I guess Ted’s response already gave you the answer to your question and what I will do in this comment will only highlight some quotes about “consent” from the book:
which is the sociocracy manual I use as reference as a sociocracy practitioner:
1.2.1 Design-principles vs. tools
“The consent round is only a tool to ensure the principle of equivalence. If readers can find a better way to live the principle of equivalence than what we are presenting here (without compromising effectiveness), do it. In that case, please share so others can benefit as well!”
1.2.3 Change anything you want – by consent
“Consent is the default decision-making method in sociocracy. Consent means that if I make a proposal to the group, my proposal will be approved if no one in the group has an objection to it.”
“By consent, a group can decide to do anything. We often jokingly say, you want a dictator for your organization? We can decide that by consent. (We recommend that the dictator role have a term end, however!) Groups can decide by consent to vote. Groups decide what their governance system looks like at all times. The only thing one cannot do is ignore reasoned objections.”
1.3 Sociocracy in context
“Gerard Endenburg intended sociocracy to be a method that includes and invites people to show up in their organizations as co-responsible whole human beings. Sociocracy was brought to the United States primarily by John Buck, co-author with Sharon Villines of the 2007 book on sociocracy, We The People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy. Jerry Koch-Gonzalez studied and worked with John, and Ted J. Rau has done the same with Jerry.”
“As time passes since the early days of sociocracy, variations in its application have emerged, most notably Holacracy and Sociocracy 3.0. An exploration of the similarities and differences in the variations of sociocracy is beyond the scope of this book. The sociocratic lineage of Sociocracy For All is “classical” sociocracy - meaning directly from Gerard Endenburg and the Sociocratic Circle Method that he and others developed.”
“We do not intend with this book to start another variation, and we view any fragmentation of the movement around circle-based power with some sadness and skepticism. Our intent is to be Sociocracy For All, which – for us – means that we support any effort to spread sociocracy and sociocracy-related education and application.”
1.4 How to use this manual
“Governance is tricky to teach. The biggest challenge is that one has to know everything at the same time. Practitioners have to know the meeting format, all processes, understand consent, know what a helping circle is, how to do a round, be aware of feedback, have emotional literacy and needs consciousness and more at once – oh, and be aware of operational roles! Sociocratic governance works best if practitioners master it all. How can we achieve that? We tried to write this book so readers can browse through the book, reading sections at a time. That is the reason why there is some repetition in the book, as we strive to keep each section more or less comprehensive.”
Defined membership: what and why
“Circles make policy decisions by consent. Consent is the default decision-making method in sociocracy […] The definition of consent is that a decision is made if no circle member has an objection. Consent decision making only works if we know who those circle members are. In a situation where people drop in and out of a group, we will not know who can be counted on and who needs to be asked for consent if we want to make a decision. Protection of any decision-making group is a high priority in sociocracy, so defined membership is an essential feature of sociocratic organizations.”
2.3 Operations and the internal structure of a circle: Roles
“We have described how circles connect to their related circles through linking and how circles have aims and domains that define their work. In addition, circles need some internal structure to function well. Of course, we can define (by consent) what those features might be in a particular organization. What we describe here is what is considered good practice and has been used in many sociocratic organizations. We have not seen any need to deviate from this basic structure, but readers might find their own way.”
“Why do we define roles? For the same reason that we make policy: for effectiveness , and clarity . For repeating tasks, we do not want to re-invent the wheel every time so we make policy about how it is done. But we also do not want to determine, which circle member is going to take the task every time: that is why we define roles. This is both true for circle roles and for operational roles . It is inefficient to start every meeting having to determine who is facilitator or secretary for that meeting. We want to settle those roles so we can focus on what is relevant.”
“Also, in defining a role, we give the person filling a role the authority to act without having to check back with the circle, and the person a chance to build expertise in that role. Roles in sociocracy are generally about empowerment, building expertise and paying attention. Some people see a circle as a bundle of operational roles in a domain – the holders of roles are the people who carry out the work of a circle. Another way of looking at it is to see all circle members as people who carry out the circle’s operations, while some repeating tasks live in roles. Either way, we are separating roles, like hats, from individuals. One person can wear many hats, but each hat can only be worn by one person. One circle member can hold many roles, depending on resources and skills. Ideally, we would like to see roles distributed among several people as this distributes power.”
Even meeting notes we keep in the AGENDA are final when consented to by all circle members/attendees.
I invite all those who want to discover more about how sociocracy is understood and practiced in Sociocracy For All to participate in the classes and events organized by SoFA.
I hope these quotes from Ted and Jerry will be useful by the readers of this post and comments.
Who Decides Who Decides?
Many Voices One Song – A sociocracy manual
Let’s Decide Together
Sociocracy articles and videos
Events and workshops