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

2.4.2 as applied to a Lead Link role

I've assumed (or heard @ practitioner or coach trainings) that more than one individual cannot be assigned to a lead link role - but I have not been able to find/verify that assumption in the constitution.

Imagine the case of a Role that is assigned to Peter, Paul and Mary. Then the Role is expanded to a Circle. What happens to the existing role assignments?

If more than one lead link is allowed - note the caveat in 2.4.2 "as long as that won’t decrease the clarity of who should enact the Accountabilities and authorities of the Role in common situations" then are both considered lead link or should one be assigned a 'focus' of lead link?

Asking for a friend.

8 Replies
Keith Jarvis

    no responses, sad.

Tom Mulder

Hallo Keith, interesting question. No clarity on it in the Constitution. Also 2.6.3 implies that the same rules apply, so also the multi filled role (2.4.2) that you address. This means that as long as clarity is not decreasing you may assign multiple people to the LL role. Important in that case is that it is absolute clear which Focus is doing which Accountability. 

Would I suggest it to do it this way? No!

I would advice the LL of the Super Circle to assign one of the three people to become the Lead Link because the reason for the creation of the new Circle is to expand the defined role into multiple roles. The assignment of LL is only the result of the creation of this new Circle and has nothing to do with the 3 people filling the current role.

Looking forward on other views from the Holacracy channel on this or a guideline that shows that the Constitution provides clarity. 


Hey [@mention:454478741268114544]

I'm curious about what your friend would want to achieve by having three people as LL?  

It may be that multiple LL-role holders is allowed, but perhaps something else will be clearer. (I am with Tom: "Would I suggest it to do it this way? No!")

>Imagine the case of a Role that is assigned to Peter, Paul and Mary. Then the Role is expanded to a Circle.

I also wanted to add that a role isn't automatically expanded to a circle just because multiple people hold it. Making a role into a circle is a specific action in governance. When a role becomes a circle it can be broken down into more granular roles, in a way that goes beyond what you can achieve with focussed assignments to a single, undifferentiated role. 

Thanks, Andrew 

Keith Jarvis

I'm simply looking for some clarity or interpretation of 2.4.2 or anywhere else that precludes this. I do not think it wise and would never advocate for it. I do of course understand that a circle is not automatically expanded to a circle due to multiple assignment.

Chris Cowan

Hey Keith, 

The answer to your question, "...then are both considered lead link or should one be assigned a 'focus' of lead link?" is, they are BOTH considered Lead Link. 

Avoiding the issue of why it's bad to do this, I can at least say that it is definitely NOT that one of them would have a "focus" of Lead Link, because every role-filler is accountable for ALL of the accountabilities of that role. The focus just specifies some further distinction of application or context to maintain clarity.  I want to clear up [@mention:523162737680436711]'s point, "Important in that case is that it is absolutely clear which Focus is doing which Accountability" because that seems to be based on a misunderstanding. If you're in the role, you're accountable for each accountability of that role.  

Given that, 2.4.2 hopefully makes more sense. 

Keith Jarvis

That does help a bit Chris. I'm thinking that the whole 'as long as that does not decrease the clarity' phrase sort of inherently brings with it a strong argument again co-assigning (or allowing to remain co-assigned, in this instance) the role of lead link. But that it is not specifically precluded until such non-clarity is brought as tension and/or then additionally clarified by use of 'focus' identifying which partner is filling which accountability.


Makes sense that you understand it seems good too to clarify for future readers who might be less experienced than you!

Chris Cowan

[@mention:454478741268114544] Exactly!