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

3.2.2 and 3.2.3 : practising issues

Hi Everyone,

I think we are mispractising this part of the constitution : 

https://github.com/holacracyon...-for-valid-proposals

I think, we need some feedback.

Some actual cases : 

  • Tension : I don't know who to ask to do this "thing"
    • Proposal we used to accept : Add Acc to Role X to do this "thing"
    • How we should handle this :
      • Why don't you "do this thing" yourself as long as you respect domains .... ?
      • You want to add an Acc to another Role, have you been granted permission by the Role X to change his role ?
      • Don't you want to create a new role instead of modifiying an existing one without permission ?
  • Tension : I have to do "this", but I don't want to. 
    • Proposal we used to accept : Add Acc to Role X to do "this"
    • How we should handle this :
      • Same as above
  • Tension : I interpret that with your Acc you have to do this. But you said to me that my interpretation is wrong. I want to clarify the gouvernance with or without your approval
    • Proposal we used to accept : Modify Acc on Role X (without permission)
    • How we should handle this : same as above
  • Tension : The name of your role is bad, I don't like it
    • Proposal we used to accept : Modify Role X name (without permission)
    • How we should handle this : 
      • Facilitator should discard this proposal
  • Tension : This thing is wrong and is not working
    • Proposal we used to accept : It has to change
      • We accepted it, as it allows us to go through the process until  Amend & Clarify
      • Then, a "new" proposal is made
      • Should the facilitator test proposal here all the time ? Or at the begining ? 
      • I guess, with all cases listes above, the right place to test proposals is in Amend & Clarify

 

What do you think of all this cases ? 
How do you practise these section of the constitution ? 

Again thanks a lot for your help

 

13 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode
08/11/2017

Hi Imrane,

Hard to give you an answer case by case.

Mainly, just keep in mind a few milestones,
• Be sure that the tension is grounded in day to day activity of the organization
• Try to express the tension trough this user story format:
"As <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>."
• Ask for a tension driven starting  proposal, even weird
• Rely in the governance process as a "grinder"

Perhaps could you attend to the next coach office hours session.

Hope that helps.

Imrane DESSAI
08/11/2017

Thanks for your answer

I'll try to join the next coach office hours. 

 

Margaux
08/13/2017

Hi Imrane,

 

Difficult to answer “in theory” without a concrete case but here are some of the answers I can give:

 

  • Tension : I don't know who to ask to do this "thing"
    • Proposal we used to accept : Add Acc to Role X to do this "thing"
    • How we should handle this : You don't have to handle it. All you can do is ask clarifying questions during that Clarifying Questions step or use your reaction round to express your thoughts
      • Why don't you "do this thing" yourself as long as you respect domains .... ? It sounds like a reaction here. In my reaction round, I may remind the person that she can do it but if she doesn't have the competencies or if it makes sense that another role does it (because we gain some time or because it is more appropriate or...), adding an accountability to that role is the perfect move. Explicit, explicit, explicit. 
      • You want to add an Acc to another Role, have you been granted permission by the Role X to change his role ? You actually don't need the role's permission to propose to add an accountability. If it limits one of your role, than you can propose anything in governance, even if it implies modifying another role.
      • Don't you want to create a new role instead of modifiying an existing one without permission ? Again, don't need the role's permission. Te person filling the role can always object if it makes sense. Creating a new role vs adding an accountability on an existing one? Well, it really depends if it is obvious that a specific role should do it, I would add it to that role (even if not aligned with the purpose because an accountability doesn't have to be aligned on the purpose, it is another dimension). If not obvious, then let's create a new role and maybe later, we will restructure and merge it with another role but at least we can move forward.
  • Tension : I have to do "this", but I don't want to. 
    • Proposal we used to accept : Add Acc to Role X to do "this"
    • How we should handle this :
      • Same as above See my previous answers AND “I don't want to” is not a tension. The person has to give a specific and concrete example of a situation where she was limited in her role(s). If she just doesn't want to do it, she may resign from her role and inform the Lead Link but governance is not about people, it is about roles and the organization. 
  • Tension : I interpret that with your Acc you have to do this. But you said to me that my interpretation is wrong. I want to clarify the gouvernance with or without your approval
    • Proposal we used to accept : Modify Acc on Role X (without permission)
    • How we should handle this : same as above Before going to governance, you can also ask the Secretary to give his/her interpretation which will trump all of your interpretation until the next governance meeting. Then, good move to bring it to governance to clarify.
  • Tension : The name of your role is bad, I don't like it
    • Proposal we used to accept : Modify Role X name (without permission)
    • How we should handle this : 
      • Facilitator should discard this proposal The facilitator can only discard a proposal if it doesn't meet the criterias defined in the constitution. Here as a Facilitator, I may ask during the Clarifying Questions step: “could you give us a concrete situation of your tension?”, “does it limit one of your role?”. If the person fails to answer these questions (i.e. doesn't give an answer or say “no, I don't have a concrete situation” or “no, it doesn't limit one of my role”), I will discard it because she just told me it wasn't a valid proposal based on the constitution's criterias.
  • Tension : This thing is wrong and is not working
    • Proposal we used to accept : It has to change
      • We accepted it, as it allows us to go through the process until  Amend & Clarify
      • Then, a "new" proposal is made
      • Should the facilitator test proposal here all the time ? Or at the begining ?  Testing the validity of the proposal is actually to test if the tension is valid to be processed, not the result. For the result, the facilitator can always raise NVGO objection because it wouldn't be a valid result to be processed in the governance meeting. For testing the validity of the proposal, the facilitator (or anyone) doesn't have to wait for the amend & clarify step, anyone can ask questions during the Clarifying Questions step.
      • I guess, with all cases listes above, the right place to test proposals is in Amend & Clarify Nop, would be infringing the process and the Facilitator can't do that

 

I hope it gives you some keys to understand in more depth this part of the process. It is tricky though so if you don't understand it all, it is normal.

