NEW! Effective Meetings and the Art of Having Both Bottom-Up and Top-Down Governance with John Buck

What You Will Learn

Upon completion of this training, learners will be able to: 

  • Distinguish and compare various approaches to decision-making and the strengths and drawbacks of each, if used in their organization.
  • Discuss and practice consent decision-making for policies and selecting individuals for roles.
  • Demonstrate basic processes and interpersonal skills for facilitating consent decision-making in a meeting.


In today's popular business literature there is frequent mention of types of organizing based on distributed authority, worker autonomy, and peer relationships. Such ideas are attractive to many, especially now that the pandemic has demonstrated that staff can work effectively from home without traditional management controls. However, businesses fail to operate without clear assignment of accountability and well-organized oversight of the complex issues involved in business management. This training provides a basic approach to combining and synthesizing the values of both worker autonomy and traditional time tested, top-down controls and business expertise that ensure clear responsibility and well-informed business strategies that promote both investor and worker interests.

This training delivers the building blocks for learning to create a practical synthesis of bottom-up and top-down approaches to organizing meetings, where both voices can be equally heard and respected. It starts with a brief history of attempts to create effective teams where workers and managers are on the same side of the playing field. Those methods include beyond budgeting, organizational open space, sociocracy, and agile approaches. The focus will be on sociocracy because it offers very specific guidance on facilitating meetings. Using many practical exercises, it then explores new ways to distinguish between policy and operations meetings and how to make policy decisions by consent (which is quite different than the boss says or majority vote). It provides experience with selecting people for roles and tasks by consent, as well as how to create a collective team memory. 

Learners will have the opportunity to experience facilitating circle meetings that focus on making decisions that everyone feels are good enough for now and safe enough to try. Everyone will be invited to bring actual situations from their organizations into facilitation exercises. In this way, much of the class learning will be immediately applicable to the learners’ day-to-day work. Further, learners will be able to apply the methods to other issues in their offices and they will then qualify to take other, more advanced trainings that address how to apply dynamic governance methods to whole-company structures.

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Why Do We Need a Bottom-Up and Top-Down Synthesis for Running Meetings?
  • What It Is and What It Is Not 
  • Consent (1st Principle) and Process
  • Consent Demonstration (Small Group)
  • Notetaking (Creating a Useful Group Memory)
  • Circle Structure (2nd Principle) (Building a “Chain of Consent”)
  • Double Linking (3rd Principle) (Synthesizing the Chain of Command and the Chain of Consent)
  • Operations and Policy
  • Meeting Formats
  • Open Election Principle
  • Open Election Demonstration and Practice
  • Agenda Format and Practice
  • Implementing in Organizations
  • Facilitator Role and Development Feedback
  • Facilitator Development Feedback
  • Facilitator Intervention Tools
  • Applying It to Your Context

PDU Allocation Table

The table below displays the number of professional development units (PDUs) awarded for each PMI® credential, as they align to the PMI Talent Triangle®. Power Skills and Business Acumen PDUs apply evenly across all credentials and Ways of Working PDUs apply only to specific credentials. PDUs will be added in full to all eligible credentials. *Please note that the asterisked row below applies to the PMI® Agile Certification Journey and includes Disciplined Agile® Scrum Master (DASM), Disciplined Agile® Senior Scrum Master (DASSM), Disciplined Agile® Coach (DAC), and Disciplined Agile® Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC) certifications.
Ways of Working Power Skills Business Acumen Total
CAPM® / PMP® / PgMP® 5 5 4 14.00
PMI-ACP® / Agile* 0 5 4 9.00
PMI-SP® 0 5 4 9.00
PMI-RMP® 0 0 5 5.00
PfMP® 0 5 4 9.00
PMI-PBA® 0 5 4 9.00
Ways of Working Power Skills Business Acument Talent Triangle



John Buck

John Buck is an expert in the synthesis of Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy & Agile (BOSSA Nova) and President of GovernanceAlive LLC. His clients span the globe and include plastics manufacturers, colleges and universities, long-term care facilities, co-housing groups, NGOs, and software companies. By guiding clients in “rewiring” their basic power structure he helps them toward greater efficiency and increased employee engagement. His background as a former large IT project manager makes him particularly adept at helping tech teams integrate this social technology to improve systems. 

The co-author of two books, John Buck wrote We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, co-authored with Sharon Villines, and in February 2018 published Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy: Survive & Thrive on Disruption with co-author Jutta Eckstein. John has led many training workshops and sociocracy implementation projects for a variety of companies and organizations. 

John’s extensive global work has included a joint project with Fujitsu’s Advanced Software Lab to develop Weaver, software that helps meetings go better – in-person, online, and asynchronously. Additionally, between 2016 and early 2020, John visited South Korea, India, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Austria, Chile, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to encourage the development of BOSSA nova through training and presentations at conferences. During the COVID-19 pandemic he trained and consulted extensively online. He has now resumed in-person consulting and training work and has presented as a TEDx speaker. He also works for Governance From Below, Inc., a charitable nonprofit that promotes neighbourocray, especially the Provisional World Children's Parliament,

Training Information

18 - 19 September 2023
2 Days


Member Price
(US$1385.00 before 7 August)
Nonmember Price
(US$1585.00 before 7 August)
Government Price
Student Price

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