a new way to work together
It is true that each of us can make a difference in changing our world, and I believe there is more potential to create change when working together as teams, groups, organizations and communities, fuelled by each other's creativity, inspired by each other's passion. However, in working together, there is also greater potential for power struggles, inefficient decision-making, and stimulation of personal wounds from the past, leaving people discouraged, bored, defensive, and resentful.
How can we effectively work together to create a peaceful and sustainable world and strengthen our bonds while doing so? Many social change movements and progressive businesses that are rooted in values of equality, non-violence, and sustainability falter or fall apart because they lack a powerful, compassionate and effective communication process and governance system: fundamental pieces needed for working through challenges while staying connected and inspired.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication is in the process of implementing a governance system which they believe will more effectively help them create their vision of a world where everyone's needs are valued, and peacefully met. This very inspiring governance system is called Dynamic Self-Governance or Sociocracy, and I believe it is at the evolutionary forefront of governance systems.
Dynamic Self-Governance comes to us from Holland where it was developed by Kees Boeke and Gerard Endenburg. Kees Boeke was the director of the Workplaats Kindergemeenschap - The Children's Community Workshop, a school based on Quaker Principles. Gerard was a graduate of that school and went on to study systems thinking and cybernetics. In looking at the systems that humans were working under, he was not able to find one that mirrored the elegance and efficacy of the systems found in the natural world. And so he took his experiences from Boeke's school and his knowledge of systems thinking and cybernetics and created Dynamic Governance.
Gerard's father, a political activist who advocated for social reform, gave him his first opportunity to try his new governance system. He challenged him to take over a small failing electrical company that he owned and make it profitable while still honouring worker's rights. Gerard turned the company around in a year and continued to develop a governance system that had consent decision-making (an innovative decision-making process that Gerard developed by borrowing from his knowledge of technical sciences), policy-making circles for each level or department of the organization, double-linking of circles so that information flowed from top to bottom and from bottom to top, and consent for selecting leadership and other roles. Gerard also developed a clear and open system for Leading, Doing, and Measuring, which allowed for much improved accountability, adaptability, trust and growth. Every person working for Gerard's company belonged to a circle and had a voice in company policy and direction. This resulted in greater profit, greater access to everyone's intelligence and creativity, and greater commitment from everyone to the shared goals and vision of the company.
Since that first success, Gerard has spent over thirty-five years fine tuning and further developing Dynamic Self-Governance. The first English book on Dynamic Governance, WE THE PEOPLE: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, was published in the spring of 2007.
I have great hope that Dynamic Self-Governance is a system that can support us to work together to create inspired change in our world, and it is my dream that we will be among the first in Canada to flourish under this system