Holding an election without a candidate allows one person to be selected to perform an assignment in the group. The benefit of this practice is that it makes the needs and skills the required for the position the focus of the election process.
In doing so,
- choice is not limited to voluntary candidates
- it promotes maximum involvement of people in decision-making
- the elected person is given strong legitimacy.
The exercise also promotes expression and listening by everyone: it is an opportunity to connect, support and encourage certain profiles by making them aware of their qualities and skills.
Time needed: 20 to 60 minutes
- Small size sheets of paper
- A board or paperboard
As a facilitator, you coordinate the group preparation of all elements before the vote:
- Defining the role: What assignment? What objective? What responsibilities?
- Defining the remit: What workload? How long will this role be maintained?
- Define the selection criteria: What skills, attitudes, abilities, qualities, availability? What talents?…
You can organise a meeting for the sole purpose of collecting, amending and validating these elements. It is also possible to send a proposal through a shared document for everyone to comment on before voting day.
In the introduction to the vote, you remind everyone of the definition of the role, the scope of the remit and the list of criteria that have been worked on beforehand.
The aim is to allow participants to add to the list of criteria if any key aspects have been omitted.
Each participant votes in writing for the person they are nominating at the election. It is possible to vote for yourself.
For this vote to be effective, everyone writes it on a small sheet of paper: “I ‘First name’, I vote for ‘candidate’s name’” before giving it to you.
- Vote Count
You reveal the votes and invite everyone to present their choice and the reasons for it, speaking directly to the person chosen.
As a facilitator, you keep the vote count in plain sight (on the board or paperboard).
- Voting Postponed
Following each other’s statement of arguments, invite participants who wish to change their vote by telling you their choice orally.
If necessary, change the votes on the board/paperboard
A volunteer proposes to elect one person from among those who received votes.
It is not necessarily the person who received the most votes that is proposed: the arguments made in the previous steps are taken into account.
Once a person has made a proposal, the next step is taken.
- Objection Round
Ask if there are any objections to this proposal regarding the role, remit and selection criteria :
- If no, go to the “Validation” step
- If yes, two possible options:
- either you call for a new proposal (step 5),
- or invite participants to explain and argue their objections to move on to a bonus step (Step 7).
Through a collective intelligence conversation that you facilitate, participants raise objections one by one, leading to a new choice (or not).
You ask the chosen person: how does he/she react to what has been said? Does he/she wish to say anything in relation to what he/she has heard said about him/her? does he/she accept the role?
If he/she accepts, it’s time to celebrate and if he/she refuses, you go back to step 5 of the proposal.
Bravo, you have found the most suitable person for this role!
- Writing the person’s name on paper helps to avoid the effects of group contamination and vote changes by listening to others.
- For an election without a candidate to work properly, it requires the participants to know each other relatively well.
- Election without a candidate echoes Plato’s position that those best placed to exercise power are those who do not want it** ;)