Sociocracy Academy 2020

Why this Academy?

Sociocracy and other forms of decentralized governance have received an increased level of interest in the past years.

Many people are questioning the ways of command-and- control and are longing for different ways of working together.

The “self-management journey”, however, is hard to travel alone.

A transition to decentralized collaboration requires knowledge, skills and a mindset that many of us are just stepping into. This makes perfect sense - we’re collectively leaving behind the command-and-control culture we have been accustomed with, without really knowing what the new ways look like. Leaders are often lonely and in need for exchange and more learning with others.

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Brandon Washington D.C

"This was the most immersive, intensive educational experience outside of school that has helped me grow."
Brandon, Washington D.C.

What is the Academy?

The Academy consists of three learning opportunities that complement each other:

Learning:
Free access to 100+ hours of
online classes a year.

Topics include advanced facilitation, typical issues in implementation, how to plan and run performance reviews, meeting evaluations, how to resolve conflict, how to integrate objections.

ca. 12 hours/month

Peer groups:
The Sociocracy Academy includes membership in a community of practice.

In small groups, everyone can be known and heard. Participants can build deep relationships and a history with each other. Find groups based on interests, skill level or location. 

ca. 6 hours/month

Mentoring:
A customized learning path of
each participant.

With your mentor, you can think and reflect about what you’ve learned and how it applies to your context. How do you implement? Where can you find resources? What’s your next challenge and how can you go about it?

ca. 2 hours/month

Who is the Sociocracy Academy for?

The ideal learner is someone who has done introductory and possibly intermediate training in sociocracy and wants to step up their game, either in implementing and using sociocracy, or as a trainer and consultant.

Most of the participants in the previous cohort are/were consultants and practioners of sociocracy. Many started to teach sociocracy and consult during their Academy year.

The Academy is useful for poeple

  1. introducing sociocracy (or parts of it) in their own organization AND/OR
  2. introducing sociocracy (or parts of it) in other organizations.

Badges - all your skills at a glance

Badges are an acknowledgment of real world skills and a learning map that you can use them for self-motivation and monitoring your learning.

You receive a badge after you have acquired, practiced and demonstrated a skill. This could, for example, be to facilitate a selection process in different contexts (with multiple roles, online, in person etc). The badge is defined by a description of the skill and the measurement of the skill acquired (depending on the skill, this can be self-evaluation forms, evaluation forms from the people attending, e.g. participants in your selection process, or evaluation by an observer). 

In 2020, the first 11 badges (for practitioner level) will be achieved together. Later, the participant’s peers will review the evaluations and issue the badge. 

The full description of badges and checklists are available in this document.

Time and money

How much time per week?

There are no limits to learning. The more time you invest, the more you will get out of it.
In order to get substantial value out of the resources offered, plan at least 12 hours a month of workshops, community of practice and journaling. You will always be able to pace yourself.

How to apply

  • Make a date to talk with the program director, Ted Rau.
    We think that talking is the best way to get to know each other. In this 30 min video call, Ted will ask you about your experience with sociocracy (and related frameworks), and you can ask your questions.
    Either in this conversation or in a separate conversation before December 15, we will also determine your tuition based on your situation. 
  • We'd ask for a decision on your side by December 15. 

 

Tuition

We estimate that the market value of a year of training of this quality is about $6,000 per year. Sociocracy For All’s mission is to make sociocracy affordable to anyone. To us, this means that everyone pays what they can, depending on their individual situation. Everyone will need to stretch a little to make it work, just as the Academy staff is striving to put on amazing learning opportunities. The final decision on your individual tuition will be made in a consent decision with our enrollment coordinator in a video call.

The enrollment coordinator will work with these guidelines:

  • for-profits/consultants: $5000/year
  • non-profits and cooperatives: $2500/year
  • Individuals: $500-1500/year (sliding scale depending on cost of living in your region)

Payments can be made in 2 installments. Of the total sum, a downpayment of $100 is required to start the program.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

I want to implement sociocracy in my organization. How will this help me?

In our most preferred model of introducing sociocracy in an organization, a few key people in the organization are trained deeply and are able to support and maintain the implementation in the organization. They are experts and trainers at the same time. You will know to run sociocratically. You will learn how to interact with the people who struggle with concepts of self-management, you will learn to spot typical issues in implementations and you will be able to support  facilitators in your organization. For your support, you will also have your mentor who will help you think through your role in the transition and next steps towards a successful implementation, plus the peer support to hear other people’s perspective. Self-management can’t be introduced by an outside consultant -- but having companionship and access to support along the way makes it much easier.

This approach also pays off financially. Paying a trainer to train all your staff in a 3-day workshop typically costs about $2,500 plus travel, and ongoing coaching to implement and course-correct easily costs another $2,500 per year. With a “homegrown” expert that is trained well and connected in the Academy, you can have ongoing support by someone who knows your organization well for about the same amount.

