|Description||Decision-making process that might be used for small or large groups. It might be used online and offline||Comprehensive practice for governing and running organizations. Its
practices and process are intended to promote rapid and reliable
processing of any tension sensed by anyone, anywhere in the
How people can allow the organization to evolve. To free individuals, to empower them to find their own path and right-placement within an organization.
Based upon flow, agility, structure of an organization, dynamic steering, roles
|Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having the majority of the group getting their way, a consensus group is committed to finding solutions that everyone actively supports - or at least can live with. This makes sure that all opinions, ideas and concerns are taken into account. By listening closely to each other, the group aims to come up with proposals that work for everyone. Process that often results in surprising and creative solutions, inspiring both the individual and the group as whole. Way of agreeing to disagree||Quaker sense of a meeting. Apprentice practice of the clerk|
The assumption is that God is present in the decision-making group and is equally accessible by every member of the group ("that of God in everyone", "the Inner Light"). The group seeks unity by seeking a decision ("sense of the meeting") which is consistent with the promptings of this Light. The unity is a unity of the heart as well as the head, and is not necessarily unanimity. Friends try to allow the Spirit to work among them and lead them to a wise decision. The group becomes wiser than the individual because it partakes of the wisdom of all its members, empowered by the Spirit.
|"Organization of the community by the community itself"|
How do we pass from the 'I' to the 'WE'.
It was invented to evolve democracy. Created by a Quaker to move further from consensus.
|Best for||This tool is best used for groups that need to reach agreement about something that can be captured in a document and have some useful starting place. For example, I don’t recommend it for trying to brainstorm something from scratch, but if a group is trying to agree on a plan or strategy, ratify bylaws, or refine a policy, then this is could be the right kind of tool for you.||Purpose driven organizations.|
It cares about organizations that go beyond profit.
For social organisms that want to shift power to a process and allow for emergence. Where individuals can be more autonomous and interdependent. Differentiation of the individual and integration of the WE.
Set of "rules of the game", which can be used by an organization wishing to move the root of power from owners and heroic leaders to a purpose and a process of continually organizing around that purpose, by integrating whatever is sensed about the purpose through the consciousness of all the humans who choose to participate in expressing the purpose
|Can work in all types of settings - small groups, local
communities, businesses, even whole nations and territories. The
exact process may differ depending on the size of the group and
other factors, but the basic principles are the same.|
Group that aims to come up with proposals that work for everyone; to go further by weaving together everyone's best ideas and key concerns.
Groups working towards a more just and equitable society such as small voluntary groups, co-operatives and campaign networks.
Ongoing decision-making mechanism in standing organizations or communities, or less commonly, among groups gathered to make one-time decisions regarding a task at hand.
|In the Conduct of Meeting Business: Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business||Best for families, communities that want to live in more
harmonious. Who want to focus in responsability, right-placement
and values rather than projects.|
For social organisms that shift power to a group of people.
|Other resources||http://www.lifeblooddesign.com/content/dynamic-alignment-collaborative-decision-making-tool||Organization Evolved|
Differentiating Role and Soul
The Power of Governance
The Irony of Empowerment
Contrasting Paradigms: Holacracy & Sociocracy
On the transpersonal paradigm under Holacracy: http://www.holacracy.org/blog/beyond-serving-stakeholders
|Queries that indicate the groups engagement towards consensus
Consensus process at its heart is a questioning process
Consensus decision making paper.
|Book ''Beyond majority rule" -author Michael Sheeran http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-QuakerCI.html||Sources about sociocracy http://www.sociocracy.info/
|principles||Agreement versus alignment: Alignment refers to pointing
towards the 'same direction'. No need to agree on every form to
Positionality: not about positions but about movement. No person is allowed to say “no” or stop forward movement without saying what is needed for them to say “yes.”
|Organized around work. Around an evolutionary purpose.|
1. Dynamic Steering: Mental shift from predicting how things will or ought to be, to discovering what is needed now based on currently known data.
"Establishing tight feedback loops and frequent steer points throughout the company’s operations. This allows planning and decision-making processes to focus on quickly reaching a workable decision and then letting reality inform the next step, rather than agonizing about what 'might' happen in an effort to conjure up a theoretical 'best' decision that still doesn’t quite get it right." -- Organization Evolved, pg 2
2. Tension Processing: A tension is the felt-sense of a specific gap between current reality and a sensed potential. Tensions can be processed through multiple pathways, including tactical, governance, and strategy meetings. Tensions that matter are those in behalf of the organization. Is not about all bringing our tensions. Its about clear, tangible governance. One tension at a time (in a way that is workable)
3. Distributed Authority: All circles hold strategy, governance, and tactical meetings. Each role has the authority to autocratically make decisions related to its roles and scopes, to the extent that those decision do not conflict with the authority of other roles.
