on the other hand, I can sit back and you know, and complain all the time because consent is an active thing. So I have to actively say, yes, yes, I consent to, this is what they're talking about with this desired outcome. For that many minutes, I consent to this. So you can't just say, you know, you weren't asked or you didn't know or whatever. Everybody has to step up. That's the other side of it. You know, it's not only that we're taking the decision making and district distributing it more, it's also that those people who it's distributed to have to step up and take it. So that's, that's another aspect of the consent and also the power of who talks about what.

Speaker 2:

Oh. And I, I think that gets us into some of the concerns that, that some people might have about the system in practice, especially on a sort of a mass scale, like a neighborhood, a city, a county, a state, you know, the whole world, whatever it is. And that's that people how to be involved. Um, so when you see people who are joining a socio cratic organization from a more traditional authoritarian model, how does that integration process sort of work and what are its sort of successes and failures in, in bringing someone into a much more radically democratic process?

Speaker 6:

Oh, there's so many different of answering that. Let's see. Um, okay, so people have to be involved. Yes, I agree. There is one part of me that wants to say the following and I'm, I'm, I'm completely aware that it's a slippery slope. Okay. I'm going to say it anyway. So if you, if you're being asked to consent or object and you don't care, that means he consent because he do not have an objection. Okay. I've consented to things in my actual concrete working, working circle in my community. Also in other organizations that I'm proud of, I have consented just because I didn't care and I did not want to spend more time on it, arguing over it because it's not important enough. So that's one aspect of it. That's what I had called lazy consent, you know, not so, but that's a very slippery slope because it might turn to not really asking any more. So what I'm talking about really only applies to not more than seven people sit in a room. Everybody knows what's going on. Everybody has a chance to ask more, but they say it really, I don't want to be discussing garbage bins at this point anymore. Fine. Do whatever. Like you know, by them not or whatever. This is an actual example of somebody that that'd be part of that to me that they were trying in a consensus organization to make a decision about new garbage cans and you know, 40 people were involved for two hours. That's okay. That's, that's when I say that, you know, there is such a thing as not caring and therefore consenting. That's what I have in mind. I do not have in mind ripping of masses of people. That's not what I'm talking about. Just to be absolutely clear about that. So, um, people's reactions, yes. You have to be involved. Um, what, um, what I see in practice is actually something very interesting in that is that, um, depending on scale, I'm sure there's a scale aspect of it because I talked about scale and trust as something we have to get more experience with. But in a small enough organization, 120 people, 150 people, okay. Where we have a sense of, we sort of know where everybody is. Okay. We have a sense of those people and we trust them also because they have made good decisions in the past or they've asked for feedback very well. They're very transparent about what they're deciding and why. You know, it seems like it's all solid decisions. No surprises. All seems to be going in a smooth way. Trust builds to an extent that I don't actually have to be involved in everything. So what we see is that everything quiets down to extend that it's almost a little scary how much people trust. And I don't expect that would happen on a, on a municipal level and all that much. But then again, there are many people who don't even vote. Right. So that's, that's the other thing. What I would like to see happen is, um, if there was an in the town where live we talked about, um, about reforming our governance structures. I thought about this quite a bit and also talk with people. It was way too radical for them to think about sociocracy but you know, we suggested it but still. So here's the thing, we can only expect