Which circles where needed was clear, not yet who would lead and represent what circle, and what would that entail? What was a circle anyway in the first place? The more we looked at the organizational architecture as we called it, the more we noticed the gaps.
We formed a work group with the specific objective to clarify, present, and implement the operational architecture, to the central co-op work-group. This was myself, a psychology, buddhist meditation and antroposophic business BA drop-out from Germany/US/DK, our MA in Advertising turned gardener Sergio from Catalonia, Mathilde, our swiss/belgian literature and sociology MA graduate turned project manager with a flair for documentation, Falk, our German detail-oriented doer with an insistence on getting tech to work, and Kasper the cook and part-time programmer with a lot of questions, which everyone asked themselves, but not out loud.
We identified what needed to be done by the next meeting, and at that next meeting Pol turned up with a draft of 5 points he had defined for the Garden Circle: 1. The aim, 2. The elections of the lead, representative, and Secretary, 3. the internal communication of that circle 4. the budgets, 5. something
We gave the homework to have each circle to first define their aim, then to elect, then to sketch the internal communication and finally to hash out their budgets. We went ahead with the elections etc. yet this should have been presented to the main co-op work-group as a proposal which was to be consented to or objected to.
Kasper had to get on the same page with Tabda, his German kitchen circle member, who barely spoke English and did not care much for meetings and paperwork. He ended up merging his draft with the draft of Tabda and elections took place with only two circle members, which was questioned in hindsight. I put some pressure on to have the elections done, so that the roles were to defined in the kitchen. Who had the responsibility?
Mathilde for some reason ended up writing up the 5 point definition documents for most of the circles. Probably because she did not believe anything would happen unless she took into her own hands. They only had to be modified by their circle members. One by one over a period of a couple of months were the roles elected and power struggles surprisingly, at least to me, seized to exist to the same degree as they had been. Who had the lead was clear, and how was clear too. At least within the frame we had defined ourselves, heavily inspired by sociocracy 3.0.
The garden circle already had organic roles which seemed to work, and the circle members did not see why they should wear the cloak of a sociocratic system, when their system was working organically. We somehow came to the conclusion´that these formalities would make it easier for the garden circle to relate to the other circles, and they went through the elections.
It was not that easy to get everyone together in a general circle (GC) once the leads and reps. had been elected. It took several weeks with that meeting being postponed once or twice. We managed to define the aim of the circle relatively quickly. Once the elections of the GC were to take place a friend of the founder came by and disrupted the meeting by asking one of the circle members to talk to him. A dispute arose with the friend of the founder and the rest of the circle members for his violent communication and disrespectful behavior. This meeting ended up with electing the GC representative.
Only at the next meeting a couple of weeks later was I elected as lead of the GC, which again changed my position in relation to the owner. I felt more respect and that my position was legitimate.
The Rep. and I as lead of the GC took part in board meetings. Requesting what we needed from the board: representation in the board.
We got back that a good fence makes a good neighbor and we were asked to define the operations further in relation to the owner and through what instruments we would play.
I’m not sure if this is how it was supposed to be, but we insisted on implementing this sociocatic framework for our operations. None of us had much experience with organizational development and I mostly just copied what I, or the others had read in a book or through the internet.
So yes, less power struggles. An attempt at harnessing the collective intelligence, all voices. To trust in synergies and that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.