My colleagues and I would like to introduce the potential use of Sociocracy for our broader community, a group of construction workers in Chicago who have very limited tolerance for theoretical/abstract discussions.
So, I’m looking for a few “learning-by-doing” exercises to help people see the value of Sociocracy in action.
Do folks here have any exercises in mind for that kind of intro?
The first thing that comes to my mind is our Sociocracy Basics “Empowered learning circle” training, which is pretty much this format. A little bit of theory, and then lots of hands-on practice. It’s a video recorded training, that the group can do when they want. Does your group also happens to not like sitting in front of a computer though? That wouldn’t be their best bet then…
Otherwise, is there someone with some sociocracy training in person near you? Because I think it takes someone with at least some good knowledge of sociocracy to do such exercises. If you are, then you can facilitate role-selections, then redo it and have someone in the group facilitate instead of you. Have the steps visible! You can do the same with the consent decision making process. I like to do it with a real decision to make, but quite low complexity and low importance, to leave space for learning!
This is a challenging question. I am wondering–what are the self-governance issues your group is facing? Breakdown between teams of specialized workers? Lack of communication between teams that have different levels of authority?
Maybe a good place to begin would be to think about the difference between the way conventional hierarchy makes decisions and design a simple curriculum that illustrates how having a designated “double-link” between separate departments can open up communication to feedback, so that impacted workers are not the last to know about decisions that define how or when their work is done? Maybe set up a brief scenario “learning session” to illustrate what double-linking means?
Is the management team of your worker group on-board with using sociocracy? If so, those people might be open to having a “fishbowl” type discussion in front of a group of workers during which audience/worker members get to move in and out of the fishbowl to get their questions about a typical job site situation answered by a member of the supervisory role holders.
Just ideas–I think creativity is called for in this situation. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think you will need to “set the stage” for them. Experts in sociocracy say over and over that any group that using it has to be committed to on-going education–it’s not “one and done”–but
this doesn’t have to mean on-going boring lectures. It means establishing a culture of cooperation based on accountability and transparency—maybe start by emphasizing the values that will be strengthened if they use it. Or talk about how military-style top-down command is more efficient and easier to use in some ways, but the people who just take orders they have no part in creating feel disempowered over time. A bit radical, I know, but sociocracy has to be cultivated over time.
Workers come and go, especially in the construction field–the culture has to be maintained by regular “check-ups”.