participation. If there is actual, it will actually doing something with it. We can just invite participation and then ignore it. People are not going to go for that. So if you think back to the neighborhood parliaments, um, those neighborhood parliaments have actual real power that is big in people's lives. For instance. Um, you know, just that's me thinking about the neighborhood parliaments in India. They actually show up at people's houses and say, your daughter hasn't been going to school. We want her to come back. So that's, you know, that was a major decisions in people's lives that actually really affect them. So that's, that for me is one thing. We can just put a, an expectation of participant participation onto an organization without actually really giving those decision making bodies power. That is just a cosmetic change. So it has, you know, the, there has to be some, some real change and I have some, I have some doubts that will by any means ready for that. So that's why I'm a little cautious about that. I guess I could be more optimistic, but to be honest and not that I'm not going to fake that I am. So I guess where I am with this is that um, our approach and sociocracy and for all is that we want to change the world organization one organization at a time so that we want to get used. We want people to get used to experiencing how they are in instead of feeling powerless in all the places, you know, kids grow up feeling powerless about, but they're all in the family in a, because I said so, um, system students have fairly powerless in schools, many people that are very powerless and then at the workplace, um, so creating organizations where people experience their own power and can step into action together. That is something that would change people's minds and we'll, we'll change the culture and wood. Oh ultimately also change what we expect from any sort of organization and the presentation, no governance because what we would expect that, that we will be heard, but in many, many changes in culture change that needs to happen for that. And one of that as being that that is what people even even find possible. So many people for instance, that's, that's, um, signing was driving with many people don't expect that they are able to write policy for their organization because people hear policy and they get scared in other thing, they have to be a lawyer for that. But of course he don't. If, if it's just a policy that that regulates, I had an owl how you, how your organize your snow shoveling, you know, and you know, in your housing housing code, that is something you can do. And that's a policy again, right? But people don't, um, experienced themselves as decision makers. And that is something we have to change. Um, so people have to be involved in order for people to be involved. It is a cultural change about their mindset and it's about giving away your power. We can just, you know, sit there and expect people to be involved in complain. If they don't, that's not, that's not how it's going to work. Um, so if you imagine that that's, that's the vision that we're actually working on us with supporting schools and adopting sociocracy so that children can be, might involved or even teachers, you know, can in most schools feel very powerless about, um, what they can actually do. So change that, um, in social change organizations, nonprofits, and out of those we have to build power structures that actually aligned with what people want to do. Well, we can't create a nonprofit that is[inaudible] so hierarchical and oppressive and words for any kind of salt. I'll a social cause that is not making any sense. Um, so it's, it's going to go little by little, so I'm not going for the drastic changes, you know, I'm not proclaiming neighborhood parliaments in the US. What I'm going for is the mindset change in people, um, so that they can pick up more of their own power because we have it. It's just that biff been been, um, we've been trained not to assume that we have power, you know, and then there's all the different forms of oppression, like classism, sexism, racism, all of those that we still have to work through and actually put on the table before we even in the position to to think about radical changes. And because too many of us don't assume that we have any power. So that's, that's The big vision of where we are.

