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Distributed authority

  • People fill roles with defined mandates (purpose plus domain plus accountabilities).
  • They have full authority to make decisions and to take action within that mandate.
  • When making a decision from their role, people are responsible for seeking input from those with experience in the area or those affected by it.

Self-Organising circles

  • Each circle (or team) has its own mandate and can define and refine its roles.
  • For large roles, the circle may create a sub-circle, which will in turn self-organise.
  • This circle structure widens out to the Anchor Circle which contains all circles.
  • Consent and linking ensure that no individual has power over another, and mitigate the negative features of a hierarchical structure.
  • Each level of the structure is slightly further removed from the mandate and takes a broader view regarding resource use, purpose, and priorities.

Linking structure

  • External coordinators attend meetings of super-circles as equal members.
  • This gives every sub-circle equal power to raise objections during decision-making in the wider circle, if they create or change roles.

How power is decentralised

  • Authority is distributed into roles and circles using a collective decision-making process.
  • Mandates empower roles to make operational decisions.
  • To add or change a role or (sub)circle, a member presents a proposal to resolve an issue, referred to as a tension, and each member of the circle has the opportunity to object.
  • Objections are encouraged, as they represent important information that can be integrated to improve the proposal, before it is either accepted or withdrawn.
  • The aim is to develop a workable proposal which allows movement forward.
  • The decision can be revisited later on. It doesn’t have to be perfect first time.

Radical transparency

  • The roles and circles should be kept up-to-date and visible for all.
  • This allows every member to discover the structure and to contact whoever they need to when making decisions day-to-day.
  • Minutes, projects, and other relevant documents should also be transparent, so that the whole organism has insight into the history of each part.