The Self-Organising System (SOS) defines how we organise, communicate and make decisions about our working culture. It allows us to proactively structure how we organise, allowing us to reflect our values and leave behind ways of working that reproduce injustices and emotional pain in society.
The SOS is a tool for us to decentralise and scale; form leaderful groups and mitigate for power.
Introduction to Self-Organising
The XR UK Self-Organising System (SOS) is designed to shift power out of people and into the processes of the system, so that no single person has power over another person or the system itself.
The system is modular and can be used as individual parts depending on the needs. It is used in closer to its entirety by more stable and core teams.
Foundations of the Self-Organising System
The system is founded on the principle of distributed authority where decisions are decentralised to individuals in roles with clear mandates for those decisions. When someone has a mandate in a role it means that they have the authority to make a decision/do something; and at the same time it sets an expectation which others can have of that role-holder.
- Only use group decision-making when it’s necessary, not by default!
Group decision making is perhaps the most expensive (in terms of time, and if not done well can also expend motivation too) way of making decisions and can slow things down a lot. While it’s important at times to tap into the collective intelligence of a team and/or get buy-in for decisions, it’s not always the best way to be making decisions, and there are other ways to achieve those things.
- Transparency builds trust, trust enables us to collaborate
The clearer you can be about:
- the work you are doing
- your mandate
- the mandates of other roles and all teams;
then the easier it will be to collaborate at scale.
- Self-organising allows fast and informed decisions
This system is designed to manage the polarity between two different ways of operating, as needed in different situations:
- being able to act quickly and be responsive to fast-changing situations when needed
- and integrating wisdom of multiple perspectives and harnessing collective intelligence when needed
- Information is shared between teams and across XR
The organisation’s structure and other parts of this system means that information is shared in team meetings at appropriate levels of scale, plus can travel between different levels of scale as needed.
For full details read through The XR UK Constitution, linked below in “How XR UK Works”, or check out our simple one-pager description of the key elements of the SOS:Self-Organising System Overview One-Pager
How XR UK WorksThe XR UK Constitution Video walkthrough of the constitution (14 min video) Slide summary of the constitution
How To GuidesWrite a clear and concise mandate Facilitate four main types of agenda item Navigate and update GlassFrog – visualisation of the circle structure (18 min video) Nominate someone to a role Make a proposal Write a policy Process tensions Respond to conflict within your team (website) Self-Organising System FAQs
Guide to the SOS
The majority of the content of this web page is taken from the “Guide to the XR UK Self-Organising System” document. If you want the full and comprehensive details of our system, please see the guide below.Guide to the XR UK Self-Organising System
To ask any questions, request support and facilitation, or join the team and deepen your knowledge of self-organising, please email email@example.com or speak to us on our XRUK SOS Mattermost channel.