Consensus began with a small group of workers trying to support our families. We already knew that we worked well together. We had good rapport and a healthy trust, and good client work to dig into. The moniker of Consensus was easy, at first.
As we added members to the team, we increased capacity, excited by how much more we could accomplish. At the same time, we faced some known challenges with scaling consensus-driven decision-making. Nothing catastrophic, but we knew something had to shift, if only to save us from meeting hell!
We also recognized a growing disconnect between our corporate structure and the culture of team collaboration. Some of us are both Directors and Employees, and thus responsible for some kinds of decisions inherently.
With these things in mind, we’ve recently adopted Sociocracy as a governance model, and set in motion a plan to convert our traditionally-structured corporation to a worker-owned co-operative. Read on for more details about this journey.
Our journey to sociocracy is eloquently expressed by our own Seonaid Lee, and you are encouraged to read it.
Functionally, sociocracy means that we divide ourselves into Circles, (eg. Delivery, Operations, and Business Developent). Each Circle is empowered with a mandate to act autonomously within a specific domain. Circle members work toward the broader aims of the company, building consensus within their scope.
A General Circle coordinates between the circles to support information sharing and answer “who decides who decides” questions.
In 2022 we are transitioning our company from a standard Corporation to a Co-operative, to better align our legal structure with our governance model and the way we operate.
Joining the team doesn’t necessarily require becoming a full Member of the co-op. We typically start with a contract to see if we work well together, and if mutually agreeable we formally hire employees to increase our level of commitment.
From there, we hope to provide an on-ramp (and compelling reasons) for workers who are interested to formally own the company they work for. Much of this is still incubating, so if this seems exciting to you, get in touch!