I am one of the lucky people who learned sociocracy the way a person learns their first language — finding myself immersed in practice. I did not learn it by instruction; I learned it by doing when I joined a self-managed organization that had been running for 15 years and had been doing sociocracy for a while. I did not pay much attention to our governance at first — after all, many things are new when you enter a new organization. I remember, however, the first time I noticed meetings there were different. It was one of those moments when you say something and then notice it is true when I heard myself say: “I am leaving the meeting more refreshed than I came, more inspired and feeling more connected to everyone in this group.” That was the moment I realized this is much bigger than just a way to make decisions. Feeling more connected and getting things done, that was new to me. And very appealing!
After I had fully emerged in the organization and learned most of the tools of sociocracy — rounds, consent, dealing with objections, selection process, linking — I started looking deeper. The tools looked simple and easy to do, but they made for big effects. I became interested in what values were embodied by those tools. You might call it the “hidden curriculum” of sociocracy. Or, since the first letters of the values I found magically align with the first 5 letters of the Latin alphabet, let’s call it the ABCDE of sociocracy!