"[...] Holacracy distributes the job of evolving the organization across the entire company. This decreases the overload at the top and the disengagement found elsewhere, while instilling new capacities for learning and adaptability throughout the organization." -- Organization Evolved, pg 4
4. Circle Organization: The organization is built of a holarchy of semi-autonomous circles. Each circle has a purpose and scope, defined by its super-circle, and...
"Each circle has the autonomy and authority to define and evolve the roles, accountabilities, policies, and processes needed to organize and govern its operations in service of its purpose." -- Organization Evolved, pg 3
5. Double-Linking: Sub and super circles are linked via two roles which belong to and take part in the meeting processes of both circles. The sub-circle Lead Link role is accountable for carrying the needs of the super-circle into the sub-circle. The sub-circle's Rep Link role is accountable for carrying the sub-circle's needs into the super-circle.
"Lead Links hold the perspective and functions needed to align the sub-circle with the purpose, strategy, and needs of its broader context. Rep Links carry front-line feedback to that broader context, while guarding the autonomy and sustainability of the sub-circle within that environment." -- Organiation Evolved, pg 3
1.Common goal: Everyone at the meeting needs to be united in a clear common goal – whether it's the desire to take action at a specific event, or a shared ethos. Being clear about the shared goal helps to keep a meeting focused and united.
2.Commitment to reaching consensus on all decisions: Consensus requires commitment, patience, tolerance and a willingness to put the group first. It can be damaging if individuals secretly want to return to majority voting, just waiting for the chance to say “I told you it wouldn't work.”
3.Trust and respect: We all need to trust that everyone shares our commitment, and respects our opinions.
4.Clear process: Everyone needs to understand the process for making decisions you are using. There are lots of variations of the consensus process, so even if people are experienced in using consensus they may use it differently to you! Explain the process at the beginning of the meeting.
5.Active participation: If we want a decision we all can agree on, we all need to play an active role in the decision making.
6.Good facilitation: Facilitation helps to ensure that the group works harmoniously, creatively and democratically. When your group is larger than just a handful of people or you are trying to make a difficult decisions appoint facilitators to help your meeting run more smoothly.
The following practices, also called Quaker process, foster wisdom and a spirit of forbearance and love. Quaker process calls upon Friends to:
Begin with centering worship.
Listen to all messages with openness, receive them in worship, and allow for silence between them.
Respond to the heart of the message, not to the messenger.
Wait for recognition from the clerk before speaking.
Speak, as standard practice, to the clerk, not to individual Friends.
Speak only once to a given issue unless it is clear that more is appropriate; allow all present to speak before seeking to speak a second time.
Avoid interrupting or engaging in asides or side conversations (maintaining one's center).
Seek God's guidance before speaking.
Avoid inappropriate emotional attachment to one's own opinion.
Consider introducing potentially contentious ideas and expressing deep convictions by means of queries rather than statements.
Call for silence (anyone can do this) to re-center in a spirit of worship.
Defer a decision if there is not clearness.
When personally disagreeing with the sense of the meeting, either stand aside (accept the meeting's decision while expressing disagreement with it) or stand in the way (gently insist that the meeting consider your concern before acting).
Learn to trust Quaker process to work and leave the outcome to the Spirit.
|Sociocracy was built upon the question of 'how can we make
decisions that take care of the needs of everyone involved?'|
Looking for deeper democracy. Focus in the people to integrate and come together. Human-centered values.
1. Decision Making by Consent: Consent is a method of decision-making whereby the arguments presented in discussing a decision are of paramount importance, and the result of the discussion is that no one present knows of a paramount reason to continue discussion before proceeding with the proposed decision. Note: this is consent, not consensus.
2. Circle Organization: The organization is built of a hierarchy of semi-autonomous circles. Each circle has its own aim, given by the higher-level circle, and has the authority and responsibility to execute, measure, and control its own processes to move towards its aim.
3. Double-Linking: A lower circle is always linked to the circle above it via at least two people who belong to and take part in the decision making of both the higher circle and the lower circle. One of these links is the person with overall accountability for the lower-level circle's results, and the other is a representative elected from within the lower-level circle.