Speaker 2:

Right. And, and to that point, I kind of want to ask you, uh, a chicken and egg question. So we have all of these structures of hierarchy and dominance that are, that are sort of like baked into our culture because of the material context that we live in and governance principles like sociocracy are aimed at to the extent that is possible, allowing people to come together and work towards collective goals while this mantling those hierarchical structures. But the, the question has to be then can you through socio cratic governance take down those hierarchies or are those existing hierarchies going to impede the, um, the implementation and the running of more radically democratic, uh, governance structures? Do we need to do, we need to solve these issues of hierarchy and dominance or, or at least mitigate them to the point where we can then implement socio cratic principles or through the implementation of socio cratic principals will be begin to dismantle these, um, uh, systemic ills.

Speaker 6:

So I want to tell one little story and it's a little bit of, I have a pet peeve of mine. So there is not only the run around the neighborhood parliaments in India, they also replicated the whole thing of children. So now we're talking, you know, six to 14 year olds, um, coming together in circus and making decisions. And um, the, they use associate cratic election process, which means there's a special process, but in the end and the person who gets into office is the prison everybody can consent to. And we're talking about groups of people where people know each other, the person, whole God, or the kid that got elected prime minister, a national level, a while back was a blind girl, which in India is a huge deal. And uh, we talked about the grownup who was, I was there during that election and he said, well, the reason it was possible that she would get elected was because the groups were small enough that people were able to see her value. Okay. So, um, sociocracy for racism, classism, sexism is not a magic bullet. You have to still fill it with life. You know, it creates spaces where you can step up spaces where you get to know each other beyond those stereotypes, but you will still have to fill it with light yourself. You still have to, um, you still have to open your mouth and talk. Okay. And that's hard because of all the internalized stuff that'd be carried. So it's not going to just magically strip that off our minds, our hearts and our organizations. That's not going to happen. But it creates a space. It creates more opportunity to talk about each other in each other's presence. So not behind people's back, but while they're there, for instance, in the election process, we talk about why we want to see somebody in a row. So that is a huge opportunity for feedback to each other. Um, and in every decision we are ideally in a small group of six and seven people, six or seven people, those people will know each other very well. And that is where that is what stereotypes are being, um, being reduced because we know actual people, those people have a face, they have a name, you know, we know them well. We know the story. They can, they can tell more about each other and themselves. And there are a few things that, few tools that support creating those spaces. We can, we can meet each other's humans, for instance. And we start every meeting, we start every meeting with a checkin where everybody says how they're doing right now. How do you feel about the meeting? When did you just come from, you know, um, how are you feeling right now? What is present in you right now? And that again sets the stage. It just changes our mind quite a bit because we get to hear about other people's reality that we don't typically share, which is typically saying on a very superficial level. But over time you can create very, very close bonds with people. And for instance, I'm going to listen to somebody very differently in a meeting if I know that, um, you know, what's going on at home for them. Um, if they, if they choose to share some of that. So to step up and actually fill that space that, that, that sociocracy provides by speaking up and saying how they're doing and how hard things are, I'm going to listen to them very differently. It's going to create a very different basis for collaboration. But we have to create those spaces and we have to fill them. The filling is not what sociocracy provides that is still in a work and, you know, just more listening to each other in other place. Um, whether chose another, um, tool outside of elections and check ins is rounds almost everything we do and the organizations that I'm a part of an end, the way we train people is everything. Everything's been decided or talked about in rounds. So say I um, have a proposal or an idea. First I say what I have to say and then we do around everybody talks one by one and has a chance to make sure they understood what I just said, what I'm proposing or what my idea was in the next round. Everybody's going to one by one, say the quick reactions to it. So how does that landing on you? What's your reaction to this? Do you have any ideas of how we could make it even better? And then we do a consent form for everybody. One by one. Consents are objects and then we deal with objections. So in, in doing those rounds, and especially if the action rounds are really powerful in those rounds, we get to hear about each other and, and ideas can build. And when you do it often enough and people ease more into that space, what the effect of I've been seeing over and over again is that first of all we, we um, we go for at reasoning for instance, we understand each other better. We know what people are coming from and it's not the one person that is bringing a proposal. It's not something that somehow evolves out of the group. It's group wisdom. It's like everybody offering that piece and we're piecing together something that is so good that we could have not like none of us could have thought of it on their own. So in that way we are breaking down barriers at a micro level, again, in the who speaks when and how often and in what order, how often do we get to hear about each other and recreate those windows into those people's, into other people's lives. So my point here is we have to create more spaces where we can talk openly and, and we have to create organizations where we can step into that power and we can practice what it is like to practice governance as equals. Because it's something we still have to practice by doing it over again over and over again because that is how the trust would build. Um, so we're willing to share more, to be even more honest and authentic and how we show up to make even better decisions because we're taking in more information about each other. Um, that then will lead to an upward spiral because our decisions will be better. It will serve as better. We will hear each other better and the process people were Sham Wa and through bad we're building more trust in the whole thing goes on and on and on. But that is not something that happens overnight. It's not something that happens just because he introduced sociocracy. It takes many, many factors, but sociocracy to me is one of the, one of the essential ingredients of that. Okay.

Speaker 2:

I, yeah, I wholeheartedly agree. And I kind of want to loop back a little bit and connect this to the idea of a dynamic leadership where there is this, I don't know if the AE, you would call it a principle within sociocracy, but a working circle has its specific domain where they are autonomous, but oftentimes, especially as an organization grows in size and complexity, you have areas where what happens in one domain spills over and affects another domain so that if you want to maintain this, this sense of legality and, and autonomy, you have to basically come together with working circles and in other domains that are being affected and uh, collaborate in between them. And then this creates the space for someone who is particularly enthusiastic or particularly well suited to, to leading a project. We'll be able to step forward and actually do such to sort of contrast leadership from a, uh, a traditional more authoritarian model and the, uh, sort of like the natural bubbling up of leadership as the needs are required and then sort of allowing that, that leadership to collapse when it is not. Yes. Okay. And sort of, it's sort of how that plays into the idea of like social hierarchies and these kinds of things. Yes.

Speaker 6:

