Category Archives: Sociocracy

A process of dynamic governance with consent.

Control and Command to distributed Authority with Holacracy

At the moment I am living and contributing at Ahimsagram in Jaipur, which began as a community space for people with a shared desire to live, learn and Share NVC and collaborative systems like sociocracy and holacracy , while living sustainably. We began in April 2017 with Sociocracy as our governance system and now are moving to  Holacracy as a method for our governance, or rather we are in a live Holacracy ‘Experiment’ right now.  I am not sure how well it will work but as of now its promising as well as super challenging at the same time. Its supposed to be a system which encourages distribution of authority and does not have managers who manage people but each person has a domain and accountability which is meant to be clearly spelt out and they take charge of their decisions, while being connected to the common vision and purpose of the organisation.


Introducing Holacracy is a tedious process and it does not have to happen all in one go, as we move on we naturally face problems, which in Holacracy is referred to as a ‘tension’ – a gap between what you want and where you are. It’s like an eco-system where the feedback moves within and among organisms(plants, animals, humans, elements of nature) and each part responds to the shifts by doing what they are meant to do. There is on one boss in a forest which directs the forest but still things move on, with each entity as a managing themselves in accordance with the shared purpose and make the system resilient. It’s because it is in the DNA of the entity or being to meet the overall purpose by taking care of their particular roles and accountabilities.

Creating our social DNA

Now, when humans have to organise in organisations and businesses, we don’t have a DNA like the being in the forest which allows us to know and do our accountability or in others words have underdeveloped systems for collaboration. This is because our ideas of what’s possible and what’s not has been shaped by the belief systems of the society. If we live in fear we want to hide things and share it selectively, we assume that people are not to be trusted so we want to control and as well as  command the whole situation and not letting people act out their own roles with their power and creativity which stops them from growing. I have learnt that if we want to create collaborative organisation, the leaders have to unlearn their desire to save the organisation by jumping in at each crisis and attempting to fix it. As a founder of this space I have unneccesary done a lot of it, by taking the role of saviour and jump into every fight and force a solution rather than let the fight evolve so that the participants find their own answers with the given content and processes.It is important to create a systems where tensions can be harvested at the earliest. This way the person who experiences a tension comes forward to solve it. I am now learning that we can have a great dynamic growth if we can hold the space for tensions and let people take charge of their tensions. It reminds me of Dominic who intiaited the Restorative Circles process in Brazil uses the phrase “unravelling the gift of conflict”.


Yet at the same time it takes time to set up the system and every one falls back into the standard patterns of centralised command and control organisation, either as an authority or as a receiver.If a farmer is doing chemical farming for 20 to 30 years  and then they start doing something totally new, like creating an eco-system of farming,  it needs work to create a different atmosphere and processes. In Organic farming, the farmer began’s to rely on different elements of nature to let them do their role and begins to collaborate with them. The ants, bats, snakes and owls are seen as friends and entrusted to do their job. When we use chemical farming the first intervention is to put fertilisers which makes the soil acidic and kills all life which was earlier fertilising the soil. As a result when there is no living beings the whole job of fertilising is now to be done by more inputs from the farmer each year.  So when I came from a traditional control and command system, I wanted to make sure everything works perfect, there was a fear of failure so I became a ‘perfectionist’ in my own way, raising the bar for myself and making my own life difficult and some time that of others also even more painful.Instead of reling on the inherent creative potential the control and comand manager tends to impose their methods which distance the team members from taking initiative and as a result the manager has to put more and more inputs just as a farmer using chemical fertilizers has to increase the inputs each year. I do see that there were some met needs like we did ‘achieve’ a lot by having control and command energy but it seems some people stopped initiating things or worst is they came from past where there initiative was mocked or criticised so they were scared to come up with ideas, or it was not part of their agenda to trust themselves. So the so called people in power and those disempowered had set roles. Holacracy tries to break these roles in a way it has a  spirit of communism in action for me at this moment, may be tomorrow I might have a different opinion of it.

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So there is something in the system where, which Quakers  thought that everybody has the divine light, and that’s another kind of spirituality that we are talking about that every human being has the ‘anhad’, the unbounded potential and how can we have systems like, every seed has the same power to meet its purpose of life.

In this each element and player has a role, Like tagore said that freedom cannot happen to just one flower, the whole garden or forest has to bloom then there is freedom. Holacratic systems by setting up such process which bring in equivalence and transparency along with movement of feedbacks and distributed authority is also able to create an effective system. I am seeing the taste of this effectiveness and ease at moments and yet the challenge of learning, introducing and parcticing now processes which call for new habits and patterns. I will later on draw a comaparison between our control and command belief systems and habits with those that we need to bring in our lives to make systems like Holacracy work.

