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

Hi Sam, 

yes, these are the two major ways of capturing that I am aware of as well. 

Either you add a verb to the statement (what you call "directive statement") or you try to leave the verb out - then it usually sounds more aspirational. Both works, although I personally prefer the latter, if possible. 

The third option is to leave the purpose unspecified and only flesh out accountabilities instead. That's the quick and dirty version - or rather 'minimally sufficient' version. 

Having an (aspirational) purpose is useful though because it subsumes all kinds of (potential) accountabilities on a more abstract level that leaves considerable wiggle room for creative interpretation of the role filler. That's where novelty can enter the picture. Leaving out the purpose might feel limiting since the only data point left are the more concrete accountabilities (which still have some room for interpretation of course, but less so).

Sometimes purposes sound like accountabilities - especially in circles new to Holacracy. In that case, one can pull back and ask "what does this 'purpose' serve? Why is it there? What's behind it?" Repeat these questions with the new answers as often as needed until you hit 'purpose rock bottom', i.e. you found a statement that cannot be further abstracted, with no deeper layer 'under' it. 

hope this was useful. Let me know what you think. 

best, 

Dennis