Team Governance and Working Methods: getting started

Hi Team @reef-governance and working methods!

Sarah and I are heading off to New Zealand on the 15th, which is the end of next week. It would be great if we could have a meeting before then, just to connect as a group and think about what we can do over the summer to move forward. Obviously there are already items on the to-do list, and it shouldn’t be too hard to divide them amongst us, but perhaps I am not alone in wanting to be clearer about exactly what they involve.

It makes sense to have our meetings online, in terms of all our busy lives, but I would be quite happy to have the first meeting in person. It could be at our place, although St Guidon is perhaps not the most central for everyone. It could also be in a cafe or bar, if that is more convenient. Having said all that, I’m not attached to meeting in person if everyone would rather do it over Zoom :slight_smile:

So however we meet, I can be free any time from Sunday to Thursday. I see that some of the other Teams have started an Excel sheet for meeting availability, and maybe that’s something we can discuss setting up, or an alternative method, during the first meeting :slight_smile:


Hi Chris,

Thanks a lot for taking the initiative. I didn’t launch the Governance Team yet, because the other Teams are a bit more urgent, but I understand you are keen to get this one started too.

Would you be willing to take the iniative to set a date? Is there a possibility maybe to do it on Saturday?

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Thanks indeed, Chris!
I’d say that with everything else happening at the same time, a Zoom meeting might be easier for this one. But since we’ll all be there on Saturday at some point, we could also quickly chat about what the tasks will be and how urgent or not they are.
I wouldn’t mind focusing on Building for now :smiley:



Hey there, Thanks for the initiative! I will probably be able to join on Saturday after all so we can look into the tasks then. Otherwise I’m happy to meet in person next week (Tuesday or Wednesday maybe)? See you soon, Sophie

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Understood that this team is less urgent than some of the others at this point. So yes, let’s have a brief chat at the bbq, as we’ll all be there, and perhaps set a day/time next week for a very brief Zoom meeting. I’d like to do one task while I’m away, so it would really just be a matter of identifying which one and being clear about what it involves. See you tomorrow :slight_smile:


I have some notes to draft a post on how I see the most urgent things to be tackled (like I did for the other Teams), but I need a couple more days because I need to prioritise other things first. But it’s on my list for sure.

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Just to reiterate what we established on Saturday, the next steps involve reading up on all the foundational documents etc. (for those of us who didn’t write them :slight_smile: ) and familiarising ourselves with sociocracy and NVC via readings and trainings. I’m back from NZ 19 August, so perhaps we can arrange a meeting in the week or two after that. Have a wonderful summer everyone!


Here are some thoughts on how I see the mission of this Team …

1. About the Team

In my view this Team actually consists of two different sub-Teams:

  • Goverance: these are the sociocracy experts who will be able to provide advice on processes in The Reef (description of subsequent steps to do certain things).
    => Example: the process in the Governance document to get a proposal adopted.
  • Working Methods: these are the collaborative organisation hackers who will come up with solutions for things that don’t go as efficiently as they could go.
    => Example: the item in the Working Methods document to use tingsha bells to get meetings back on track if needed.

For now we mostly need to develop the Governance aspects, so in this post I will focus only on that.

2. Deliverables in the short term

Even if this Team’s deliverables may be a little less urgent, their importance should not be underestimated.

The most visible one that I foresee is the finalisation of the Teams’ structure / the organigram. For this we would need to find an answer to the following questions:

  • Do we stick with the current Team structure, or do we want to make changes?
  • Can we make a clear description of what Teams can decide autonomously?
  • How can we set up a General Circle / Coordination Group in a way that makes sense?
  • Do we go for double-linking from the Teams to the Coordination Group? If not, what other mechanisms can we put in place to achieve the same outcome?
  • Will we do evaluations and performance reviews? If yes, how will we go about this? Do we need to revise Section 5 in the Governance document (on accountability)?

If I could make a wish, at some point I would like to reach the profiiency level of Heartwood Cohousing, where they made a rather detailed description of which Teams do what (see the list of links on the right).

Another small task that would be good if it could be taken up is to define a process for decisions that are taken by written consent.

3. More permanent tasks

For Team Governance I see the following permanent tasks:

  • Taking responsibility for the Governance document, which is a bit like The Reef’s constitution. Tasks include ensuring consistency and making proposals to fix things that don’t work.
  • Making sure that The Reef sticks to sociocracy (or other tools that ensure equivalence and efficiency). Tasks could include making a proposal to select Facilitators, Leaders, a Secretary etc on a regular basis.
  • Taking responsibility for keeping the decision log up-to-date?

4. Learning more

The Reef’s Governance document (internal link - public link) is probably a good thing to keep on your radar.