To know more about Holacracy go to

Thanks to Parul agarwal and Hemshree Jain for organising the Blog Post.


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Filed under Co and Supporting Facilitators for NVC Workshops, holacracy, Natural Farming, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), NVC, Sociocracy, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Sociocracy At Jaipur

A consent based decision making system – 4 to 8 May, 2016

When we work in communities, organizations, businesses & political parties we all seek-
-A spirit of co-creation, co-responsibility and collective ownership of the decision-making.
-Efficiency in our tasks and Jobs.
-Communication and integration between different parts of our organization.
-Full transparency with safety and trust between team members.

Sociocracy is a design system that makes these goals reachable. Its dynamic governance principles and consent based decision making processes involve every one in the organization’s decision-making processes; their voices matter equally. It is inspired by the Quakers, Cybernetics and Nature’s way of maintaining balance. It was developed in The Netherlands, first at an alternate school where the children’s learning space was governed in the spirit of partnership, and later at an electrical engineering company set up as an intentional management science laboratory. For-profit corporations, NGOs, schools, religious groups, communities, and networks in Europe, North and South America, and a few places in Oceania, Africa and Asia, including India, now successfully use it.

We will be having a five day workshop from May 4th TO 8th , 2016 at Jaipur. Since the concept is new for some people we have decided to offer two introductory talks on it in different parts of the city so people can get a taste of it and make an informed choice about attending the five day workshop. These introductory sessions are free and there is no entry contribution to it.

April 6th, 2016 from 5 pm to 7.30 pm at Startup Oasis – RIICO Software Complex,
EPIP, Sitapura Industrial Area,
Jaipur- 302022, Rajasthan (India)

April 11th 2016, 5 pm to 7.30 pm at B-234 Janta Colony, Adarsh Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan (Near Pink Square Mall)

About the Facilitator: Shammi Nanda has been working on Nonviolent Communication(NVC) and sharing it all over India for the last five years. He has been searching for systems and processes which can allow genuine collaboration in our organisations and found Sociocracy as the most effective and inclusive system. For the last two years. He has been learning and sharing Sociocracy in his communities and is passionate about bringing it to the people in South Asia. He has worked with John Buck who and has been working on Sociocracy for the last 3 decades. Shammi and John are working with people from varied areas of interest and regions of Inida to form a Sociocracy India Network. John is founder of the The Sociocratic Consulting Group(TSCG) in US, which will be now supporting the upcoming Sociocracy consultants in India. To know more about them and Sociocracy see

Financial Contribution: The workshop is offered on sliding scale from Rs 5,000 to 10,000 or more. You can choose to pay whatever is comfortable in the given range. It will go to support the facilitator, paying for other organizing cost for the event and compensate for the payment of those who find it challenging to pay the minimum amount. We believe that as we learn and grow together we take care of all those who offer us their gifts while also fostering a spirit of care for all the people in our communities. 

At the same time, it is important for us that money is not a barrier for some one to attend this workshop. If you find it challenging to pay the minimum amount please feel free to click on the option for it in the registration form, and we will call you to find ways where were can support each other, with or without money.

To hear people who have attended the Sociocracy workshop with Shammi and John Buck see films at

To watch a short intro on Sociocracy see

To join FB page ‘Sociocracy India’, which is hosted by Shammi see

For registration to the workshop go to –

Look forward to see you at the event.

Hosting Team

Shammi Nanda

Piyush Bansal (Learning Curve Institute)

Chintan Bakshi (Startup Oasis)

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Sociocracy, ‘Connection Parenting’, Music and More at Noida UnConference!

At the recent Learning Unconference at Noida on 19th September, 2015, I was reminded of my childhood days when we would get together in Rajouri Garden in Delhi or Saharanpur for my cousin’s wedding and have non stop singing and fun action for t12042668_1015504675166684_4498789894362938921_nhree days. The only difference here was that there were people who were also coming with dreams of a creating a sustainable and just world and are also acting in small and big ways to make it happen in their lives. I am connected to different eco-systems and communities wanting to make a beautiful world and one of them is the LSUC or Learning Societies UnConference Network and  an event like this is like coming back to my home and family.

It was fun to meet old friends and make new connections with people who are doing stuff which some where resonates with my vision of the world that I would like to live in. Met Dipali who hosts sessions on slow travel, Himanshu who is working on slow cooking incorporating millets, Arubha Sonal, Ravleen and many other home/un schoolers of Delhi, Pooja who makes alternate toys inspired by games of rural and tribal communities in India and there were 300 such people there for a day. I am glad to see lot of11991296_10153551152575569_1936405691_o alternate stuff in Delhi which I would more often see in other cities but have seen much less in Delhi until now.

