Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Hey Davi,


Yeah I kinda sensed that you were asking about targets, but it's a nuanced answer, so I decided to wait and see. The Holacracy constitution says nothing about targets, so I'll reference the general paradigm of self-organization. A few quotes from Frederic Laloux's book Reinventing Organizations may help here. 


In short, setting targets works great if they are self-selected and held lightly, but become problematic when people become too attached to achieving a target that they ignore the emerging reality in front of them....or simply cut corners to make the numbers. 


"Research shows that when people pursue a meaningful purpose , and when they have the decision-making power and resources to work towards that purpose, they don't need pep talks or stretch targets." (pg123) 


"Yet in the world of business, doing away with individual incentives is still rather revolutionary -- sales people without sales targets and sales incentives? This process is what all the companies in this research have opted for. CEOs without bonuses and stock options? All but one of the organization have done away with them. " pg. 132


"In self-managing organizations, people can choose to set themselves targets when they find it useful -- rather like a hobby runner who spurs herself on by extending her goals....But even with self-set targets, we need to be careful not to focus too narrowly on the target only. We need to stay open to the unexpected, the new, the signs that a different future might want to unfold that we hadn't imagined when we set the target. Targets, well understood, are like maps that guide toward one possible future. They become problematic when we cling to the road we had set out on even after circumstances have changes and a new roald seems more promising." Pg. 212. 


"Let's look at target-setting as an example: abolishing targets (in the way that Teal organizations do) will raise red flags all around the organization. But you can amend the target setting process in ways that stay within acceptable bounds. Instead of top-down targets, you can ask individuals or teams working "under" you to define their own targets. If, once summed up, the self-set targets fall short of expectations from above, you don't need to be the one raising  the targets. Ask team members to get together and determine, in a peer-based process, which targets could be raised. If the team functions well, you don't even need to be a part of the meeting. Let them come up with the best solution on their own -- after all, the targets will be theirs. Creating a healthy version of the existing, dominant paradigm, like in this example, has a much higher chance of succeeding, and the example could easily spread from your unit to the entire organization." Pg. 239. 


I hope this helps.