My view is that "Individual Action" is enough here - but other people in my company have also felt this tension, and for them Individual Action has not been enough. We therefore have a dictator policy exactly as you suggest. (Our Anchor Circle is called the Board.)
Best wishes, Andrew
Holacracy Suspension Policy
In rare circumstances that are not clear to the author(s) of this policy, it may be necessary to quickly and temporarily suspend Holacracy to ensure the survival of the company.
In a suspension, all Partners are still expected to operate by the rules of Holacracy but a Temporary Dictator with a fixed term is nominated with the explicit authority to bypass any existing policies, strategies, role definitions, and any other feature of Holacracy, for the specific purpose of resolving a problem that threatens the survival of the company. The Temporary Dictator may instruct other Partners to also bypass existing policies, strategies, role definitions, and other Holacracy features.
This process may only be initiated by the current Acting Lead Link of the Board, and must follow the following steps, to be conducted jointly by the Facilitator and the Secretary:
- All shareholders must be notified of the intent to suspend Holacracy, the duration of the suspension, the Temporary Dictator nominee, and the reasons for it, in writing (as well as verbally).
- Shareholders must be given a chance to vote via email response.
- If a shareholder is not responding, there must be diligent attempts to contact them via phone, Facebook, email and any other means apparent to the Secretary.
- Shareholders may request up to 24 hours to make up their mind as to their response.
- At least 50% of the voting shares must support the suspension in order for it to be valid.
- The vote is only concluded when all shareholders have had a chance to vote or 24 hours have elapsed.
This process is deliberately difficult to activate, requiring the Acting Lead Link, the Facilitator and the Secretary to act together and collect votes from the shareholders. The hope and expectation is that this policy will never be needed.
If a Temporary Dictator is elected, then at the earliest convenience after normal company operations are resumed (i.e. the fixed term has ended), the Secretary will schedule one or more enquiry meetings to debrief the process, to be facilitated by the Facilitator, to review whether this policy was invoked for a good reason or whether this could have been avoided. The Facilitator is encouraged to consider inviting people external to GrantTree (e.g. Holacracy coaches we have a relationship with) to provide an external perspective on whether and how this could have been avoided. The proceedings of this meeting must be minuted and published to the whole company as soon as it is legally practical to do so and no longer than 3 months after the end of the enquiry process.