Being there, I am reminded once again of Margret Wheatley’s line which says that for change to happen we need more of critical connections rather than the critical mass and I believe create a ground for creating such connections the critical mass will also follow. I  have two main needs in life, one is of finding meaning in what I engage with and the second is community and in places like this both of these needs of mine are met.

I enjoyed sharing Sociocracy where we practiced/simulated consent decision making process for a seemingly simple decision of planning a the dinner menu for group of about ten people who were also part of the Sociocracy session there. As we began collecting concerns for the meal issue. Even before coming out with the menu we realised that this simple decision, if it has to have the values and needs of all incorporated in it can be pretty nuanced and needs an evolved process to come to a decision with consent. Some wanted vegan options, some wanted spicy food, some wanted more steamed, some wanted chicken, delicious, aesthetically pleasing, etc….


After going through the listening rounds where each one was heard, we decided to come up with a smaller team and trusted them with the organizing of the meal. One of them was a organic and vegan enthusiasts, one was a person who cares for inclusion and one of them was the only non veg eater in the group. Even though it was a simulated exercise we got a sense of how complex decision can be taken efficiently in the groups and the amazing tools that Sociocracy offers to do so. We all consented to the decision in our simulated practice. I am also sharing Aditi’s Blog where she wrote about hear learning of Sociocracy in the above mentioned session.


In another session I also was supporting Sanjeevani who was hosting a session on ‘Connection Parenting’. It was a treat to meet the growing home/unschooling community of Delhi NCR who have a sense of shared reality and deep bonding with each other. Thanks to Suma Iyer who initiated a meeting the day after the Unconference where all of us met for a whole day at Shaifali and Osama’s place along with our dear friend Urmila from Pune. Our meeting turned into a listening circle, which began with a guided yog nidra mediation guided by Urmila which took us to a deeper place. That set the tone which connected to our hearts and our words began to flow from deep authenticity and our listening also became more and more open and non judgmental. We were holding space for each other where we could share our deeper challenges and vulnerabilities which began to transform at times once we could share them and be heard for them. I am glad unconference made space for this listening circle and thats how magic unfolds from one place to the other.


I guess such gatherings like the listening circle and the Unconference have a magic of their own and once the people are brought there and container created for deeper connection nothing needs to be ‘done’ and things just emerge all along. The unknown creates its own order and beauty. I am grateful to Manish Jain who is founder of Shikshatar Andolan and Prakriti Folks for initiating the unconference and Suma for initiating our meeting the next day which turned into a listening Circle.

Most importantly I want to thank Manish Kataria who held the space for music and circle dances which spurred the whole community to get into a party mood. I guess when change has to come it also has to be a celebration.

To see more pics from the Uncoference see

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Moving from Scarcity to Abundance!

Yesterday evening I Went with Chitra and Ramesh to Awakin hosted by Sachi in her small room in Janakpuri, Delhi. Walking through the labyrinth of DDA flats in C-4-G block, climbing stairs which were bit dark we came across a dia(burning lamp) with a colourful note under it, directing us further upstairs as it said, ‘Awakin – this way’.
Welcomed by more lamps along the way to the room where two people were sitting in a silence with eyes closed, we too sat with them.

It was an amazing to experience the space in the big city of 2 Crore people and to join these two fellow travellers in their silence. After the silence we read a passage around money and its role in our life and I got so many beautiful perspectives form the sharing after it.
The silence also connected me to the abundance that we all humans deserve to experience – like nature, where the cloud just takes sufficient water and does not want to hoard it, the tree takes nutrients from the soil and sends back sugars down to feed the fungus and microbes which nourish the tree, the mother nourishes the child with love and her milk.
Still wondering, what is the curse for the human race which made scarcity and fear as our template and way of organizing this world. Felt grateful for all the care and love that I am receiving with or without money which creates more and more trust in the abundance of this world.
Also grateful to those who are creating tools which make us move from fear to trust in our day to day lives. I have been learning and also shared Sociocracy recently where we honour the wisdom of all the people in the space and bring in spirit of co-creation. I am Also seeing when people have the appropriate tools to support these values the workspaces can change from pyramid kind control command structure to trust, respect and harmony. Feeling assured of the imminent transformation of our world, our families, neighbourhoods, workspaces, polity, security systems and many more more to a world of abundance and trust.
Thanks to Sachi and her family for creating a space which helps for us get in touch deeply to the beauty that is inside us and create a world filled with love, trust and peace.

