Piedmont Ecovillage has chosen Sociocracy as our method of governance and decision making.
Sociocracy is a system of governance that ensures inclusiveness, equivalence, accountability, and transparency. It uses consent-based decision making and consists of 4 basic principles:
Policy decisions are made by consent. Consent means a member has no argued and paramount objections to a proposed policy. “Argued” means reasoned or explained. “Paramount” means all important. An objection is not a veto; it is a valid reason why a particular decision will prevent a member of the group from doing their job or is not in support of the goals of the group. Rounds in which each person speaks in turn, are used to maintain equivalence in a meeting and ensures that everyone participates in a decision. Each policy decision is reviewed and modified as needed. To ensure transparency, decisions are recorded and community data is open for all members to review.
A sociocratic organization is governed by “circles,” semi-autonomous policy decision-making groups that correspond to a working group. Each circle has its own aim, and performs the three functions of directing, operating, and measuring (to provide feedback).
3. Double links
To ensure that feedback travels up and down and across the organization, the circles are arranged in a hierarchy of overlapping circles. The connection of a circle with the next higher circle consists of a double link. This means that at least two people (the leader of the circle and at least one representative from the circle), are members of the next higher circle.
4. Sociocratic elections
Election of persons for functions and/or tasks takes place according to the consent principle after open discussion.