Category Archives: Holacracy

Musings on Holacracy

Some weeks ago Martina Röll, the founder of Structure & Process, was interviewed by Karolina Iwa, in the context of Leadership Festival which will take place this summer in Poland. There is a recording of an online session that followed this interview available on Facebook.

Martina was asked how she experiences working in an organisation that runs on Holacracy and what makes it stand out from more traditional ways of working. Here are some of her thoughts.

You can do anything you wish. You have a general permission – a completely anarchistic general permission. You can simply act.

Everybody takes on tasks they want to deliver and declares the time of delivery. You cannot assign tasks to anybody. And you cannot tell them how or when to deliver, either. You simply manage your own work. And if it happens that others do not deliver it the time they declared and you cannot wait for them – there is the underlying agreement to move on and do what you believe to be right. All the waiting and delegating falls away. This is extremely liberating. The mental drama of “but we are not ready yet” and “but we still need this and that” becomes obsolete. You just go. And if people do not deliver or no longer fulfil their tasks, they need to make sure they still keep their jobs. In Holacracy, jobs are not described by positions, but by the responsibilities and roles you take on.

It is called “Do and let do”.

When you allow this to be the rule for money too, you show people you really mean it. In Structure & Process anybody can spend up to 300€ for whatever they decide is important, without previously consulting with others. The only rule: it needs to help the organisation fulfil the organisational purpose.

Holacracy gives you a very strong mirror.

When you complain about others being a certain way and not different, at some point you just can no longer make it about them. You realize that it is actually about you. And all change will have to result from within you. This confronts you very strongly with questions like: If I am allowed to do anything, what is it that I truly want to do? What is it that I truly need?

Holacracy brings you back to yourself in yet another way: it offers no space for expecting that others will guess what you need, or what you want. This is quite hard for some. It is not how we are socialised, mostly. So yes, it requires some practice – but this training in self-directedness pays back with a genuine feeling of more freedom and being less burdened.

The self-organisation system is also great for high performers.

Those are people who otherwise often struggle in teams and tend to feel torn between waiting for the others and not living their full potential vs. going their natural pace and feeling like they are a handful. A holacratic working environment allows them to go full throttle.

Have a peek into our own structures and processes:

To support the implementation, maintenance and development of the system there are some software solutions available. Structure & Process uses Glassfrog. You can have a peek at how an up-and-running organisation that operates on Holacracy looks like, see our structures, purpose, tasks and roles here.

Want more? Check out our list of upcoming Holacracy Events in Europe

Overview of roles at Structure & Process as of February 2017

Impressions from our first Open Partner Meeting

openpartnermeeting

Structure & Process’ “Partner Meetings” are bimonthly get-togethers of the team of Structure & Process. From being “internal meetings” originally, they have evolved to include clients, prospects and business partners.

In November 2016, we took the next step and opened up our structure even further, showing what was “internal” to clients, and what was “client-only” to business partners and our wider network. We also invited our community to contribute to and become part of the meeting.

It turned out to be a wonderful format for doing joyful, inspired and effective work – so much so that we’re doing it again this February! View all the details here (in German).

Every Partner Meeting is different, but the rest of this post is meant to give you an idea of what it can look like…

DAY 1

Monday morning.

The place:

galerie

Welcome:

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People start to work: Conversation between Rob and Martina about the future of Partner Meetings, their sustainability, probable profitability and their integration into the structure.

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Kind of a tradition at Partner Meetings: Lunch at an Asian place.

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More people show up, the team is almost complete – setting up the space.

DAY 2

After arriving, settling in and putting up the space, the Open Partner Meeting starts with a check-in round:

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Agenda Building:

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Martina calls for a session about Organisational Purpose Shift:

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Capture by Lara

The next session for most people is about Partner Community and Applicant Processes  –exploring whether a membership system is an option to develop.

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Capture by Anika

Very closely related is the development of Partner Meetings as a (core) product of Structure & Process:

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The first guests arrive: Luca and Julia from Reinblau join our Meeting. They are clients in a consulting project from Martina, Lara and Rainer.

After lunch for some participants and a nice walk along the Elbe for the others – the meeting resumes with a Governance Meeting of the GCC. This is a good observing and learning opportunity for some of our guests. Lara explains procedures and gives background information. The minutes of that meeting can be found right here in our Glassfrog.

