Our Values and
Human Rights and Equity Values
Guided by our commitment to listen and speak from the heart, we cultivate a living culture that grounds The Compassionate Listening Project’s vision, principles, practices, and values. This culture embraces human dignity, equity, and inclusivity, as we aspire to expand our ability to authentically see each other as human beings. We humbly believe that this journey is a continual process of learning and unlearning.
We strive to:
Treat all people with dignity and respect, honoring each person’s inherent value and worth, and approaching them as neither inferior nor superior to ourselves.
Encourage diverse representation in TCLP staff, facilitators, participants, and partners, and integrate the voices and experiences of all who are present.
Create a compassionate environment where people experience support and a sense of belonging, and where individual and collective wisdom emerge.
Encourage authentic and courageous conversation by listening and speaking compassionately with empathy to others’ concerns and experiences.
Practice heightened awareness of our own judgments, biases, behaviors, and triggers so we can do less harm.
Provide opportunities for people to participate in workshops and facilitator training regardless of economic ability.
Hold ourselves accountable by acting with integrity and transparency, and being receptive to feedback.
Recognize that systemic factors perpetuate harm in the world and that we can use our practices to work toward healing.
Our Organizational Structure: Sociocracy
In 2021, The Compassionate Listening Project transitioned to a non-hierarchical form of governance called Sociocracy. Sociocratic decision making is based on our deep value of equity. It's amazing to watch the investment and collaboration that can bloom when we know that all members of a team are equal - no-one has more authority for decision-making than anyone else.
What we call sociocracy now was first developed as the Sociocratic Circle Method by Gerard Endenburg in the Netherlands in the 1980s. Sociocracy finds inspiration in natural systems: complex organizations tend to work as decentralized, nested systems that are semi-autonomous. That means they are both autonomous and interdependent, just like the respiratory and the nervous system.
Sociocracy builds on a set of simple rules, such as how to create and function as a circle (or team). The same rule then allows any circles to form sub-circles.
Our decision-making process takes after that of the Quakers, who have a strong commitment to inclusion and egalitarian values. We do not vote; we hold rounds of discussion where we listen to each other visions and concerns and we adjust, in community. Proposals then have rounds of consent to see if we are aligned.
The graphic below shows TCLP's organizational structure at one point in our transition to sociocracy. Since we are a living organism, our "architecture" is in constant change.