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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Continue reading Impressions from our first Open Partner Meeting

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!

Dream of writing a book? Join our inspiration session!

Earlier this year, Lara and I were part of co-creating a new book on healing psychological trauma (recently published in Dutch, English translation coming up).

What started with the dream of one person, became a reality through collaboration of a group that involved over 100 people.

The short version of the story? The one person having the dream was Ybe, traumatherapist and Lara’s mother. She started writing the book. Then Lara and Jill added illustrations and poetry. Then, Rob and 20 more people joined in organising a marketing and social media campaign. Finally, close to 150 crowdfunders made the first print of the book a reality!

For many people involved, this project shifted the perception of what is possible in book publishing. Continue reading Dream of writing a book? Join our inspiration session!

Successful Projects with Trello

At Structure & Process we value a good online infrastructure for collaboration. Since we often work together virtually, the online environment is important for us. We need good tools that help us get stuff done and are enjoyable to use at the same time.

We think we’ve got this figured out pretty well and we always like to share our practices. And so today we’ll show you how we use Trello as our main tool for online collaboration on projects and how it serves as our digital office.

The goal? To show you how to use Trello to make your project successful!

What is Trello?

Trello is an online tool, which you can use in your browser or as an app for mobile devices. It’s main purpose is organising information in a visual and flexible way. It can be used for organising stuff individually and organising work as a team or company. In this blogpost we’ll focus on using Trello for collaboration.

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What’s so great about it?

There are probably a few hundred applications and tools out there that can be used to organise and coordinate work. Here are some of the reasons why we are sticking to Trello:

It’s unlimited

Working with Trello is like having a huge office with a lot of walls, unlimited sticky notes, coloured pens, markers and everything else you need to create organised overviews.

Once your project or business gets bigger, moving to a new office is a lot of work. Opening a new board in Trello, however, is a breeze. As you grow, Trello can grow alongside of you.

Continue reading Successful Projects with Trello

Links of the Week (week 5/2016)

LinksoftheWeek

This week’s link collection features three articles on Organisational Development, one on Software development and one on the best way to get feedback from your customers. Enjoy!

Getting magical feedback

Sean Smith writes about a well crafted question that can get you magical feedback from customers. Where did he learn this? In Disneyland. Read his article on Medium.

How Trello got started

Continue reading Links of the Week (week 5/2016)

Links of the Week (Week 3/2016)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from several of our partners’ reading lists.

Facilitation & complexity

Chris Corrigan writes about the danger of being attached to an outcome in facilitation or consulting situations. Referring to the story of a recent Netflix series that dealt with this topic, he asks the question:

how do we let go of a pre-conceived outcome so that we can truly learn what’s going on and make decisions based on good information?

Read all about it in The curse of predetermining outcomes.

The value of your degree

A remarkable piece of news from the accountancy world. Ernst & Young have decided to no longer require prospective new hires to have a university degree. Continue reading Links of the Week (Week 3/2016)

Links of the Week (Week 2/2016)

LinksoftheWeek

Hello again. Happy New Year! Hope you had wonderful holidays and a good start into the New Year of 2016. Here are our first Links of the Week, curated from our link collection:

Start-ups

Ross Mayfield writes about the right momentum you need to build your start-up or project. The author encourages leaders to especially look out  for internal momentum such as a good team, and take the chance to use that. Momentum.

Another helpful and related advice for start-up founders has Auren Hoffmann on Quora. Deriving from sports, he draws a general distinction between the “Position player” and the “All-Around-Athlete”. Both – the highly specialized employee as well as the multi-talented one – are required in companies, but they are needed in different situations and phases of the company: How do you avoid hiring the wrong people for your startup?

Continue reading Links of the Week (Week 2/2016)