Fun and Inclusive Decision-Making: Foundations of Sociocracy

November 30, 2018 to December 2, 2018 - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Washington, DC

This 3-day workshop is presented by The Sociocracy Consulting Group, in collaboration with Vernon Oakes and Pat Thornton of Everything Co-op, Jim Johnson of Sociocracy for All, and Julia Eddy.

Participant survey form – If this intrigues you and you want to attend, please fill out our interest form by September 21st, to help us plan the workshop (official registration will come later).

If you have any questions, are interested in sponsoring the event, or would like to get on the mailing list for future communication about this workshop, please email

Do you expect meetings to be a drag? Do you dread group decision-making? Do agendas make you groan?

What would you think of an approach to making decisions that is downright fun? A way of working together that leaves everybody energized and hopeful? A way of structuring organizations that is flexible, inclusive, and empowering?

Well, this way already exists! Sociocracy, also known as dynamic governance, is a whole systems approach to collaborative decision-making, project management, and organizational governance. It creates more inclusive and effective organizations, in which all stakeholders’ voices matter.

Sociocracy can be used in any group or organization as an option for easier and more inclusive decision-making, member-driven governance, and organizational design. People at all organizational levels make policy decisions that govern their own work, and communication flows bottom-up as well as top-down. And sociocracy aligns naturally with cooperative principles and practices!

The first two days will be an experiential workshop on the basics of sociocracy to help you learn the core concepts and determine if sociocracy might be right for your organization, led by Sheella Mierson, a founding member of The Sociocracy Consulting Group.

The third day will be shaped by who attends and aimed at supporting people to apply sociocracy in their organization or board.  A short basic board training for co-op board members may be included, led by local co-op developer Jim Johnson.

Here’s some of what people are saying about Sociocracy:

“Watching a group of people in the same business with differences of opinion make decisions they all agree to in 15-20 minutes is a powerful thing. After seeing that, new people will want to learn it.” –Joe Garrison, Co-Owner, Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe, a worker co-operative using Sociocracy since 2012, Astoria, Oregon.

We adopted sociocracy and all of a sudden there is a room full of empowered people helping make decisions. People feel different. I’d say that at the end of 100% of our circle meetings – where we set policy – everyone says, ‘My goodness. I feel so much more energized.’ We have fewer meetings over time as we’ve implemented sociocracy, the decisions are better, and the follow-through is better because everyone’s on board.” –Paul Kervick, Outreach Coordinator and Board Member, Living Well Residential Care Home & Assisted Living, Bristol, Vermont, using Sociocracy since 2004.

“When I was an enlisted man in the Navy, I wondered why the officers didn’t listen to our good ideas. When I became an officer, I wondered why I could never get the enlisted men to tell me what they were thinking. I tell you from experience that sociocracy solves this problem from both ends.” –Richard Heitfield, President, Creative Urethanes, Inc., manufacturer of specialty urethane parts including skateboard wheels, Winchester, VA

Links to learn more about Sociocracy:

  • A wonderful, very brief (3 minute) video introduction to sociocracy.
  • Vernon Oakes recently conducted an interview about sociocracy and co-ops on his radio show Everything Co-op with the workshop leader Sheella Mierson.
  • Sociocracy for All has had an active Co-op Circle for over a year now and has produced a “Manifesto for Wholesome Cooperation” and other materials.  
  • Jim Johnson recently gave a short talk on sociocracy for co-ops, at the 2018 International Sociocracy Conference – you can see a video of that here.
  • There is also lots of information on The Sociocracy Consulting Group website.