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Friday, July 8 • 9:30am - 5:30pm
Self-Governance: Walking The Talk in Our Organizations and Movements

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BEFORE ADDING THIS NETWORK GATHERING TO YOUR SCHEDULE, PLEASE NOTE: Registration for network gatherings is not included in general conference registration.  In order to attend a network gathering you must register for it through eventbrite.  

Does the way you are organized and make decisions match your values? Is there a system of organization and decision making...

  • that is more effective and scalable than consensus?

  • that delivers greater equality than majority rule democracy?

  • that delivers products and services efficiently in any sector - businesses, cooperatives, nonprofits, and social change organizations?

Many nonprofits talk the talk of shared power but internally still operate with a traditional top-down hierarchy. Within the New Economy, we have a number of ways of creating ownership: workers, producers, employees, and consumers. But many of us are still struggling to accompany ownership with effective participatory governance based on egalitarian principles. Similarly, many social change organizations promote equality but internally, they still suffer from unhealthy power dynamics.

What is the alternative?

In this network gathering we will explore a variety of aspects of governance: meeting dynamics, facilitation, decision-making processes, and organizational structures. What are the power of personalities and the communication challenges we each bring with us? What is the power of the facilitator role? Does the hierarchy of our organization match our values? What is the relationship between absence/presence of hierarchy and responsibility and accountability? If what Gerard Endenburg said, "Behavior is determined by the prevailing form of decision making" is true, then what are the impacts of decision making by consensus and by majority vote?

In the first half of the day we will present a model approach to self-governance that redesigns traditional organizational decision making, transforms ownership structure, and offers a vision of society based on cooperation. Through verbal, visual,and hands-on demonstrations and exercises, participants will be guided through experiences of organizational design, consent decision-making, and open selection of people to leadership roles. This model approach is known as Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance. (For more information see http://sociocracyconsulting.com and http://sociocracy.info).

In the second half of the day, we will ask participants to share the decision making process and structure of their organizations. We will examine these in relation to the model of sociocracy and other frames such as policy governance. And we will explore avenues towards more effectively matching our values and our practice.

If your organization is not egalitarian, this gathering will give you a vision of what is possible. If your organization says it is egalitarian but struggles to fulfill its promise, this workshop will offer practical skills and an approach that will help realize the dream. Time to walk the talk.

Who should come? Anyone interested in shared leadership including worker-owners, social change activists, nonprofit staff and board members, and members of New Economy organizations. This gathering will be useful and accessible to participants with varying levels of experience.

This network gathering is open to all CommonBound registrants. For more information, please contact outreach@both-and.net.


  • Jerry Koch-Gonzalez (Class Action)

Friday July 8, 2016 9:30am - 5:30pm EDT
Ketchum Hall 118