How to write a Mandate

Depth
Beginners

Guidance on writing a clear and concise mandate

  • keep as short as possible so it’s easy for circle members and other people to read and understand

  • check mandates of other circles to see if it overlaps with them (I think there's overlap with Regen in this)

  • start each sentence with a verb, so the mandate is an ongoing activity: e.g. writing/publishing/creating etc

  • write each sentence to answer the question: if you were sitting next to this circle or role-holder while they were enacting their mandate, what would you see them doing? 

What's a mandate?

  • The XR self organizing system is founded on the principle of distributed authority where decisions are decentralized to individuals with clear mandates for those decisions. When someone has a mandate it means that they have the authority to make decisions. This gives a substantial amount of autonomy and freedom to make stuff happen so it's important that mandates are clear. A mandate describes a role and is made up of 'purpose', 'accountabilities' and 'domain' (optional). 

  • It's best to focus on the 'accountabilities' which are the ongoing activities of the role. 

  • The 'purpose' clarifies the intention of mandate - what will it enable. 

  • A 'domain' is what the mandate may exclusively control (and isn't used much). And remember to give the mandate a name which reflects all of this. 

  • Finally a mandate description is the same whether it's an individual or a circle. 

MANDATES IN EXTINCTION REBELLION

AND HOW TO WRITE THEM

The mandate for a circle/role defines which decisions it can make. 

A mandate has three parts: 

  • A purpose,

  • some clear accountabilities,

  • some domains, if they’re needed. 

We’ll look at what each of these means, what authority they give a circle/role, and how to go about writing them.

PURPOSE

  • The purpose of a circle/role is the outcome that it exists to bring about. It might follow on from, ‘If I fulfilled my purpose, there would be…’. 

  • For instance, if we were trying to organize a fundraising party, we might need a role for finding the venue, which we’ll call Venue Finder.

  • Our Venue Finder’s purpose might be: ‘a location for the party with space for dancing and awesome acoustics’.

  • A circle/role has the authority to do whatever it needs to fulfill its purpose, unless it impacts another circle/role’s domain.

  • When writing one of these, think about what your circle/role is creating, what is it bringing into the world.

  • Try to keep this to a single concise sentence, so that everyone else can quickly understand why your circle/role exists.

ACCOUNTABILITIES

  • Accountabilities are the things that a circle/role does day-to-day. 

  • If you were watching someone working and you wrote down all the activities they did, the list should match their accountabilities pretty closely.

  • We write these as activities starting with -ing words. Our Venue Finder might have the accountability: ‘Contacting, and maintaining a list of, potential venues’.

  • We try to avoid accountabilities that start with words like ‘ensuring’, as they usually imply controlling reality or someone else's work. For example, the Venue Finder might have the accountability: ‘Booking a venue for the date of the party’. We wouldn’t say ‘Ensuring we have a venue for the party’, as it might fall through!

  • A circle/role has the authority to do whatever it needs to get its accountabilities done, unless it impacts another circle/role’s domain.

  • When writing one of these, think about all the work your circle/role needs to do to fulfill its purpose.

  • Again, try to keep each accountability to a single concise sentence, so that everyone else can quickly understand what they can expect your circle/role to do.

  • You can check out this blog post from HolacracyOne for some further guidance on writing accountabilities.

DOMAINS

  • Domains are things that a role has exclusive control over. These could be physical things, like printers or greenhouses, or more abstract things, like finance processes, or email lists.
  • A circle/role has the authority to decide how other circles/roles can use its domains.
  • For example, the Venue Finder role might have ‘Food and drinks tables’ as a domain. If the Food and Drinks role wants to move the tables or buy more tables, they would have to get permission from the Venue Finder.
  • Domains should only be added to roles if there is a clear reason for it. 
  • For example, XRUK might want to add the ‘XR UK DNA’ to the Guardianship & Visioning team, because they don’t want people changing their DNA all the time.
  • In general, we want to be able to share things without having to ask permission if we don’t have to!

A circle/role can only be granted domains that are already controlled by their super-circle. Otherwise, the super-circle has no right to give it away!

 

QUICK REFERENCE

Purpose = outcome as a result of completing ongoing work

Accountabilities = list of ongoing work

SOS Framework Compatibility