 

How is the Academy organized? Who decides what?

The Academy is organized entirely sociocratically with staff and with a voice for each stakeholder - including students and coaches.

Badges are approved by the Communities practice - the group of peers. The “Superpod” makes decisions about bundles of badges. That way, it the people who learn together and know each other well who make the relevant decisions with each other.

All circles are double-linked: that means that members of each community of practice form the “superpod”. Someone from the Academy Circle attends meetings of the Superpod (with consent rights), and someone from the Superpod attends Academy Circle meetings. The same pattern of mutual influence and shared decision-making applies everywhere else: students’ and mentors run their own domain and can co-create how the Academy is run, with full transparency and open feedback lines about policy, budgeting and all other matters.

To those with only theoretical experience in self-management, even just being part of the structure of the Academy will be a learning experience in itself!

I want to become a (better) sociocracy trainer. How does this help me?

Whether you are giving workshops yet or not, the Academy provides plenty of opportunity to grow. You can deepen your conceptual understanding of sociocracy in workshows, exchange training designs with your peers, talk through your personal growth as a trainer with your coach.

The mentors available in the Academy have taught sociocracy for years and can help you become an effective trainer.

If teaching is your focus and you are already a skilled facilitator, you can get confirmation of your skills by documenting your expertise with badges, while getting useful feedback on the way and building a solid and credible portfolio to advertise your training.

 

I want to include sociocracy in my consultancy. How does this help me?

You are already consulting with businesses and you want to include self-governance in your repertoire. The huge advantage of the Academy for you will be the connection to other experienced consultants who have seen many implementations, tell their stories and can give you a picture of the typical struggles. Since the Academy itself is running sociocratically, you will also be able to gain some first-hand experience of what it’s like to operate in a sociocratic organization. Besides giving you a solid foundation, a workshops format particularly of interest to you might be exclusive “ask me anything” sessions with experienced practitioners and consultants. The Academy acts like a marketplace of experiences and networks, all accessible to you.

 

Can I pick a mentor?

Every SoFA member can be your mentor. It makes sense to pick someone who has more experience than you. You can ask anyone to mentor you as long as that person has first-hand experience with sociocracy and joins SoFA and the mentor circle as a member. All mentors are part of the mentor circle to ensure that mentors have a place to reflect on how best to help you. The mentor circle double-linked to the operational Academy Circle to make sure that insights of mentors can give impulses for programming and for  improvement of how the Academy is run.

 

What "school" of sociocracy do you teach?

Traditionally, Sociocracy For All had been open to all schools of sociocracy, which includes SCM, wider interpretations of sociocracy, Sociocracy 3.0. Of course, every organization has their own style. We have been influenced by holacracy, agile, non-violent communication, other forms of communication and the long history of non-violence. That said, we are deliberately open to all non-dogmatic styles of the sociocracies. We think that mastering your tools and being open to learning and adjusting is more important than "purity". We also acknowledge that every human being will create their own mix, depending on their context, style, values, experiences - and it's that personal ownership and pluralism while having a shared basis so we understand each other enough to learn from each other that will strengthen the movement of self-management. 

Is there certification at the end?

We will give you a certification at the end of 1 year of being in the Sociocracy Academy if all your documentation (badges, journal incl. essay questions, performance review documents) are complete. It will reflect the badges earned, and the workshops attended. For some contexts, having a proof like “certification” is valuable. Much more valuable than that, however, will be your skills and your journal that can serve as a basis for a public portfolio. That’s why we put our focus on creating an environment where you can get a lot of experience fast so you are ready to make impact in the world.

This program is interlinked with a new International Sociocracy Certification Board for consultants, an effort Sociocracy For All is participating in. We can support participants who start out with solid sociocracy experience and gain hands-on implementation experience during the Academy year to work towards this certification during the Academy year.

Example topics for online classes

  • Advanced facilitation, with practice
  • Integrating objections
  • Power Analysis
  • Implementing sociocracy in business/communities/cooperatives
  • Sociocracy in schools - what’s there to learn?
  • Reflective listening and NVC for meeting facilitation
  • Performance reviews
  • How to define operational roles (role descriptions)
  • Meeting agendas for progress in your circle
  • Leadership and self-management
  • Generating proposals

The duration/frequency of each workshop depends on the topic and ranges between a 3-12 hours.
Note: we are aware that other commitments might make it impossible to attend every workshop. Basic workshops are repeated on a regular basis (and offered in different time zones and different bilingual support). Specific events are always recorded and transcribed.

The Journal:

The core piece of work is reflected in the journal of every participant.

The journal lives in the cloud and is maintained by the participant (in English, Spanish or German). Mentor and peers from the pod will read and comment in some sections of the journal. It includes:

  • 20 short essays on foundational knowledge of sociocracy
  • Documentations of the badges earned
  • Ideas and reflections/documentation of conversations with the mentor

You can see a sample document.