How We Govern

Bye, Bye Robert's Rules. Hello, Dynamic Governance!

We use a governing model known as Sociocracy, or Dynamic Governance.  We use this as our rulebook for making decisions and getting work done in a way that’s efficient, inclusive, and effective.  Robert’s Rules is old news. (No offense, Robert!)

Not every person needs to be involved with every decision.  But every decision should have certain people involved.  Clarity about who decides what, and how those decisions are made creates an environment where everyone can bring their best self to the process.

We take our governance seriously because we believe that doing so leads to greater efficiency and more robust decisions and solutions.

A graphic showing the Makers Mill organizational chart as a series of color coded bubbles

Principles and tools of sociocracy

Borrowed from sociocracyforall.org

Organizational structure

  • Small groups are the basis of everything. Those small groups are called circles.
    Those circles have a defined aim (a description of what the circle is doing) and full authority in a domain (what the circle has authority over).
  • Circles will define roles, both to run itself smoothly and to “package” operations into meaningful bits. Any member will fill one or more roles.
  • Linking roles connect circles to other related circles. In double-linking, two people from one circle – the delegate and the leader – are also full members of the parent circle so information can flow between the teams and their decisions align.

Decision making and rounds

  • Circles make policy decisions by consent. There is consent to a proposal when no member of the circle has an objection. By definition, objecting requires that a circle member has reason to assume that circle cannot achieve its aim adequately if the circle approves the proposal. In other words, any circle member can flag an issue in a proposal and make sure the circle improves the proposal before passing it.
  • At the same time, circles use consent to elect people into roles like the circle leader, secretary, facilitator or a self-defined operational role. The intention is that only people serve in offices who have the trust of all their coworkers.
  • A circle will decide by consent what topics they put on their agenda and how much time they spend on each topic.
  • Rounds: a trademark tool for meetings, rounds refer to the practice of talking one-by-one in meetings until everyone has spoken once in that round. The intention is to hear all voices. At the same time, rounds contribute to more mutual listening and understanding.

Continuous improvement

A set of practices supports the general commitment for continuous improvement of the organization. Examples are performance reviews, meeting evaluations ,or a requirement to set review dates for policies. The intention is for these agreements to be lived and maintained well.

Intentional spaces for feedback encourage a commitment to growth and learning through feedback, both on the organizational level, team, and individual level.

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