I'm a semi-retired information technology and software development executive and project manager. When I left corporate America eight years ago, I was cynical about the future. I had observed how typical top-down companies disengaged their employees; I had experienced the gordian knot of bureaucracy when working on government contracts; and was painfully aware of how creativity was institutionally thwarted at every turn.
In the interim from that time until now, I have searched for better techniques to foster cooperation. I have volunteered to lead IT teams in a number of non-profits and sought avenues to solve the problems of corporate and organizational stagnation. Last year I began a personal investigation of why organizations with lofty visions to improve the world (nonprofits, b-corps, social impact corps, NGO) fail to collaborate effectively. I interviewed 100 business and thought leaders and posed that question to them. I learned much about the challenges and how extraordinary groups overcome them.
I uncovered many alternative organizational structures and practices that have potential to enhance group dynamics and create community. I was very lucky to stumble across Governance Alive and their particular approach to organizational and community interactions/decision making/and management.
I believe that Sociocracy is one of the solutions to this intractable broken hierarchy, to the polarization of our discourse, and to the enlivening of community. After attending Module One of the training system of Governance Alive's Sociocracy Principles and Practices, my optimism has been revitalized. The principles of Sociocracy are simple on the surface and amazingly profound as you engage them. Equivalency and Consent are powerful words, but the connotation and depth of meaning ascribed to them in the Governance Alive program increases their profundity.
John Buck's amazing breadth of experience in systems engineering, agile software design, and creative group dynamics adds so much to the already strong and intuitive content of the course. I immediately resonated with the premise that what is missing from typical corporate structures is a multi-layered feedback system in which knowledge and innovation can be returned to decision makers. The class content was sprinkled with many 'aha' moments for me about business, emotional savvy, and the subtle means to build a team and tap their intelligence. The members of my particular co-hort were an amazing group of change agents from many countries and many disciplines and the interactive nature of the exercises brought additional insights to me.
If you are interested in how to change the way communities, businesses, teams, and civic environment work, I can think of few more impactful approaches than Governance Alive's. While this training program is somewhat new to the scene, I think the expertise of the team, the powerful content, and the emphasis on interactive practice will continue to make this program impactful for changing our broken organization cultures.