While doing some research on governance issues for cohousings, I came across a cohousing in Colorado called Heartwood, which has such transparent and inspiring agreements that I would like to create a short post about it.
A couple of notes:
- Heartwood exists since more than 20 years, so in terms of delegation of power and having figured things out they play in a different league, but that doesn’t make their way of working less inspiring.
- They don’t officially refer to it, but de facto they use a lot of the concepts of Sociocracy 3.0, for example the way they give “full authority” to their teams.
- Compared to other cohousings’ set-ups that I have seen, they are remarkably formal (which I believe is a strength).
- They use the term “consensus-based decision-making” for what is defined as “consent-based decision-making” in Sociocracy 3.0. The difference is that consensus aims at full agreement, while consent aims at no fundamental objections.
That being said, these are a couple of things that I think are worth checking out when we are refining our own vision and governance documents:
- A collection of all Heartwood’s Agreements, going from their vision, to membership to finance and education etc.
- An overview on how their Teams work (responsibility, authority, leadership, membership, list of their teams, …).
- An example of the Process and Communication Team’s definition and mandate.
- A short list with the definition of their values.
- An overview page with all of the community’s decision logs (i.e. minutes / conclusions from general assembly meetings).
- An entire page filled with the community’s resources (see e.g. the Facilitation Tools “manual”)
Maybe a bit overwhelming at times and we don’t need to agree with everything they do, but in my view they deserve a big kudos for being so thorough on governance and documenting.