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

Andrea, I think the questions you are putting forward are pointing to the major challenge of implementing Holacracy in old orgs. 

I am very much in favor of Mike's approach to put the locus of the choice right back. However, this ultimately is the same thing Tony did at Zappos with his take it or leave it approach and for some organizations a too big leap. Facing the threat of losing loads of experience and know-how at the same time.

Let me add one example on your question of strategies.  

What worked well in one case we faced was intensive coaching in two ways: (1) the logical approach in Holacracy to differentiate his leadership role out into the bundles of work he is doing for the organization. And afterwards creating more clarity on what "functions" of leadership do now reside within the system (typically people management aspects) and which elements of the work are still needed (typically a set of smaller roles - such as investor management, spokesperson, etc.). That helped to move away from the impression "he (as a leader) is not needed anymore". (2) to dig deeper in what are the passions, resources and talents of the respective leader in a coaching session. Many of them have still a yearning for meaningful work - often hands-on. I observed the switch of a CEO who got used to focus his job on delegating and asking the question "who takes care of that?". When he recognized that this is operational work to be done, where actually he is the best fit, it was a big thing for him. He came back with the work done by next morning and felt really proud of what he brought forward. At that point he learned to take on roles that do real work for the organization and he was very happy about that.

- Gerald