Beyond Democracy 2 – What is FUNDAMENTALLY different about Sociocracy, a.k.a. Dynamic Governance

Hi! I’m Ted Millich and I’m back again with my blog series ‘Beyond Democracy’ about the next step in the evolution of human governance, which is called Sociocracy, and also known as Dynamic Governance. Today I will explain how it is fundamentally different from all the current ways we govern ourselves.

After have miriad problems with my video editing software and then YouTube I have finally gotten this vlog online!!

I agree with Gregg Kendrick, a sociocracy & non-violent communications (NVC) consultant here in Charlottesville when he says: “I believe that the world is working under somewhat of an illusion right now. That the way people interact is this way: it’s a domination way – somebody’s in charge, the rest of you just do what you’re told and that’s the way it works. And we’ve just taken that on. We’ve accepted it and I believe the cloak is about to be removed – that that’s the way we’ve been doing it, but that’s not the way it has to be, that there’s a deeper way that we work that actually is not only more meaningful, it’s more powerful.”

The boss/employee relationship is based on authority. If you don’t behave within certain limits, your boss has the authority to fire you. And of course you don’t have a say in your boss’s decisions even when they affect you. But you still need to do whatever is decided. That is coercion and this relationship is authoritarian. We’re all used to this model because it is all we’ve really known. We use authoritarian methods in our governments, businesses, schools, and everywhere else people do things together. Most of these organizations are benevolent, or, at least benign, but they still don’t work very well and creates all sorts of dysfunction.

Sociocracy is fundamentally different from all of our governance models today because our current methods are based on a “linear” systems model. Power flows one way, from the top of the hierarchy, down. The higher in the hierarchy you are, the more power you have. Power is concentrated.

So, when we look at human technical knowledge of systems we can see that the other end of the spectrum from linear systems is the “dynamic” end. In linear social systems, the power flows one way.
In a dynamic system, the power flows back and forth between all the elements. In a social system those elements are the people.

Forty years ago an electronics engineer who owned an company with 165 employees, applied his considerable technical knowledge to the social system – the governance system – of his company, and developed the first completely dynamic social system. It took years of using trial and error and wasn’t easy. But he did it and now there is a complete, workable, and practical set of processes that anyone can use. Because it uses dynamic processes we call it Dynamic Governance, or DG. That engineer, Gerard Endenburg, calls it sociocracy, which dictionaries define as “A theoretical system of government in which the interests of all members of society are served equally.” Gerard believes that sociocracy follows on from democracy. For the last 12 years of studying and using it, I have been in total agreement.

Sociocracy doesn’t use coercion. All decisions must be freely made by the people affected by those decisions. It seems like that might be messy, but the sociocratic model WORKS, and it works much BETTER than one person making decisions for a lot of other people.
After I finish this series about sociocracy, I will describe how a sociocratic government could possibly look in operation. I think you’ll be surprised. I sure have been.

Here are some links to Dynamic Governance resources:
Links at the pre-eminent sociocracy consulting company’s website.

Links at my website.

 

Here is a list that contrasts some aspects of dynamic governance, and linear governance.

 

Dynamic Governance Linear Governance
There is an equivalent amount of power reserved for each participant in the system. Power is concentrated in a small percentage of participants in the system.
Hierarchy exists for day-to-day operations, but policy & strategic processes are egalitarian. Hierarchy is used not only for day-to-day operations, but policy & strategic processes as well.
Adopted policies are supported by all. Poor policy decisions are made, but employees have no say in changing them.
There is no coercion. The basic boss/employee relationship is one of coercion.
Participants have to accept the power and the accountability of responsibility. Participants trade off not having power, for not being accountable.
Speaking up and being listened to is guaranteed. Speaking up may be encouraged, but power in decisions is not given.
People feel respected. People frequently don’t feel respected.
Participants change, grow, and become more proactive. (This is what I learned when making my video.) Participants feel limited and shut down.
The mission dictates decisions. Money is a good measurement, but not the end-all goal. The entity exists to maximize shareholder value.
The election process involves those affected, is fun, works well, no fraud is possible, and it brings up good information. People are chosen for jobs without input from everyone affected.
Feedback is important and systemically gathered. Feedback may or may not be considered.
Transparency is critical. Secrecy is endemic.
The entity owns itself. (I’ll have a whole blog just about that.) A small number of shareholders own the entity.
Group dynamics are obvious and give a model for evaluating all social systems. How the entity functions is not clear to most of it’s participants.
The entity adapts faster to a changing environment. The entity is rigid and resistant to change
Poor leaders aren’t re-elected for their position. People get ensconced in positions of power.
Clients have a say in how the entity is run. Clients are a means to an end – that of making a profit.
Upper management is more free to concentrate on the bigger picture. Upper management spends more time on the day-to-day than on the bigger picture.
Creates a sustainable structure for continuity. Small entities have trouble continuing when the business owner needs to retire.

 

Please tune in again for my next blog entry where I reveal the processes that sociocracy uses.