Sociocracy for Communities, Part One

Proposal-Forming, Consent Decision-Making, Evaluation, Shared Values, Vision, Mission, and Aims

5-Week Online Workshop
July 7, 14, 21, 28 & August 4
Sundays, 1 – 3:30 pm Eastern Time

“A visitor said she’d never seen a community meeting be so effective, efficient, and fun!”
— Hope Horton, Common Ground Ecovillage, Chapel Hill, NC

Sociocracy is an especially successful self-governance and decision-making method that instructor Diana Leafe Christian, community consultant and author of Creating a Life Together, now highly recommends instead of consensus. Because of its mutually beneficial, mutually reinforcing parts that provide checks and balances against “power over” behaviors, Sociocracy can reduce conflict in communities and offer four powerful benefits:

  • Better meetings
  • Getting more done
  • Being better organized
  • Creating more harmony and connection in the group

“We’ve made more decisions in the past two months than we have in the past two years!”
— Davis Hawkowl, Cherry Hill Cohousing, Amherst, MA

  1. Proposal-Forming, a rewarding, participatory, visual way for people to create proposals together (including Evaluation Questions to later measure and evaluate each proposal’s effectiveness),
  2. Consent Decision-Making, a harmonious, inclusive way to consider and decide proposals. (Unlike consensus, there is no blocking. Instead, concerns about the proposal are resolved during the meeting, often by adding relevant new Evaluation Questions), and
  3. Organizing Effective Meetings of Teams and Committees, with Sociocracy’s unique methods of agenda planning, meeting facilitation, and transparent sharing of information among all group members.

The class is for people who no longer want to endure long, painfully ineffective, or even conflict-ridden meetings, and yearn for effective, enjoyable, good-will meetings instead. Participants will receive videos and handouts to watch and read ahead of time and practice these first two Sociocracy meeting processes in each class.

“Our meetings just rock. . . . people tend to have more energy after a meeting than before.”
— Hope Horton, Common Ground Ecovillage, Chapel Hill, NC

Diana has taught Sociocracy to ecovillages, cohousing communities, and other kinds of intentional communities and member-led groups in person and online, in the US, Canada, France, Sweden, England, Russia, Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil, since 2012.

“I would never have joined our community if we didn’t use Sociocracy. It’s our saving grace.”
— Kreel Hutchison, Baja BioSana Ecovillage, La Paz, Mexico

Part Two of this class, later in 2024, offers the remaining four significant parts of Sociocracy: the Circle Structure, Selecting People for Roles, Role-Improvement Feedback, and Consenting to Circle Members.

Sociocracy workshop in Montreal

Workshop participants learning how lively and enjoyable Sociocracy can be. Montreal, 2014

“I highly recommend Diana’s Sociocracy course for effective, transparent, non-hierarchical governance and decision-making. Our group now makes better decisions, has a higher level of engagement, and enjoy meetings that are both productive AND fun!”

Denise Henrikson

ecoTHRIVE Housing, Seattle. Feb-April, 2021 course

Diana Leafe Christian teaching Sociocracy at Findhorn

Instructor Diana Leafe Christian introducing Sociocracy at Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland, 2015.

Workshop participants learning Sociocracy in Diana’s Huehoecoyotl Ecovillage workshop, Mexico, 2015.

Workshop participants learning Sociocracy in Diana’s Huehoecoyotl Ecovillage workshop, Mexico, 2015.

Program

Session 1, July 7: Sociocracy Overview, introducing Proposal-Forming and Evaluation Questions, using Proposal-Forming meetings.

Session 2, July 14: More on Proposal-Forming and Evaluation Questions, using and facilitating Proposal-Forming in meetings.

Session 3, July 21: Introducing Consent Decision-Making and Aims (ongoing continuous objectives), adding Evaluation Questions to resolve objections, using Facilitating Proposal-Forming and Consent Decision-Making in meetings, facilitating each process.

Session 4, July 29: Practicing using and facilitating Consent Decision-Making, more on Aims and adding Evaluation Questions to resolve objections, how Proposal-Forming and Consent Decision-Making are mutually reinforcing and mutually beneficial, introduction to “Circles” (teams and committees).

Session 5, August 4: Practicing using and facilitating Proposal-Forming and Consent Decision-Making, community Vision and Mission, the Aims of each Circle.

Each session includes slide show presentations, discussion, and Q&A based on short videos and handouts to watch and read before the session.

“I loved Diana’s Sociocracy course. She’s super-clear, organized, has incredibly thorough preparation, and she’s so down-to-earth, fun, engaging, and easy to connect with.”

Phoenix Robbins

Aptos Beloved Community, Aptos, CA. May-July, 2021 course

Workshop Recordings

The sessions will be recorded. Please note that if you choose to ask a question or make a comment on camera during the call, you will be included in the recording. You are welcome to use a pseudonym and/or keep your video off if you have privacy concerns.

This recording is shared with all registered participants within 48 hours of the session and may also be used in future online learning programs.

You may not share the workshop recordings with other people.

Suggested Caption:  Russian ecovillagers  in Diana’s Sociocracy<br />
Workshop, Ethnomir, Russia, 2016.

Russian ecovillagers in Diana’s Sociocracy Workshop, Ethnomir, Russia, 2016.

Schedule

July 7, 14, 21, 28 & August 4. 1:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern time. Five 2.5-hour sessions.

Tuition

$185.00 – $250.00 sliding scale

Register

Click to register.

Group Registration

We offer a 20% discount for groups of five or more. At least five group members must register at the same time. Once the original group is registered, additional group members can register with a coupon for a 20% discount.

Click to register five or more group members.

If you have questions about registering your group, please contact us.

Sliding Scale Tuition

Because some people have more financial means than others, we have created a sliding scale fee system to accommodate a range of economic realities. The high-end of the scale reflects the value we believe the program holds, and the low-end offers a more accessible entry point.

By choosing a higher price point, you are helping make the program more accessible to others for whom the low-end may be cost-prohibitive. Please consider your needs and resources to determine what might be a stretch, but not a strain.

“I loved this course. Who knew community governance could be so fun!”

Jeff Conklin

Riverside Cohousing, Eugene, Oregon

Scholarships

We offer partial scholarships (50% of the middle of the sliding scale) to black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) with financial needs who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend. We understand that BIPOC experience more financial and institutional barriers to participation, and this is one way we are able to create more access. If you identify as BIPOC with financial needs and would like to receive a scholarship, please contact us.

About the Instructor

Photo of intentional communities expert Diana Leafe Christian

Diana Leafe Christian

Faculty

Diana is author of the books Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, about forming successful communities and ecovillages, and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, and the Communities magazine article series "Working Effectively with Especially Challenging Behaviors."  She speaks at conferences, offers consultations, and leads webinars and workshops internationally on starting successful new intentional communities, how existing communities can resolve conflicts and become more healthy and thriving, and sociocracy, a self-governance and decision-making method she finds especially effective for communities.

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