So yeah, leadership, that's always a tricky one because people, um, either, you know, I work with people from both ends. I actually, even though it shows in how they respond to the name sociocracy, some people say, and I'm sure you're familiar with that ad is anything that starts with soles, the sole CEO, all social or whatever. It's like no way, you know, that doesn't work. And then there are the other people who say, when you say Chrissy, they say, oh it's a system. No, no, no, no, systems are bad. Okay. So, and some people are very afraid of, of, of systems and hierarchy and some people are very attached to hierarchy. So he is my answer to that. Um, one is um, that's, that's fairly abstract but he has how hierarchy works in sociocracy. And the, the most important thing to understand is that hierarchy works between domains. And we've already used that term, both of us, but I would like to explain it a little bit. So domain is what you are in charge of is what you can change without having to ask anybody in your circle as a circle. So for instance, very simple example, if you are the circle that is taken care of the office fridge, okay. Office ridges are very like, that's, people argue over a lot. Um, let's just pretend they have a circle around that seems a little overkill, but let's go with that. And then the circle that is in charge of the office fridge can do with that office, Fridge, whatever they want to. They are completely in charge of it. Okay. So, but the office fridge, it's going to be part of something bigger. For instance, that's, imagine this a circle that is office kitchen. Okay. They delegate everything that has to do with the fridge to the cut that they take care of the rest of the kitchen. And they might have a um, restocking the pantry. So recall when they delegate that, but the rest they do. Okay. They are a part of it. Of a biggest soca. That could be a wellness at your workplace or something like that. Okay. So that means it's not the people that are hierarchical, it's the remains that are at the, are in a hierarchical relationship to each other because they are part of relationships. Okay. So that's a sense of hierarchy that we have. So, um, I wanted to get that out of the way of yes. Sociocracy hierarchical. It's hierarchical, but that doesn't mean that it's oppressive. Okay. So the way I understand leadership and sociocracy ECS for instance, we have leaders and we call them leaders. Some people call them needlings and there all kinds of other names for it. For people who are afraid of the word leader. I'm not saying to use it, um, the leader as the person in a circle that is paying attention to where the work is being done. But the comparison I typically uses, not in a way like somebody, you know, like a, not an oppressive way, but in a way like a, like a running partner. Make sure you shows up because you show up because you, um, you promised him. So in the context of the circle, we all agreed to upon us if we all consent. Okay. And then the leader's role is just to make sure, like, oh, and by the way, you know, last time we said, or you said that you would, um, write the three party to do it actually. So we have it for next time. That's what they pay attention to. That is leadership. So leadership is service to the group. Um, and as such it's very important because it, it depends on leadership how much, um, forward motion there will be in a circle, whether it would just dealing with the same things over and over, whether there is somebody who's paying attention and who's moving things along or making sure they are being moved along. So that is another aspect of leadership. And here's the, the, to me most important thing and that is that, um, we call, um, the way sociocracy sociocracy deals with that. We call it freedom within limits. So in the same way as we define, well what the domain for circles, we can also define, well what the role of the leaders. We could in theory by consent, all of us decide that we're going to have a autocratic like a dictator for six months. We could do that by consent. You can by consent is I had anything. Um, there might be a reason to do it. What do I know? You know, or you could have for instance, if you have, um, a lot of operations, a lot of tasks to do, you could decide by consent. You know what, I just want you to design everybody their jobs, like the tasks today, you know, so that we can get this done as fast as possible. Like for instance, if you're moving like you know, moving houses, you want one person to tell everybody where the boxes go and this is not being discussed. This is just somebody who says that, okay, but we can only give people that freedom and that authority by consent. So that's where the freedom within limits come, comes in. We together make policy that clearly defines what somebody is allowed to do in order for the circle. Um, to not have to reinvent the wheel all the time. Like, okay, we're again talking about the office fridge, can somebody just take care of it? Okay. Then we would create a role consent to it and the role might say for instance, um, I don't know, Mike is allowed to throw anything out that is moldy in the fridge without having to ask the people who belongs to, that's just what they allowed to do. So that is where it creating a policy to deal with the tension that keeps coming up. Like that office fringe, we empower one person to take on that role. It's completely crystal clear what the role is. It's completely crystal clear that everybody has to consent to it in that circle where the domain is. And then Mike or whoever got gets him elected has complete authority that he needs to do that job well. So at different aspects of leaderships and sociocracy that, um, I really like it. On a personal note, it's something that I've always struggled with because I consider myself, I'm somebody who likes to lead and who is also often pushed into that leadership position because I'm fairly good at it. However, leadership was always something toxic for me. You know, it's like very bitter sweet in sociocracy with the clarity and the intentionality. I know how to, how to make it less toxic and actually very, um, very pleasant. And that is if I sense that I don't actually know what I'm allowed to do, I go sit down, write it down as a policy and say, is this what you want me to do? Can I have everybody's consent? Okay, fine. Now I know what I'm allowed to do and I'm happy to do it. But you have to, um, the, the frustration and the insurgency and, and feedings typically come up because we don't have clarity. And that is the huge opportunity in sociocracy to create that clarity that takes the tension off leadership and all the other tensions too,

Speaker 2:

right? Because that clarity comes from information sharing and having, not just the ability but the sort of duty to, to share your voice on, on matters that affect you. And that is structurally built into the associate cratic system. Whereas that is something that is more difficult to shoe horn into other more authoritarian