Pic taken from Moved by Love.

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Offering Sociocracy in Delhi

When we decide things with friends, like – whether we want to go for a movie or to the coffee house we find some thing that works for all. When you plan your holiday with your partner you look at the different options and do what works for both of you, when you decide the foods that each one of you will bring to the office picnic you consider all options and find the ones which are working for all. Well this is ‘consent’, we do it so well when we are having fun, where every one matters and can be heard well and it keeps the inspiration levels high.

I wonder why cant we do it when we have to make policy decisions in our organisations and communities, when we nominate people for different roles, when we decide the work plans and every thing in the space.
Sociocracy integrates the wisdom of intuitive consent decision making in an organizational set up with a bigger scale and gives us the nuts and bolts to do so. Consent will happen when everyone’s voice matters equally or there is equivelance in the space. To make equivelance happen, we need to set up some agreements which also sociocracy provides the road map for making them.
Besides it teaches us that decisions don’t have to be super perfect but ‘good enough for now, safe enough to try”. It has been created with great years of experience in Netherlands and other countries in spaces which wanted to work on partnership paradigms.

If we want a certain consciousness that we all hold special gifts and the divine in us also we need to develop the right kind of superstructures or tools to support the coming of that in our day to day practices. For me the consciousness that we all matter eaqually is supported beautifully and efficiently with Sociocrcacy in the processes it offer. Am grateful to James Priest for brining it to me and our firends in India. I will be offering a presentation today to an organization in Delhi today so they can see if it inspires them enough to make it a part of their system. I believe systems with partnership paradigm can also add to the spirit of collaboration and partnership in organisation…its like a chicken and egg story, consciousness or the tools which comes first…

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Consent decision making with adults and kids in the same circle is easy with Sociocracy!

This time when we were doing the ‘No Blame Zone’ Workshop in Jaipur, two kids age 12 had also joined us. It was my decision to allow kids as one of the participants had asked if they can bring their kids of 12 years age and I said – yes, as long as they feel excited to be there they can be in the workshop and they are free to leave when they want to go.


During the workshop some one questioned the idea of having kids and adults together in the same Nonviolent Communicaiton (NVC) workshop. He proposed that if we really want the kids to learn NVC we need to do two different workshops, one for the kids and one for the adults. He didn’t want the kids to hear the challenges of adults as he believed that it will make them mature much before their age, and he was in general concerned and said that kids are losing their childhood today. While he shared his suggestion some of the other participants differed with him and wanted the kids to be there.

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During the discussion I realized that some of us were getting charged and only few people were speaking and a majority was silent. I suggested that we hear all voices before we decide any thing. So, I proposed that we use a consent process based on Sociocracy to figure out what we want to do as a group. In that we were first sharing our concerns and in the first round where every one was heard one after the other. There were lot of divergent viewpoints and as we began to hear each one once again in the second round people began to get affected by what they had heard from others in the frist round. Some one said that she would want to share about her marital issues and she would not feel comfortable with the kids around and her being in the workshop will not be as meaningful as she had expected it to be. The father of one of the kids said that he would want his kid to hear about the issues which adults face as this would be a place where his kid will learn about dealing with such challenges when they grow up. One man said that as a kid he used to make plans to kill his step mother and even thoughts of committing suicide at one point in his life. Luckily he didn’t do any of that and he so wished there was some education and support to deal with such difficult situations in his childhood as that would have avoided much of his suffering. So for him such opportunities for kids can be extremely meaningful. Besides some one said that as a man the kid will grow in a way that he will be more sensitive to the issues and concerns of women when he hears the challenges being shared by some women in the group here. One of the kids also said that he would like to have 90 percent weightage in deciding about his life and ten percent to be left to his guardians and was wanting to have a say on the issue of presence of the kids here. In fact his father, was also fine with him staying there, and also asked the other participants to understand that any thing that they think is fit for the his consumption to be seen as fine for his kid to hear it.


At one point some one even suggested that if an adult feels that they want to share some thing which they don’t feel comfortable they can ask the kids to leave, to that the kid objected and said that he is ok with a request but it cant be a demand. So we finally agreed that – “adults share what they want to share while the kid and their guardian mutually decide if its fit for them to hear it and if its not they go out for a walk and play for some time, till the issue is being discussed”.


It was unique in the sense that it was an issue of inclusion of kids in a conversation which was seen as meant for adults only by some people but we included in the discussion about their inclusion. I too believe that we need to make a world where we value ‘kids’ as capable of having a mind of their own and their needs also matter equally. To believe that the need for autonomy for a kid is same as that of the adult even if their strategies are different.

