How to change top-level aims by consent?

Sorry if this has been asked before. So far I haven’t come across something that fully answers my question. Also not sure if this goes in this forum category or “Sociocracy Basics,” but this seemed like a more obscure question so I’m putting it here.

I understand that decisions in sociocracy are made when a proposal has no objections from all members of the circle which is responsible for the decisions, and that objections should be evaluated against the aim of the circle. However, when the proposal is to change the aim of the circle (I’m thinking at the highest level), there is no aim against which to evaluate the proposal. You can’t change the aim while using the old aim to evaluate the new aim. The “reference points” seem to then become the circle members themselves - their values, interests, desires, etc.

I know the SoFA article here talks about getting the mission circle and general circle to agree, but what if some people in those circles have differing ideas? What if they all agreed to the old aim (“aim A”), but the old aim has become irrelevant, and one group wants to change it to aim B while another group wants to change it to aim C? Are they then stuck with the old irrelevant aim? Should they split up?

Does this also mean that objections in this case can be arbitrary? Basically someone can object and just say they don’t think that should be the aim of the organization (they can also give stats as to why another aim deserves attention). And there’s not really any way to resolve that except by kicking them out or splitting up since there’s millions of problems in the world, and there’s not really an objective way to say one problem deserves the organization’s attention more than another one.


Hey there
Well, the highest-level aim forms sort of the DNA or raison d’etre for the organization. So if Aim B and Aim C are significantly different, then, yes, splitting is the most useful option. You’re forgetting, however, that one can also integrate objections - one isn’t stuck between B vs. C with no way out. For example, someone could say I believe B is more effective than C and they could work on a way to evaluate that.

As for the reference point, the org-level aim translates the mission into an aim so the backdrop is the mission, along with the doability of the new aim of course. Objections would then need to be on the aim not being on mission.

You’re right. That’s why I think split is a good option - ultimately, I might not have reasonable reasons why I am choosing to put my time into B vs. C. It’s not that I don’t find C important. I just happen to be good at/set up to be doing B. And that’s true for individuals but also true for organizations.
Yet, if we both agree that Mission M is what we both care about, then I’d hope that we would agree on an aim that constitutes the most effective way of acting on M. If both of our approaches are good but we differ in what we’re up for, then lets each work on our own aim.

I also think we learn over time whether an aim has potential. That’s why it’s even more important that we can change it.

Of course, if the mission is something we’re changing and we disagree, then it’s really hard. Any of these things always just kick the can down the road structurally. (Unless we determine that our mission comes directly from a higher being.)


Amazing response, thank you Ted!

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