Sociocracy Thoughts

Sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways

I have become convinced that sociocratic principles – or the philosophy of sociocracy – can be implemented in many ways. As an example, I recently found an interview between Gary Hamel and Terri Kelly, CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates. First thing to note is that Terri Kelly got her job in 2005 through a peer-driven election. The second thing to note is that all decisions at Gore can be challenged by the associates. Here are a few quotes of Terri Kelly from Gary Hamel’s book What Matters Now, pp. 196—199:

“They [the associates] know they have the right to challenge, they have the right to know why this decision is the right one for the company. This puts a tremendous burden on the leader to explain the rationale behind the decision, and to put it in the context of our culture: Why is this fair? Why is it consistent with out beliefs and principles?”

“The process is sometimes frustrating, but we believe that if you spend more time up front, you’ll have associates who are not only fully bought-in, but committed to achieving the outcome. Along the way, they’ll also help to refine the idea and make the decision even better.”

“…we find that once the decision is made, you’d better get out of the way because now you have the whole organization eager to accelerate and execute.”

“If they [the associates] think we’re going in the wrong direction, or believe a decision is wrong, they feel compelled to speak up, and they know our values give them the right to have a voice.”

“We want to make sure that people know they have the authority to make decisions and are responsible for the outcomes.”

“If you want to tap into the whole organization, you have to distribute the responsibility for leadership to the associates who have the relevant knowledge.”

I could go on like this! Gore doesn’t have a power hierarchy since leaders can’t command. Associates can challenge every decision. Furthermore, they can choose their own committments. It’s no wonder that Gore is ranked as one of the “best places to work” wherever it operates. To a traditional manager, Gore’s approach probably seems naive. To me, all this sounds very sociocratic — and inspiring!

Here is an additional example from Russell L. Ackoff on consensus which also sounds very sociocratic.

Related posts:
Sociocracy requires a new mindset
Scrum vs. Sociocracy
Sociocracy is a method, and still it isn’t
Implementing sociocracy without sociocracy
Sociocracy as practiced by the G/wi
Policies vs. agreements
Scaling sociocracy is all about the context
Unspoken sociocratic principles
Cultural dimensions of sociocracy
A prerequisite for sociocracy is a socios
Holacracy vs. sociocracy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?
The big misconception in sociocracy
Is Sociocracy an empty method?

Related posts in Swedish:
Holakrati, holokrati och sociokrati
Hur införa sociokrati i en organisation (del 1)?
Hur införa sociokrati i en organisation (del 2)?
Sociokrati är som permakultur, fast för människor
Sociokrati är som en skogsträdgård
Kurs i kväkarnas beslutsmetod, som sociokrati bygger på
En historisk tillbakablick på kväkarnas beslutsmetod
Sociokratibok: Idag publiceras boken
Några tankar om sociokrati
Min gästblogg på #skolvåren: Att organisera oss rätt

By Jan Höglund

I share my reading, book reviews, and learning in my blog.

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