Circle of Last Resort
In the cohousing community where I live, some of us are grappling with the question: What if we have an important decision that we can’t resolve? What if circles try but can’t reach consent? Of course, they can refer a question to a linked circle, but what if they can’t decide either?
This dilemma is sometimes called ‘The Top Circle Problem,’ a known issue in sociocracy. However, in our discussion we realized that ‘Top Circle’ is problematic because it indicates a top-down approach.
So I am suggesting ‘Circle of Last Resort’ as a name for that circle in an organization — and it’s attendant policies — designed to ultimately decide, to break a stalemate. I imagine there are many ways to set this up and an array of policies that could be developed. However, it seems important for any sociocratic organization to have a plan.
‘Circle of Last Resort’ seems more compatible with a circular hierarchy where everyone is accountable to everyone else in a linked circle structure.
What are your thoughts about what to call this dilemma and what to do about it?