Besides when we went through a Sociocratic decision making process we see that opinions change when we hear each other and the proposal gets evolved as we include everyone’s wisdom in the decision making process. We also see that its important to make a safe space to hear objections and when we do so we can see the wisdom behind them and integrate it in the proposal.

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I am now more convinced to offer NVC workshops for children too. More so I enjoyed how the kids in the workshop were able to empathise and pick up the process with so much ease. I would avoid offering it to the kids till now as I was not sure if they will be coming out of choice or just because adults have asked them so as I want them to come out of their own desire to learn. Now after the experience this time I would like to offer more of my workshops to kids or rather I have some offers to do so and I will be more open and excited to doing workshops with them. Looking forward to sharing and learning NVC with children. Thanks to the parents and the kids who decided to come for this workshop in Jaipur.

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“Should pain be always painful?” Feedbacks from Viji, Mumbai

Here is some feedback or rather appreciations from Viji who attended my NVC workshop in Mumbai – ‘Getting Fluent with Compassionate Communication’ on 8th and 9th April., 2015. I am amazed at how much a person can get in three days and then each person would have got what resonated with them. I am grateful to all those who have contributed to my learning which has enabled me to share this knowledge to my fellow community members in different cities. It was amazing to see her lead some one else through a dance floor around the issues of money. I can see very soon there will be many people sharing NVC in India and thats my grand plan also….


Viji’s Pic

Dear Shammi,

Here are some of the leanings that touched me in the 3 days workshop we had in Mumbai last week.

1) A chance to witness Sociocracy in action has created a deep desire in me to learn more about it. Sociocracy has been on my mind constantly since your visit this time. I can envisage it bringing beautiful transformations in decision making in both social (family , friends, children etc) and corporate scenarios. I love ‘good enough for now and safe enough to try’ more appealing than most efficient solution.

2) Seeing the care in someone’s criticism and more importantly seeing my care for the other person when I criticize some one. I still react the way I normally react at that moment but I’m able to catch myself post facto. As a result, there is no holding of grudge when some one has criticized me and also I don’t get into guilt trip after I have criticized some one in the spur of the moment. The next step would be to be able to now start verbalising the care I have for others and make sure it reaches others.
3) Being mindful of the fact the empathy goes upwards with great difficulty. I liked what you shared from Miki’s wisdom. I’m also noticing that when I find it really hard to empathise with someone I’m perceiving or seeing as having more power than me or others around them.


4) Being mindful of whether I’m getting a true ‘yes’ and to make sure that there isn’t a ‘No’ hidden in the yes, more so when I have some kind of power in the space.

5) Also your sharing on Ken Wilbur’s four quadrants about Inner-Outer/Personal Collective has created curiosity in me. I intend to spend more time digging deeper and understanding this concept.

6) I’m trying to articulate more interdependent needs in my requests. Actually, making requests has become easier this way. When I expressed only my needs there was sort of a discomfort I used to feel strange in my heart somehow. I also feel more at home when my expressions and requests take into account the needs of the other(s)


7) I’m also loving introspecting on two of my deeper limiting beliefs ; Why should all my choices lead to happiness? Should pain be always painful? Why cant I learn to sit with pain some times and not be scared of it or why do we have such a strong desire to be always ‘happy’. I wish to do the dance floor we practiced for this. I haven’t found time yet.

8) While using distraction as a strategy with my daughter Ria , I’m making habit of attending her underlying need at a later point. I used to do this earlier but there is more mindfulness now.

9) I liked it when Sudha pointed out how walking on paper of the dance floor made her uncomfortable. I guess it’s a cultural thing for us to not put our feet on written word or ‘vidya’. It was a reminder for me to be mindful of things I might take for granted.

I also enjoyed what you shared from your conversation from the NVC trainer Vivet Alevi from Turkey – “All relationships are cross-cultural”. Yes we all have our different journeys, challenges which shape us as who we are. I guess we need to understand that when we engage with others and try to see they too have their own story depending on their past.


Some things that I want to work on future –

1. I got a very small taste of ‘Focusing’ but that’s too less for me and I want to learn it at a later point.
2. Sociocracy (please put me in touch with James , I will see if Geeta and I can organise a workshop here in Mumbai )
3.  And of course lot more NVC and lot more of time with you too. I really love the way you hold the NVC space.

I’m also excited about the ‘Mumbai NVC Hangout’, which is the new name for a space to practice NVC for our community in Mumbai.

Am also looking forward to being with Kranti and sharing my gifts and learning from them. I am inspired by the work that they are doing.



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