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Efficient consent based decision making in action

By Abigail Handley, 15 Oct 2020

I felt compelled to show-off a bit here. The last couple of weeks has seen a flurry of proposal making and doing here at Outlandish and I wanted to share what has been passed to show how incredibly efficient this process can be.

Read this post first if you want to find out what consent based decision making actually is!

Below is a list of the proposals passed in 2 hours of Outlandish life…

Outlanders & Members Circle Thursday 10th October:

Proposals passed:

Loan for a member who had a sudden personal bill land

  • Agreed to pay back in 12 monthly instalments starting from next month
  • Passed in 5 mins

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Amend our policy on buying equipment for members for work purposes

  • Original proposal was to have a specific budget for an office chair due to working from home. Through the process we simplified and grew the proposal to be at member’s discretion and to apply for anything that is needed for comfortable office working from home. Policy update out of a single use case. Win win.
  • Proposal took 8 mins to pass
lime green cafe chair out on some tram tracks

Picture by John Schaider from UnSplash

Signed off investing in the Building OUT stream of work through to end of December

  • Pete Burden, Aaron, Doug & Abi have been working to develop the single Sociocracy 101 workshop to be a more full service of workshops, coaching, facilitation and events. See the next set of proposals for the sorts of activity that is happening below.
  • An important strategic direction for Outlandish as it is diversifying from straight up development work and crossing over with client work, Space 4 work and our internal ways of communicating and building teams. The deliverable for the quarter is: What is the business model for this to become a sustainable part of Outlandish’s work?
  • Passed in 15 minutes

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Agreement in principle to make an offer on an office space above Space 4

  • Our current office space in 149 Fonthill Rd in Finsbury Park is up for redevelopment and so we have been told our lease will be up by the end of Feb (sob)
  • Polly brought a proposal in that she didn’t expect to pass as a way of getting a temperature check on where we were all at
  • It ended up being clear that although things had changed over the last 6 months, we still wanted to have an office space to deliver some of our work (particularly Space 4 workshops, events and our commitment to delivering workshops as Outlandish too).
  • This led to the proposal being restated and passing – surpassing Polly’s expectations! Hopefully we will be moving in there in 3 months time…
  • Passed in 15 mins

Photo by Sam Marx on Unsplash

Building OUT working group meeting Friday 9th October (1 hour):

A weekly meeting to update on progress and to prioritise tasks over the next week

Proposals passed:

Change the meeting time to the day before at midday (weekly)

  • so no great shakes here, but sometimes lining up calendars can be ummmm time-consuming.
  • Passed within 5 mins, I get my no meeting Fridays back, we all win.

Photo by Simon on Unsplash

Use Trello to manage and prioritise tasks

  • There is lots to our Building OUT strand of work and so keeping all the balls in the air is tricksy. The project team is still forming and so these sorts of things are still being agreed
  • Passed on the cuff as a simple suggestion to have a go – in less than 5 mins (everyone has experienced an endless discussion about which tool to use for X thing in meetings no? None of that here)

Photo by Ferenc Horvath on Unsplash

To publish a MVP ‘playbook’ page on the Outlandish site high-lighting Building OUT linked resources

  • Creating a new brand or stream of work can and does take lengthy discussions and thinking. What is best to do now? what are we trying to achieve in the future? etc etc. But one of Outlandish’s values is ‘doer’. We prefer to give something a go, make a mistake and correct rather than spend lots of time trying to mitigate us making a mistake in the first place. Of course all within the parameters of us not putting our business at risk, our people at risk, humans at risk or potentially stopping us meeting our goal.
  • Doug from We Are Open has been working with us to start thinking about how to productise some of our work (we mostly build bespoke projects for individual clients). He has been thinking how to market and talk about the work we are doing within Building OUT and off the cuff created a draft page to experiment with what this could look like. He came to the meeting just to show us and get some reactions. We ended up somewhat strong-arming him into proposing that he publishes it and we work from there
  • We noticed Doug’s reaction to our potential strong-arming (he is relatively new to our ways of working) – that there is pressure to really DO something. He reflected he thought he might be judged by making a proposal and so was reticent to just go for it. This was really great to notice – our culture is to search for proposals so things can be acted on and that can come across as pressured. It is important that people have psychological safety to be able to make proposals and be ok with there being honesty about them. This is something that takes time to grow.
  • This was passed in 15 mins. Its a work in progress and we are going to do some testing and iterating on the content before we start to market and push it out. Here is where it is at right now.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

So what?

Reading those through, I suppose they might seem simple and there might be a reaction of ‘so what?’ but what isn’t evident in the description of the exact proposals are the benefits that the person or people asking for the change now know:

a) everyone who should know about it now does

b) they have had a chance to check it is important and to raise concerns they have

c) it is documented as a decision openly and transparently and

d) it is expected to be done. Those decisions will result in action.

Outlandish people are do-ers and when you get a proposal passed in Outlandish, stuff happens. Its pretty cool.

Consent based decision making is a key principle of Sociocracy and Outlandish have been using the principles for 6 years. We run public courses to explore the decision making process yourself. Come along and find out more.