Beyond Democracy 6 – How People Who Use Sociocracy Grow and Change

As I said in my last vlog, in 2007 I got a high definition video camera and some editing software and made a video about sociocracy. I traveled to Vermont, Washington, D.C., the Netherlands, and recorded at a medical company here in Charlottesville.
One theme that I didn’t anticipate kept presenting itself
and now I’m going present that knowledge to you.
We’ll listen to a number of people at CMR, Charlottesville Medical Research, where they call DG DSG, for Dynamic SELF-Governance. It’s a nice name and I like being able to sprinkle it on my stir fry.

Here is my vlog

and, if you get this in an e-mail message, here is a link to the vlog.

So let’s start with Pieter van de Meche, a consultant at the Sociocracy Center in the Netherlands.

Pieter: “It encourages people to grow. To grow as a person. A human being.”

Chike: “I personally think I’ve grown as an individual, as a dad, as a husband because of DSG.”

Nancy: “The method in DSG of being sure everyone is heard does force people who possibly might not speak up to do so.

Chike: “You can come out of this with a deeper understanding of even yourself and being able to speak up and raise your concerns for some people that can be liberating because they’re speaking up and saying these concerns for the first time in their lives.”

Paul: “…and it takes awhile for people to even get used to that [being asked for their input]. We have employees that have never really been asked how they felt about something, or a policy that was going to be set that they actually helped create the policy and it can’t be implemented without their consent. And that is scary for some people and it takes supporting them to learn how to work with the tool and work in the circle environment.”

Nancy: “When you do that you are putting yourself out there. You’re making yourself more vulnerable.”
“You are more accountable. You’re accountable for the decisions that’s being made in that group just as much as anybody. So when the decision is made, you are part of that decision.”

Pieter: “And that’s a shift of perspective and this shift of perspective – there you encounter most of the problems because it’s not in our culture. It’s not in our conditioning. We’re not used to it.”

Nancy: “I think everybody really wants to be heard in life.

Gregg: “So it is about ultimately creating an environment where people trust that they can speak up and it won’t be punished. They they can speak up and it will be valued, and I do believe it takes time for that to happen.”

Pieter: “So this process to let it in and really grasp the meaning of what it means to be equivalent with others.”
“It’s also an internal development process which takes time. And which for us is a challenge – us here as consultants and trainers and that’s the biggest question I think that is on the table.”

Joyce: “Some people develop skills where they become more comfortable with what they would have previously seen as conflict. And it’s really not conflict. It’s just putting yourself out there.”
“This last general circle meeting we had just this week – usually I’m the only one putting forth agenda items – bringing things like that up. There were 8 items on the agenda. I only contributed to one. So the rest of the staff brought items that they wanted to discuss, and they were policy items. They weren’t operational. So now they get it.”

Paul: “It’s powerful. People feel different. You know it’s so much more than a way to run a business. It really gets down to a very deep level of empowering people to helping them become free in their lives, to be able to make choices and create a reality that they choose, that feels right to them inside. It’s really quite magical.

So, this transformation that people go through can be roughly outlined like this: your circle has to make a decision that may be higher stakes than you are used to making decisions about; you listen to other people and also research the issues; you declare your decision in a meeting, perhaps changing your opinion as new information comes to light; then others in your circle do the same and the group builds up trust over time.
As Paul said, it feels different. It feels different because it is different!
So I hope you feel different now and I’ll see you again for my next blog at a different time…