4. Elections by Consent: People are elected to key roles exclusively by consent after open discussion (this is not a democratic majority-vote election!). Most notably, the election process applies to the representative elected from a lower-level circle to a higher-level circle.
Everybody elects people for certain roles. People vote and then if you are elected they ask if you do want to do it. This election gives the power to move more fluidity to make decisions and do what you have to do.
|Distinctions||Alignment is similar to consent as it is ok to say 'no' within
Dynamic alignment is not a governance structure with 'how tos for work, procedures, organizational structure etc' it is a process for complex decision-making.
|Holacracy is a tool for purpose driven organizations. It is not a
tool for communities -- even those based on a shared interest.
The differentiation of role and soul: I am not the roles I fill for the organization. The organization is an entity in its own right, distinct from the group of people that energize roles within it.
A circle is not a group of people; it's a collection of related roles required to fulfill a purpose.
Holacracy is not a consent process; it is based on surfacing and integrating objections. In Holacracy, an objection is a reason why, based on presently known data, a proposal would limit the circle's ability to express its purpose, in a way that wasn't already present in the organization before the proposal.
Lead and rep links are not managers. They have a specific set of accountabilities related to cross-circle communication and tension processing.
Holacracy goes beyond sociocracy in the sense that it provides the tools for the structure of an organization. It is not human, values driven as a goal yet it does that as it accomplishes the organization's purpose in life. For the sake of the whole not the individual. More rules to make sure that we don´t get stuck in human ego.
Video about the difference in between Holacracy & Sociocracy http://www.holacracy.org/resources/holacracy-sociocracy-contrasting-paradigms
Harmony as a consequence of being part of an organization that empowers you and honors you to show up and be autonomous. Its not organized around 'what I want' but around 'the work that needs to be done'. It invites human ego to go beyond individual needs into the organization itself.
Holacracy embraces the individual by helping differentiate the individual and the organization, to move beyond the typical co-dependent relationship where we project our needs and desires on the organization and look to it to take care of us. Holacracy allows us complete sovereignty and autonomy to use our gifts as individuals, and holds a space where we can show up together to birth a new entity (the organization) and help it express its purpose in life. It's deeply embracing and integrative of both human and organization.
On how Holacracy embraces our full capacity as humans and processing tensions http://www.holacracy.org/blog/processing-tensions
|An experience of shift from consensus to sociocracy
Consent versus consensus http://www.maxwideman.com/musings/consensus.htm
Consensus decision-making is not a Significant Majority: consensus decision-making seeks to avoid the potential divisiveness of majority/minority decisions. Whenever there’s a minority that neither agrees with or consents to a decision, there’s potential for negative results.
Consensus is not Unanimity. The search for consensus relies on every person in the circle seeking unity. Group members don’t need to think the same, have the same opinion, or support the same proposal in a unanimous vote. Rather, what is earnestly sought is a sense of the meeting.
Alignment or Consensus. In cases of formal structure, consensus is unrealistic. Alignment suggests getting team members facing in the same direction. It means making a concerted effort to help people understand the issues and what their respective roles are. It means asking questions and listening to feedback both from the internal team, as well as others knowledgeable about or affected by the initiative. It means making the necessary adjustments in personnel and strategy as conditions change. In short, while “alignment” uses many of the consultative aspects of consensus process, it also acknowledges the leaders’ ultimate decision-making responsibility.
|"Sense of the meeting is a gift. It came to the Quakers through
their commitment to continuing revelation. They discovered that the
Light which had come to teach the people could lead them to
revealed corporate decisions. The Quakers cherished the gift. They
handed it down as a spiritual heirloom from generation to
generation, even as the Jews hand down their covenant with God."
"Consensus is the product of willfulness. We will ourselves to a decision. Sense of the Meeting is a product of willingness in which we allow ourselves to be led. It is the difference between reason and faith."
|The aim of sociocracy is inclusive decision-making because it has
proven to be more effective. Both consensus and consent are
collaborative processes that result in unified, harmonious actions.
There are, however, two valuable distinctions:
(1) The cognitive difference between asking for "agreement" and asking for "no objections" is profound. Consensus facilitators are more likely to be searching for agreement. Sociocratic facilitators specifically look for objections within defined parameters. Asking for agreement affects the perception of participants, often adversely, and influences the kinds of solutions they will propose or accept. To hone a good decision, all the objections must be examined carefully.