Speaker 6:

models. Yeah. And also if you compare it for instance, to to consensus and consensus, he can stand aside. Right. And they're modified consensus versions where you can wake and sort of ignore two or three people, you know, like consensus men has one, all those others different ways. But let's imagine I find my, my, my role as the, the um, office frayed point person. Okay. And if there's somebody in that group who does not actually want me to do it, but that person consents, then we have a situation where that present didn't fully speak up. For instance, in consent vans, we actually, if somebody hesitates while they're saying, yeah, consent, you know, I as a facilitator, go after them. Tell me what you have to say now. You know, because if you can send that is active, that is not like standing aside, standing aside as the is the situation where somebody afterwards it's going to say, oh well, you know, I stepped aside for that one because it didn't seem like a good idea to me. No, that's not, that's not the dynamics that we want. That creates you versus us and behavior what we want everybody to be completely clear. Yes, I can work with it. And that is what consent is. So it's um, it's a very large responsibility for people and that's sometimes hard for people to, um, so the no signing, no aside and no blocking just for personal preferences. Those are the two big dynamics that were taking out of that, that are going away in consent compared to consensus now. Now as sort of diverged a little from the leadership topic, can you bring me back on track?

Speaker 2:

I think we covered it fairly well. Um, just the idea of having leadership be a dynamic and not a static thing.

Speaker 6:

Oh yeah. Yeah. Sorry. I'm sorry. Yes. I'm the dynamic piece right here. You gave me that keyword and I didn't take it. And that is that of course if I have a role clearly defined, it will be more easy and easier for somebody else to step into the drone because it's going to be what it is. And you know, because for instance, if you enter an organization that has been in existence for a while, there's a lot of unwritten stuff that you don't know, right? So it's harder to take on to take on responsibility because you don't really know and it's, you don't have that clarity that it needs. So that makes it rather in transparent. And so having roles for instance, um, part of policy is, is a huge game there. And so in other thing is that we don't only have the leader for instance, we also separate out leader and facilitator. It's not necessarily you can make it stone, but it's not necessarily the case that the leader is also the facilitator in the group because it's very different skillsets. And we said like people into roles based on, based on qualifications. So you know, good leaders are not always good facilitators and vice versa. So, and we have the delegates. So the person who from my circle is going to also sit on my parents' circle together with a leader who's going to report from my group into the next higher group if you want. Hi, on terms of hierarchy of domains and and that way. And we have a secretary that's the fourth role. So that way leadership is already distributed because everybody takes on a different piece of that leadership as the leader is taking care of the operations, there's a facilitator who's completely in charge of the process during meetings and as the delegate who's getting the feet when they're getting their feet wet and the next higher circle experience. So what's that like? So especially the delegate position has a good decision and is a good position for people to get used to representing the circle in a larger context and um, is a good set of training position for somebody to take on other than bigger roles. And other aspect of, of leadership is that sometimes, as I told earlier with the blind girl becoming national prime minister and the children's parliament of India is that through the open election process we often get people into leadership that um, I'm not the first people you think of. Um, traditionally for instance, I was part of a selection process once where we were trying to snake the secretary and somebody suggested, oh, why don't we ask Jane because Jane have as hard of hearing, you know, item in a Jane, she said, and I thought, why would we, why would we select the person secretary who's hard of hearing? Like she basically misses, you know, like a third of every meeting. But the reasoning that the person that nominated her gave was that way. We all can make sure that Jane, he has everything. And I thought, well that's smart because, because I, but you know, she's not the first person I thought of. And it's often, it's the rather quiet people, but people who bring people together that are being selected into, into roles or for, you know, for reasons. I like the one I just mentioned that the person who's hard of hearing, um, it's people who sort of serve to bring the group closer together, not the people who run ahead, you know, because we want to stay together as a group. So there are many, many aspects of leadership that I really find interesting. As I said, I've always struggled with that one and it's, for me it's a huge sense of relief that I can be the leader and servant at the same time, um, in a, in a way that has enough clarity that I can do it without, without feeling and secure and like feeling, I don't know, not quite knowing. Can I just suggest us now, now because I can just say I can make any proposal because people are allowed to say no. Um, so it takes, it takes a huge burden off the enroll.

