As society evolves through the generations, many of us are seeking new ways of doing things differently, wishing to respond to the complex issues and crises of our world and to find appropriate solutions, valuing the importance of communities, wanting to find a sense of belonging, meaning, collaboration, expression, freedom, and choice.
Sociocracy offers us a structure that supports us working and learning together, using our diverse collective intelligence, and moving towards a more equal and inclusive world.
Sociocracy offers us a structure of organisation, the intelligence of its operating system teaches us about life’s structures: movement and shapes, information flow and communication, power distribution, inclusion and equivalence, processes, relations, awareness, and consent.
Its main compass explores self-governance, evolutionary purpose, wholeness.
In fact, I feel that all these elements are core principles of the
universal intelligence of life; they are not limited to sociocracy but embedded in its spirit.
Sociocracy is an evolved organisation and governance structure which offers us tools and principles to support groups and organisations to self-govern in an adynamic way which supports power decentralisation and balanced hierarchies.
The term sociocracy was coined in 1851 by the French philosopher Auguste Comte. Sociocracy belongs to an evolved organisational paradigm and mindset (Teal organisations – Ken Wilber) built on previous human organisational structures that served our capacity to organise ourselves into a social structure.
Over the years, I witnessed how hard and long it often is for newcomers or unfamiliar people to get what we do in an organisation governed by sociocracy: how do we do what we do and why? What do we look like as a shape? How do we get things done?
When we turn to our body structure we notice for example our flow of communication, our awareness of our own internal biases, and explore who the members of our body are - do they all have space? I am amazed at the feedback I receive from people as they begin to really understand and know the principles once they have had a direct experience of it, as well as on how it affects their showing up in the organisation and in their personal lives and own practices.
How it works - a brief example
We organise ourselves in circles (like departments, but smaller ones) with specific members in each circle. Each circle has its domain and aims. We speak in rounds and have an agenda that keeps us effective and focused. We have roles within our circles, such as that of secretary, representatives, operational leader, and other roles that are topic- and goal-oriented.
We agree by consent, not consensus. Our main compass is "Does it feel safe enough, good enough to try?" We view tensions as creativity, opportunity and intelligence, and we aim to include them as they rise.
We also elect for roles by consent, and oftentimes this is how leaders grow, how members begin to feel a sense of meaning and belonging. It allows for a very dynamic and decentralised power structure.
Double linking refers to how we connect circles and ensure healthy communication and passing of information horizontally and vertically. It supports opportunities to deal with power issues, balancing hierarchies, and allows for a healthy feedback loop.
I see inner work and effectiveness as a holistic relational approach, one which is a win-win-win (personal, organisational, environmental), without anything else that does not include these three contributions to the mess we see in the world and the legacy we leave for future generations.
Embodiment teaches that our bodies are not simply a house for our thoughts and emotions; they are a part of us, and it is through the body that we sense and respond to life.
When we learn something through embodied practice it informs and shapes our cells, our form, and the way we interact with ourselves and, therefore, the world.
Embodiment is the way to grow awareness from within and evolve our consciousness, our heart and nervous system as sensing organs, our ability to receive, process and digest the world as it is, and therefore to respond and evolve our purpose with coherence.
In an embodied sociocracy we learn to include our mind, heart, and gut in the process of learning.
We engage with the intelligence of the operational system of the structure through our body. This allows for change from the bottom up, for agility, working with inner conflicts and tensions, and for a sense of freedom and choice.
It cultivates safety, not as a given but as a learned experience. I believe that it allows leaders and organisations to find their own balance of integration, effectiveness, and growth.
It allows us, as humanity, to heal together, learn together, co-create safety and innovation together, which is the only way to tackle the complexities of the world we are now facing, such as oppression, prejudice, racism, climate crises, deep divide (self, social, environmental, spiritual), political economic crises, traumas.
To meet these complexities we are called to combine the different human dimensions, a variety of social technologies (NVC, TU, holacracy, etc.), and diverse professional fields (psychology, embodiment, trauma work, etc.).
Theory U of the presenting institute is one social technology that I particularly like, it adds another layer of structure and depth to the structure of sociocracy. It provides tools and awareness practices, and begins to embody the prerequisite towards a change in our ‘heart-set’, and tap into a source of innovation. Below you can watch a conversation I hosted for SoFA with Ted Rau, Otto Scharmer and Pascal Mompoint-Gaillard.
Trauma work and trauma-informed leadership adds another layer of embodiment which is needed in order to meet and respond to the world. The complexities we see are often symptoms of societal trauma. They are deeply embedded in the fabric of our systems, in the architecture, in the way we organise ourselves, our families, our organisations, our communities, and the way we perceive, live, and create in our lives.
Individual trauma, ancestral, collective, and systemic trauma are part of every meeting, gathering, decision, product, and service we offer. It sits like a shadow or an iceberg inside our system.
Trauma-informed spaces mean that as facilitators, leaders, and individuals we do our own inner work, we grow our capacities of reflection, awareness, compassion, and our skills of presence and attunement in order to be able to host, engage, and move into a deeper sense of collective intelligence.
The reason why they are all compatible is that they share core intelligence of
Movement, Relation, Process, and Awareness (MRPA).
(More to read about it in the next article)
In summary, embodied sociocracy offers a path to meaningful change by integrating the mind, heart, and gut. It invites us to go beyond structural changes, to cultivate safety, and tap into our innate intelligence. By embracing collaboration, inclusivity, and shared learning, we forge a powerful collective that can address the complexities of our world and co-create a better future for all.
Through embodied sociocracy, we address the complex societal issues we face. It invites us to heal individually and collectively. By infusing different embodiment dimensions, social technologies, and professional fields, we foster a holistic, integral, embodied approach to societal transformation.
Together, we have the capacity to address complex societal issues.
Complexity requires a bigger vessel in which to be contained. We grow our vessel by cultivating awareness and healing together; in turn, more informed intelligence opens for us. As the vessel expands, complexity turns into clarity, new levels of coherence and possibilities may present themselves for innovation, creating a world that fosters well-being, sustainability, and social transformation.
‘Together’ is a powerful word, and I believe it will be a game changer for us going forward in all aspects and sectors of life.