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More guests have arrived: Tobias already joined our last Partner Meeting. He was a coaching client of Martina’s for a while and is interested in our work. Nora is a consultant and knows Rainer and Martina. She came all the way from Bratislava to join.

Rainer and Nora catching up:

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Lara prepares the check-out round for the day:

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DAY 3

New guests have arrived: We welcome Anja and Gregor. The third day starts with planning mode again. Most of the people decide on an introduction to Teal from Nora.

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The next session is hosted by Rainer who has a business idea he wants to develop. His basic assumption is that there is not enough consulting competence in clients’ companies. They are consulted by us, but they need to consult with their clients as well. This  is enforced when transformation processes within the company affect their clients, too.

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In a second session in the afternoon interested people start to get into operational details for a consulting workshop offer that would increase consulting competences with clients.

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Later, Rainer offers a session in Action Learning:

Day 3 closes with a check-out round and some reflections of the core Structure & Process team.

Day 4

On day 4 more Holacracy meetings take place, where some of the learnings from this Partner Meeting are already being captured into the organisation’s governance records:

Lara gives a mini-workshop on her specialty: drawing and graphic facilitation.

After 4 full days our co-created graphic overview shows the richness of the meeting and what came out of it.

Partner Meetings are one of the core activities of Structure & Process and they embody our way of working. Please join one of the next ones to experience it for yourself!

Shoutout to Annette Mehlhoop who created the first version of this post!

Visualisation of Holacracy Fundamentals

I visited Obenaus Community in Styria this month. The community there is currently reflecting its decision making process and ask me to briefly introduce them to Holacracy.

As I was speaking, Viola Tschendel – Graphic Harvester, and one of the residents at Obenaus – created this visual of my talk.

Basics of Holacracy: Talk by Martin Röll at the Obenaus Community, Styria, Capture by Viola Tschendel (August 2016)
Basics of Holacracy: Talk by Martina Röll at the Obenaus Community, Styria, Visual Capture by Viola Tschendel (August 2016)

A brief outline:

  • Holacracy is based on Purpose. It organises the work, the “stuff”, not the people.
  • First Rule is: You can do anything. (Unless it is forbidden.) Go for it.
  • Second step: Assign Roles: Capture what is already happening, make it transparent. (So that it can be discussed more easily, and changed if necessary.)
  • A Role has a Name, a Purpose, and Accountabilities. It might have a Domain: Property that it controls. (“Don’t touch the cook’s knives without permission.”)
  • It helps to have a stable process facilitator, to help the community have the conversation about role building, domains, control.
  • Holacracy defines a process for the conversation about power. It opens up stable, safe space for constructive disagreement. It allows people to show up fully, with all of their concerns, worries or wishes for change, and process these inputs (called “tensions”) into useful output.
  • The Holacracy Governance Process brings clarity and efficiency in creating and processing proposals for structural change
  • The Holacracy Tactical Process asks “what do you need?”, thereby keeps tension with the tension holder, creating safe space for others.
  • “Lead Link” is a Role that assigns Roles to people. People can always give roles back: nobody can be forced to do work or hold a Role they don’t want.
  • Subcircles can be formed as the structure gets more complicated

I left very inspired from my stay, having joined Social Presencing Theatre (with Dirk Bräuninger) and Systemic Constellations (with Rainer von Leoprechting, who is also a Partner in Structure & Process).  I was glad to work with Viola (you will see more of us coming up), and with Vihra Dincheva, an excellent Online Host and Partner in Enlivening Edge. All the best for your next steps!

Wie funktioniert ein Holacracy Governance Meeting?

Holacracy ist eine Methode, mit der Teams oder ganze Organisationen sich selbst organisieren können. Ein Aspekt davon ist die Governance: Das Regeln der Entscheidungsbefugnisse im Team.

In einem Holacracy Governance Meeting organisiert ein Team sich selbst: Es klärt, wie die Verantwortlichkeiten und Entscheidungsbefugnisse verteilt sein sollen.

Holacracy verwendet dafür einen strukturierten, verbindlichen Besprechungsprozess. Er basiert auf Konsent-Entscheidungen und ist stark von Soziokratie inspiriert.

Dieser Artikel führt durch alle Schritte des Holacracy Integrative Decision Making.