Speaker 2:

I think that's a pretty good description of how leadership in a democratic system or the, the sense of clinical hierarchy within the system really serves to facilitate and as a facilitator role. But it really serves to to facilitate the group to do the job that, that they are asked to do or that they have assigned for themselves. Um, and since we're running up on close to an hour here, are there any other topics or is there anything else important about sociocracy as a theoretical system or in a practice that we haven't touched on yet that, that you would like our audience to know about? I'm looking through my notes and just, just

Speaker 6:

now actually I think, well one, well not even talking about ownership on the ship is another whole topic that maybe is too big to touch. Analysis was focused on governance. Let's, let's not do it. And I guess I would like, if I get another 30 seconds of air time, I would like to say one thing. And that is if, if people listen to this and they think, yes, you know, I want to do that, what is the first thing they can try out? And that is rounds. I really, really, really, really recommend rounds because they are for me and embodiment of everybody. Voice Matters. Try it out. And people, people fall in love with rounds pretty quickly. The first rounds are really hard because he can't jump in and interrupt people. But once you get used to it, you really started to cherish the, the mental space of being in a listening position. So the other thing is try out consent, you know, try out what it's, how it changes things from, hey, let's vote to, um, is there anything that doesn't work for you or, um, do you agree? You know, like, no, no, I understand that this is not your preference, but can you work with it? So switching from majority vote or from consensus to consent, these are things you can play with. And the other thing is delegating things. Let's just form a group of four people. Let them deal with it. Let's just give them, let's just try it out. Whether they can make a good decision with us, just giving them feedback and us empowering that group. It's basically farming your front first circle in an organization. So those are the three things that you can do right away besides the obvious things like, um, um, checkins checks out or check out small evaluation and so on, but also the, the structural changes so you can change in meetings and in your organizations.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Yeah. Um, I really do want our listeners to come away with a sense that, you know, sociocracy isn't this like crazy radical thing that can't happen. I mean it's, it's in the world. It is, it is happening right now. And I think the more people who know about it and understand its principles and, and work to put them into practice within their own lives, I think that is a way that we can start to build a better world and a better future.

Speaker 6:

Yes. And since we're all about making access very easy, we designed a self study group curriculum for groups. So if you have a group around you of five to seven people, I'm all for even you can go to our website. It's, I'm sociocracy fraud that rx slash e l c ALC and that's empowered learning circles. I'll study rip curriculum where you can just go, you can look at the sessions right now. It's all open access and then you can learn a group to gather in a group together and try some of those things out and, and other materials, readings and videos and so on. Avast well it's all for you prepared bunks so you can just tie it up.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. And are there any other um, places online that people should look for resources to understand and implement? Sociocracy

Speaker 3:

yeah,

Speaker 6:

yeah. My, my favorite medium Renia his um, his video I've been at, been starting to write quite a bit. Um, by the time this podcast comes out, probably our book will be closer to publication to um, and sociocracy for all.org is our website and we tried to keep all, all our content accessible there. You can also just go on youtube and you will find out videos there. There's no way to, to miss them. Um, we have a mailing list where people gets him every other week. You get a summary of all the new content and especially in invitations to Webinars, we always offer webinars that either free or by donation and, and where we were. We look at the edges of things. For instance, we did a Webinar on um, sociocracy and permaculture sociocracy and classes, um, where we, where we highlight some of those and besides just education and training around sociocracy, we also look at the context of uh, um, where people are. Um, so in all those are recorded and available online too. So we tried to always maximize the free output that makes it accessible for people.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Then I'll make sure that, uh, links to all those resources are in the show notes for our audience. Um, again, a really thank you for, um, going over time with me here today and really getting into, um, a really good discussion about what, what sociocracy means, um, in theory and practice. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity and thank you to all of you listening. If you want to be apart of the conversations that we're having. You can email our show in north Bay podcast@gmaildotcomoryoucanemailtheentireleftcoastcollectiveatleftcoastpodcastatgmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. My handle is at Checka informant check. It is spelled c, h e k. A. You can find our other hosts a communal sauce at commune, Alsace and Aaron at r r r r n. And seriously go out and tell him how much his, how terrible his handle is and that, uh, suggest a new one for him. So I can stop saying this at the end of every episode. We are also now on iTunes for those who missed our Twitter announcement. So if you find us that way, your head rate and review us so that we can get a little bit of a bump in the rankings and hopefully more people will hear what we have to say and, and join us in having these conversations. We also have a Patriot for those of you who would like to support us, especially as we start increasing the number of programs that we are doing. Programs like the Marxist study group or the socialist reading series, or the socialist feminism show, or are cooking show. Um, there's a lot of things that are, that are happening now. And because of the increased workload, we do ask that if you can support us in doing it to make sure that this not remains a quality show for you guys, but comes out consistently and on time. So with that signing off, I am Tiberius piece in VM solidarity.

Speaker 3:

Okay.