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

[@mention:577633875653772077] Great question! Would you be willing to share a specific case you're dealing with? 

Here's my general advice, because from your post I can tell you've already looked into this a bit, so I'll just jump to your question, "Does that mean there's no way to create binding agreements for behavior or relationships?" The answer is simply, "No." 

No, it doesn't mean that. The point of this section is to avoid implicit expectations related to how the roles should interact with each other. That stuff should be made explicit in the governance records. That's the point of it. And even though it's going to be made more clear in version 5, I think there are several different ways you can interpret this section as currently written to do what you need to do.

One reasonable interpretation is that it only applies to 1) "former" and 2) "implicit" agreements. Meaning, change a word and write it down and you can use it. 

Or, consider the behavioral agreement a "basic obligation," like something you might capture in an employment agreement. 

And finally, you could always say that an agreement we have is personal. And therefore even the constitution doesn't have any say over it. If you and I agree to meet for lunch at noon and I just don't show up, well the constitution might not care about that, but I'd bet you'd personally care about that!

So, to take a work example, if I'm always saying I'll be at meetings, but then I never show up, you could share and ask, "Hey, when you flake on meetings it really throws me off, so could you agree to let me know if you're going to bail on a meeting?" And I say, "Yes," then this agreement is neither "former" nor is it "implicit." 

But my big caveat to this is to remember the point of section 4.1.5 which is that this could easily become a loophole to not capture things in governance. So, watch for that, especially for anyone new to the practice. But there's a learning curve no matter what. 


4.1.5 Implicit Expectations Hold No Weight

All of your responsibilities and constraints as a Partner of the Organization are defined in this Constitution, and in the Governance that results from it. No former or implicit expectations or constraints carry any weight or authority, unless a Circle’s Governance explicitly empowers them, or they come from a basic obligation or contractual agreement you personally have to or with the Organization.