Zu einem Überblick zu Holacracy siehe hier.

Structure & Process gibt Einführungen zu Holacracy und begleitet Unternehmen auf dem Weg zu mehr Selbstorganisation. Kontakt: Martina Röll, info@structureprocess.com

Holacracy ist ein eingetragenes Warenzeichen von HolacracyOne, LLC

 

Continue reading Wie funktioniert ein Holacracy Governance Meeting?

Everything Changes… Holacracy im Arbeitsalltag: ein Praxisbericht

Was bedeutet es eigentlich im Alltag eines Unternehmens, mit Holacracy zu arbeiten?

Um es kurz zu machen: Alles ändert sich. Ständig. Allein unser kleines Unternehmen hat seine Organisationstruktur in den letzten Monaten mehrmals drastisch verändert. Sicherlich liegt das auch daran, dass wir ein dynamisches Team sind: Aber nicht zuletzt ist es ein Kernmechanismus von Holacracy, schnelle und auch grundlegende Veränderungen zu ermöglichen.

Warum das so ist, was sich verändert hat und vor allem, warum das eine gute Sache ist, soll dieser Artikel genauer erklären.

Continue reading Everything Changes… Holacracy im Arbeitsalltag: ein Praxisbericht

Not having to worry about expectations…

… is one of the aspects I enjoy most, being part of a team that runs on Holacracy.

you don’t have to worry about the implicit expectations or “shoulds” of others; instead, you can just show up, be yourself, and do your best within your roles, trusting that the process will catch and integrate any tensions that result. (Brian Robertson)

It is not necessary to worry about

  • what others will think or feel about my work
  • wether it will be “enough”
  • what others may think or feel about my process
  • if I should have done things differently.

Or so is the theory.

In practise, I still stress out a lot over being “a good leader”, a good steward of the team, a good Lead Link of our Holacracy Circles.

I try my best. I work in the best way I can and let the rest flow through the Holacracy process: it allows and encourages anyone to come up with anything that could be improved (from that person’s perspective). It can then be processed constructively together and codified in our governance records, the standards by which we work together (more on how our company is set up here).

Our conversations are mostly impersonal: they are usually about the work, not about the specific way in which a person is doing their work. The conversations happen between role holders for the benefit of the organisation. It is about how the work should be done, not about how I am or have been doing the work.

Except when it actually is about personal performance: When a person is clearly not doing their job according to the agreed-on principles, our process also shows it very clearly and opens up a conversation about what can be done (should the job be reassigned to someone else? Does the person holding the role need more support?). This makes the conversation about changing the person’s job or reassigning their roles much easier than if it were mixed up with a conversation about the structure of the work.

Having said all that, we do run into personal conflicts too. I hope that people will speak up, and address me personally when I messed up, or that they process it through Holacracy, so that we can all learn collectively, and build structure that may prevent future conflicts.

The Birth of an Holacracy organisation: the setup of Structure & Process

What happens or needs to happen when an organisation switches to Holacracy?

With this article, I intend to give some clarity for founders or owners of companies that consider using Holacracy. I will outline the steps that need to be taken to move from the existing structure to Holacracy.

I will use our own case – that of Structure & Process – to explain the steps as we go along.

Establishing the legal base for Holacracy: The Foundational Document

A company moves to Holacracy when the current power-holders adopt the Holacracy Constitution.

In Structure & Process’s case, this was done by myself, Martina Röll, the sole owner, establishing and signing a foundational document.

It reads pretty straightforwardly:

Continue reading The Birth of an Holacracy organisation: the setup of Structure & Process

Why personal productivity matters in Holacracy

Imagine that you are the owner and CEO of a company and you are considering to use Holacracy as an operating system. That basically means, you give up the power to tell your employees what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. However much you may be excited about moving to such a self-organising structure, deep down you also feel fearful (or maybe not so deep down!):

What if my employees take different actions and directions than I would like them to take? What if they forget things? How can I make sure they’ll be taking the right decisions?

Trust and transparency

It takes a certain amount of basic trust in your employees, and people in general, to decide to use Holacracy. Besides that, it actually provides the proper framework for former decision-makers to be able to relax about controlling the work that needs to be done in the company.

Continue reading Why personal productivity matters in Holacracy