Sociocratic decision making
Quite often the challenges with making decisions are the following:
- It’s difficult to get all parties involved aligned towards a decision.
- Once a decision has taken, some degree of uncertainty remains if people actually support the decision.
Welcome to sociocratic decision making
Sociocratic decisions differ from autocratic (no to low support, but fast decision making), democratic (with majority vote) (at least 51% vote support), and consensus (broad support, but time-consuming process).
Sociocratic decisions are made with consent. Consent means there is no reason not to object. In other words, there are no compelling reasons not to agree to proceed and to try out whatever is being proposed. Any concerns raised can be taken into account. Objections must be taken into account and are to be resolved.
Prerequisites for consent decision making
- participants involved are consciously thinking about moving forward with a proposal for next best action (“it’s good enough for now, and safe enough to try”),
- all participants consider each other equivalent.
Pattern for sociocratic decision making
- Introduce the matter to decide upon (in sociocracy 3.0 this called a “driver”: what’s happening right now that motivates us to present this matter?)
- Round of consent agreeing to the matter
- Present the proposal for next best action
- Round of clarifying questions
- Round of brief response – in order to get a first short indication of level of agreement
- Indicate consent (agree with consent, object, agree with concerns)
- Resolve objections (one by one) by improving the proposal (on the spot, or prepare for next meeting)
- In case of no objections (left): consider decision agreed upon: celebrate!
- Consider any concerns (optionally)
Note: the phrase “it’s good enough for now, and safe enough to try” is taken from sociocracy 3.0.
The next action of a decision agreed is to honor to check upon the outcome of the decision, and if necessary act upon improving it, in a next iteration.