In Sociocracy, where do proposals come from?

There are generally two options:

  1. A circle member writes a proposal, or
  2. The circle writes a proposal together, using a process like picture forming and proposal shaping.

In our experience, writing a proposal together seems to take more time but can really be streamlined with picture forming + proposal shaping. Quite often, when one person writes a proposal alone, the circle still needs time to digest and react to the proposal, so ultimately taking short-cuts doesn’t really pay off.
What’s important here is that in picture forming and proposal shaping, it’s still ideally one person that synthesizes the proposal ideas into a proposal.

I am finding that even though we are awkward at using Sociocracy in our circle, the language, “I propose…” helps others to see they do have an opportunity to comment fully, and then accept or object. Our circle is linguists at heart, but this language reminds us of our responsibilities to each other.

In our circle, it is still as unruly as a Senate gathering. But if someone proposes something, we try to assess and pass or reject before dropping the subject. “just being honest… not perfect!”


I agree the explicit-ness of proposing/consenting vs. objecting is useful, yes!
It might help to make an agreement that official proposals have to be stated by the facilitator (everyone can make suggestions but facilitators make proposals)- otherwise everyone just throws out proposal and counterproposals and it can still be chaotic.
But given the scenario you describe, my suggestion might be too formal to land well :slight_smile:

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I really like the idea of working with the Facilitator to articulate the proposal to the Circle. Back-story discussions can cast a pall over the consent process if there is perceived contention, much of which can be shelved simply by having an acknowledged pathway for proposals. This assumes, of course, that the Facilitator is willing to work with the proposal.

True! And I agree with you - sometimes tension builds in particular because of the lack of clarity!