The following is a transcript of the video above, from our webinar on “How to Design Democratic Management.” View the full webinar here.
Anj Talley: In our bylaws [at Mandela Grocery Cooperative], we have one vote that is required to be unanimous, and that is the vote to hire, Whether or not we’re hiring a new member into the group needs to be a unanimous decision. Everything else is by consensus, which to us is 75 percent, or three out of four. Generally, the way we approach votes is that everyone be in agreement. We’re having a full discussion, where you’re fleshing out every part, every side as much as possible of this decision that needs to be made, and the goal is for everyone to be in agreement. So, very rarely is there major conflict happening in those conversations, because it’s really more of a discovery type of conversation: are we thinking about all sides of this? If there are questions, sometimes we do have to pause it and bring it back the next month at the next meeting, where the expectation is that there’s research that was done, there are answers to the questions that you’re coming with.
When we take a vote, you kind of have a sense, before we even vote, of how this is going to go, because of the types of questions that everyone had the opportunity to ask. But it is important…when we are having a consensus or a vote conversation, that we make space for every single voice to be heard. Even if this is someone who maybe usually is more quiet or less vocal, the expectation is still that you say something, you ask something, because that is how we define participating. Everyone has to participate in these decision-making conversations. So, say something! Then when it comes time for us to vote, everybody either gives a thumbs up or thumbs down, and we do [a super] majority [of] 75 percent.