There are several ways to learn more about sociocracy:

  • “Many voices one song” - Jerry Koch-Gonzalez and Ted Rau (See the “Books and manuals” folder on Nextcloud (or welcome to borrow my copies)) => it’s a substantive books, but it has a lot of pictures, and it’s easy to skip some sections if you are not interested.
  • Webinar on sociocracy in cohousings: it has an interesting section at some point about how one cohousing regularly updated its organigram.
  • The SoFA training on facilitation that I followed recently (which is also a crash course on sociocracy) => see Nextcloud > Learning, … > Training courses
  • SoFA Web page that links to other pages that summarise key concepts
  • SoFA Overview of the trainings they offer
  • The Sociocracy 3.0 manual (die-hards only) => see Nextcloud > Learning, … > Books and manuals

Question / idea: how would you feel about launching a sort of study group together with the people of Team Facilitation (if interested)? We could for example set up 4 online meetings and talk about one chapter of “Many voices one song” in every session?


Just a thought: could this event be of any use to us?

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I truly think all educational events about cohousing are useful, but I have two doubts about this one:

  1. The Reef already has a charte (legal purpose only, for the asb’s statutes > Article 3) and a vision (Blueprint 1.0), so my feeling is we are a bit past that stage
  2. I once attended an event organised by H&P where they got enthusiastic about a “aim, values, objectives and actions” mandala, which concerned me a little because it seemed like a lot of talking with a low return on investment (but that’s really my own humble opinion eh :wink:)
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Hello Team @reef-governance!

Now that everybody is almost back in Belgium, shall we schedule our first meeting?

I created a poll here.

For the agenda my proposal would be to build around some things to be done, which could include:

  • The organigram (see post no 7 above > point 2): how can we get organised as clearly and efficiently as possible?
  • Written consent: can we write up some guidelines so that the process is clear and fool-proof?
  • Small purchases: can we come up with a proposal that allows Teams to make small purchases without having to consult the plenary?
  • Study group: shall we set up a study group among us based on the book “Many voices one song”?
  • Collective training: Team Inclusion launched the idea to set up an online meeting during which we can go through the exercises of the SoFA training on facilitation. Would anybody be willing to take the lead on the facilitation?
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I have filled in the poll, but as this team is not my ‘main’ team, other people should probably be priorised in case there is not a perfect date!

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Ok, based on the information that we have now let’s maybe book a meeting on Tuesday 30 August, and if need be reschedule?


Not yet back in Belgium, but all good for meeting Tuesday 30 :slight_smile:

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Won’t make it that day!

Hello @reef-governance,

I have prepared a draft agenda, but in a pretty vague manner.

Topics I listed for a possible discussion:

  • About this Team
  • Membership process proposal
  • Teams set up + organigram
  • Written consent
  • Small purchases
  • Study group
  • SoFA training
  • Decision log …

Let’s see which ones we want to tackle first and/or whether you would want to add some others?

I also added an online meeting room in the Nextcloud calendar invitation.

See you tonight!

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@Sophie_Beese and @ChrisM,

For the references to the role description of a Team Leader you could have a look at the following sections in the book “Many voices one song”:

  • Section 2.3.1 (p. 34-36) on circle roles
  • Section 3.6 (p. 130-134) on creating and filling roles.


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Thanks @Lee !

And for the record, putting my attention to the ‘Membership process proposal’ is top of my list of things to do tomorrow :slight_smile:

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Hi all!

I’ve had a look at the ‘Membership process proposal’ and made a few comments. I take on board what was said at the last plenary, that we should all be ready to disagree and be critical in terms of the greater good, but that’s going to be hard @Lee if you keep on producing well-written, coherent documents that fulfil the remit of what’s needed :slight_smile:

One thing though, on page 1 it says:

  • Decision-making process: consent from Team Reef (current Full Members)

But actually this proposal will be decided by the consent of full, associate and exploratory members, as we are in this “special” phase before October. I was going to say this as a comment to the actual document on Nextcloud, but I panicked at the last minute :wink:

And a question with regard to the previous point: do people who have not become associate members by October suddenly lose the right to vote at plenaries?

If I’ve understood the process, tomorrow @Sophie_Beese will let the coordination group (on behalf of team governance) know that this proposal is ready to be presented at the next plenary. And then it is my responsibility to present it (@Lee - may need to ask a couple of questions about that at some point).



This is spot-on @ChrisM. I guess it reflects my need for clarity and commitment, and also the fact that I tend to get a bit nervous about membership-related issues. So yes, I guess the answer is “yes, everybody gets to participate in the decision-making”, meaning the “(current Full Members)” part should be scrapped. Works?