(2) Consensus is specifically a decision-making process and as such is heavily dependent on the skills of the facilitator and the experience of the group. Groups using consensus have no predictable structure for the execution of decisions and must design their own, often building on structures designed to support majority vote decision-making and based on parliamentary procedure. The sociocratic governance structure is specifically designed to support inclusive decision-making and is based on principles derived from cybernetics, systems theory, and complexity theory from which the concept of consent is also derived. Thus the theory base of sociocratic governance and decision-making is more consistent. Good article about this distinctions at:
Sociocracy doesn´t have roles accountabilities or gives a 'governance structure' as holacracy.
|Rules / Process||1. Start by outlining the framework of the decision (each major
point should be separated so that it can be considered and
responded to directly).
2. Clarification round: Before having people “vote” or voice objections, it is desirable to have people be sure they’re clear about what their reacting to. In a group, you could post the outline on the wall, or read it aloud. Online, you can have people read the document and post clarifying questions to a discussion forum.
3. Voicing reactions and objections: Safe space to share your reactions without argument. Acknowledge volatile reactions. Let people know they have been heard.
4. The Decision-making process: This involves each person saying they’re aligned with moving forward. If someone says they’re not aligned, then they need so say what they need to be able to be aligned. There are three possible unaligned states for a participant:
- I need item X to be removed (alteration). - I need item X to be modified to say Y (deletion). - I need item Z to be included (addition).
5. Alignment threshold: Even though its best to operate with 100% alignment there are cases where groups need to fragment or some particular decisions don´t need 100% in order to proceed. You can set the alignment threshold at whatever level is appropriate. When you have that percentage of people aligned, then the decision has been reached.
Tactical Meeting Process
Step 1: Be clear and ensure your clarity is share
Step 2: Have a broad and inclusive discussion – inclusive of wide range of people and ideas.
Step 3: Pull together, or synthesise, a proposal that arises from the best of all the group’s ideas, whilst simultaneously acknowledging concerns.
Step 4: Friendly amendments – tweak the proposal to make it even stronger.
Step 5: Test for consensus – do we have good quality agreement? :
1. Any blocks?
2. Any stand asides?
3. Do we have consensus?
Step 6: Make it happen.
Step 7: Evaluate
Step 8: Implement the decision.
-Sense that the common ground is stronger than the difference created by diversity.
-Be respectful and trust each other.
-Don't be afraid to express your ideas and opinions. If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to say so.
-Don't assume that someone must win and someone must lose.
-Look for the most acceptable solution for everyone.
-Think before you speak, listen before you object.
-Listen to others’ reactions, and consider them carefully before pressing your point.
-Remember that the ideal behind consensus is empowering versus overpowering, agreement versus majorities/minorities.
-Full empowerment of all participants in the decision making.
-Emphasis on continuing to ask questions until unity is reached.
-Honoring of dissent as a “piece of the truth” pointing to something the group needs to learn and integrate.
-Dynamics of working with all input rather than purely rational analysis (e.g., emotions, intuition, spirit)
-Choice to allocate more time if needed before the decision point in order to ensure maximum support for acting on whatever decision is reached.
-Don't be afraid of disagreement.
Key skills for consensus: Active Listening; Summarising; Synthesis.
|The essentials of Quaker practice, translated where necessary into
secular terms, are as follows (no special order):|
1. grounding of all participants in the desire for the common good
2. ensuring that all voices are heard and listened to
3. respect for all-both participants and those outside (but affected by) the decision making process
4. respect and caring for the agreed legitimate interests of all
5. maintaining community-loving relationship-as a primary concern
6. grounding of all participants in their own humanity and their experience of it during the meeting
7. sensitivity to interdependence-open systems thinking
8. speaking out of the silence (the state of being personally grounded)
9. addressing the clerk/facilitator not one another
10. speaking simply and not repeating what has already been offered
11. contributing personal perceptions and convictions-speaking one's own truth- without advocating that all should act on it
12. the commitment to air dissent
13. not using emotion to sway others while being authentic with the expression of feeling
14. distinguishing "threshing" meetings from meetings for decision making
15. preparing factual and analytical material for assimilation prior to meetings for decision
16. the role of the clerk in offering syntheses of the "sense of the meeting" that are progressively modified until there is unity
17. the role of the clerk in resolving difficulty in coming to unity (see appended notes page)
18. decisions are made not by majority vote, nor by consensus, but by unity
19. the organizational structures that bring to bear the voices of many collectivities
|Three main rules:
"First, the interests of all members must be considered, the individual bowing to the interests of the whole.
Second, no action can be taken if there are no solutions found that everyone can accept.
Third, all members must be ready to act according to these unanimous decisions."