Principle of consent is key for work which affects others. In the absence of an objection you can proceed. If there is an objection, it needs to be checked and if valid (paramount and reasoned), integrated into the proposal. By doing this you use the collective intelligence of all involved, leading to higher engagement and quality of your decisions and work. From consent (consent to what where, based on what?) you come to criteria of shared concern/domain and roles. And from there you can refine the criteria further. Try to think consent further, what would it mean for X.? What might we do? This can mean elect leaders, define your own salary etc. etc.
Better for peers: governance is the new black
● Vincent van der Lubbe (47, dutch)
● Consultant - Making management easier
● Chair Sociocracy for All, a non-profit membership
organisation with the mission to make sociocracy accessible
Expectations & Experience
What would you like to know before we begin?
What do you know about sociocracy?
What would you like to have happen for this session?
What does sociocracy mean?
Socio - cracy
Companion/Peer - rule/govern
Who might know about this? “Rules for living
For people living / collaborating together we have several thousand years of
experience in …
● Family life
● Local communities sharing resources
● Religious communities
And we are all coming from tribalism...
It’s about conversations
between different actors/peers
about their concerns
in their specific environment/context
who try to create a desired future (together).
Excerpt “Sociocracy: Democracy as It Might Be”
We are so accustomed to majority rule as a necessary part of democracy that it is difficult to
imagine any democratic system working without it. It is true that it is better to count heads
than to break them, and democracy, even as it is today, has much to recommend it as
compared with former practices. But the party system has proved very far from providing the
ideal democracy of people’s dreams. Its weaknesses have become clear enough: endless
debates in Parliament, mass meetings in which the most primitive passions are aroused, the
overruling by the majority of all independent views, capricious and unreliable election results,
government action rendered inefficient by the minority’s persistent opposition. Strange
abuses also creep in. Not only can a party obtain votes by deplorably underhanded methods,
but, as we all know, a dictator can win an election with an “astonishing” majority by
Excerpt “Sociocracy: Democracy as It Might Be”
The fact is that we have taken the present system for granted for so long that many people
do not realize that the party system and majority rule are not an essential part of democracy.
If we really wish to see the whole population united, like a big family, in which the members
care for each other’s welfare as much as for their own, we must set aside the quantitative
principle of the right of the greatest number and find another way of organizing ourselves.
This solution must be really democratic in the sense that it must enable each one of us to
share in organizing the community. But this kind of democracy will not depend on power, not
even the power of the majority. It will have to be a real community-democracy, an
organization of the community by the community itself.
For this concept I shall use the word “sociocracy.” Such a concept would be of little value if it
had never been tried out in practice. But its validity has been successfully demonstrated over
“The real problem of humanity is the following:
We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions
and godlike technology.”
Sociocracy’s two big strands before Endenburg
1. Social ideals: create a better world
2. Science: based on “positivism”, world of passive
causality and “facts” (rest not relevant)
Forms of this - unanimity/consensus (1) - practiced in:
● religious community (Quaker practice)
● schools (Boeke’s Werkplaats)
Your typical form of governance
● Autocratic - very efficient/fast, “stupid ruler”, power corrupts
● Democratic (majority rule) - inefficient, create lot of losers, divisive, not taking
care of minority enough, majority justifies own mediocre (what they have in
common = “populism”)?
● Consensus - everybody agree, no loser, takes long time, not always possible,
group think - people conform,
● Meritocratic - well prepared people, work hard = good rewards, does not exist
in real world (work is not enough, PR, where you come from), we are all
specialists (short sighted by definition), lot of losers, used to justify status quo
● Let it happen - Tao is pushing
Gerard Endenburg (1933)
● Went to school in
● Parents buy company
to show that you can
manage a business
● Practices sociocracy
in his parents’ company
● Brings cybernetics to
1. Decisions by consent
- no overburdening/ignoring
2. Circle structure, interconnected Circles
- describe the domain (boundaries) with a shared interest/aim
3. Open elections (by consent)
- nomination of people in the domain / with reasons
4. Double link between circles
- role of leader (eﬀectiveness) and delegate (equivalence)
Objections and tensions
Where do they come from?
What would we like to have happen?
And when that happens, then what happens?
Selection process T1
Name Facilitator Secretary
Mark - c Ruth | - Pat Evans | Mark
Pat Pingel - c Ruth | - Karen | Mark
Karen - c Ruth | - Mark | -
Pat Evans - c Ruth | - Mark | -
Ruth - c Pat P | - Mark | -
Facilitator: facilitates small group meetings
Secretary: note-taking during small group exercises
Term: one weekend (might be extended)
- manage the agenda
- good listener
- ability to handle disagreements
- knows when to do a round
- ability to summarize; bring ideas
- Good listener
- able to summarize ideas
- accurate recording of information
- can type
Three key values
Different strands of sociocracy
● Sociocratic Circle Method (minimum structure to make it work in org)
● S3: added some other “patterns”
● Holacracy: specified criteria for objections, formalized a lot of rules, separated
operations and governance meetings clearly
Questions / Feedback
Happy to stay in contact and collaborate.
Send me an email and add me on:
Vincent van der Lubbe
+34 696 27 88 72 | firstname.lastname@example.org