Holacracy or sociocracy? Consensus or consent? Rings or circles? Can you no longer see the wood for the trees? We can reassure you that this, in fact, is all part of the same evolution towards what is today called Sociocracy 3.0 (or S3 for short). But what is it actually about? If you look at the origin of the word ‘sociocracy’, you come across both the Romans and the Greeks. Socius is Latin for "fellow man", and Kratein is the Greek verb for "to rule".
In other words, sociocracy means "the fellow man rules". It is indeed no different from a way of working in which everyone is equal and each team or individual takes responsibility and leadership within his domain or role. It is a flexible way of working together and organising in order to be agile and resilient as an organisation. Isn't that exactly what we really need today?
These are nice words, but let us clarify how this can work within a team or organisation. S3 is based on seven principles that form the absolute starting point at all times:
- Transparency: make all the information available to everyone in the organisation, unless there is a reason for confidentiality
- Equality: involve people in making and evolving agreements that concern them
- Accountability: respond when something is needed, do what you have promised and take responsibility for the direction of the organisation
- Continuous Improvement: continuously make small changes to enable hands-on learning
- Effectiveness: only invest time in those things that will bring you closer to achieving your goals
- Empiricism: test all assumptions through continuous evaluation and experimentation
- Last but not least: consent decision-making: is it good enough for now and safe enough to try out?
As Stanwick, we are working on this for customers and for ourselves. If you delve into the literature about S3, you may at first be a little overwhelmed by the different concepts, principles and methodologies it implies. Where on earth do you start? Well, that's actually the big advantage of S3. You can start wherever you want with whatever feels best for you. So, at Stanwick, we literally started experimenting with the ideas themselves according to the sixth principle. Try, continuously improve, make conscious choices and just do it. Good enough for now and safe enough to try? Let’s go!