Please feel free to ask more questions and the more you are specific about the case, the easier it will be for us as coach to help you. There are so many scenarios in Holacracy and you never really know. The facilitator has to be neutral and not judge nor discard a proposal just because he mentally think it is not valid.

I am curious: did you attend the practitioner training or coach training? We dive in more depth during the coach training.

Margaux
08/13/2017

[@mention:450538002759581166] I am curious about the part “• Try to express the tension trough this user story format:
"As <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>."”

I don't use it and as a Facilitator I don't want to give the proposer such a frame. So I am curious to learn more: does it come from [@mention:449693036223847456] as a tip?

Imrane DESSAI
08/13/2017

Hi  [@mention:449693036337664795]

Your answer was just perfect. We have some doubt about our iterpretation on this part of the constitution : when and how a Facilitator can discard a proposal ?

“could you give us a concrete situation of your tension?”, “does it limit one of your role?” : seems to be clear enough 

One of our colleague attended "practionner" but we are interested in a coach training (I hear something about begining of 2018 )

Margaux
08/13/2017

Hi Imrane,

 

For the Coach Training, depends if you want it in french. If so, I am the one organizing it and I will definitely schedule it soon. The pre requisite is to attend a Practitioner Training though... We cover a lot of the basics during that training as your colleague may have told you.

Re your question, I will give you the wording in french since it seems like your native language: https://igipartners.com/constitution-holacracy#art323 (for english speakers: https://www.holacracy.org/constitution#art323)

3.2.3 Tester les Propositions

Le Facilitateur peut tester la validité d’une Proposition en posant des questions au Proposeur. Pour que la Proposition passe le test, le Proposeur doit être en mesure de décrire la Tension et de donner un exemple de situation réelle, actuelle ou passée, dans laquelle la Proposition aurait déjà permis de réduire cette Tension et d’aider le Cercle de l’une des manières autorisées par la section précédente. Le Facilitateur doit abandonner la Proposition s’il estime que le Proposeur n’a pas rempli ces conditions.

Toutefois, pour évaluer la validité d’une Proposition, le Facilitateur peut seulement juger si le Proposeur a présenté l’exemple et les explications qui sont requis, et si ceux-ci ont été présentés selon un raisonnement logique et sont donc raisonnables. Le Facilitateur ne peut pas porter de jugement quant à leur exactitude, ni juger si la Proposition est susceptible de traiter la Tension.”

It is not written when the Facilitator can do that but since he cannot infringe the process, just like anyone, the obvious step to do it is during Clarifying Questions. During that step, I may, as a Facilitator, ask questions (like anyone) like: “could you remind us your tension underline this proposal?”, or “which role is limited by the tension you are feeling?”. If, given the answers, it is clear that the tension doesn't limit one of the person's role, I would ask: “did you get permission from the role who is limited by this tension to process it?” (here we are not talking about the role stated in the proposal but the role who should feel the tension because if you are allowed to process a tension for the sake of another role because he gave you the permission to, it is ok). If, that person is not authorized or doesn't have a concrete situation, it is a “mental” tension, based on speculation or nothing, just a good idea, than I have the clue that it doesn't respect the constitution's criteria of a valid tension to be processed in a governance meeting and I can drop the item directly. As a Coach, I will also give a bit of explanations here, this is why it is crucial to get support from a Coach, otherwise people will feel like the Facilitator can drop any proposal when he wishes to.

Again, as a Facilitator, you have to be neutral and seek for an argument without judging it. If the person says: “yes it does limit my role X”, you can't judge whether it is true or not, all you can ask is: “ok, what specifically? the purpose? which accountability?”. You are a curious scientist trying to help the person figure out whether it is a valid tension to be processed or not.

Margaux
08/13/2017

And also, one thing: at the beginning, as a Coach, I would not test the proposals, just because Holacracy is hard enough and the governance process is already very complex so if a person brings a tension, I don't want to stop her directly and get her frustrated with the process. If she brings a change, it is already great and before, in previous versions of the Constitution, this paragraph didn't even exist, we couldn't test the proposals.

It is very useful though if you have a some people with great mental ideas coming from their background but not grounded on the company's reality, to prevent them from spoiling your governance records with “might happen” kind of stuff.

The goal is not to prevent tensions from being processed, but rather to put clarity on the fact that it is based on a reality, a concrete situation (a tension is a gap between what IS and what could be) and that it does limit the organization because the person is sensing it in her roles and she works in it on a day-to-day basis. Good bye to the great saviours, feeling everything for the sake of everyone

Imrane DESSAI
08/13/2017

Indeed, it will be in French.

I'll try to attend practionner course first so that we can be 2 at the coach course in our organization. (having successed Holacracy Practionner Assessment doesn't count ? )

Your answer shows me how important is coaching. Indeed starting discarding proposal in early adoption is counter-productive.

But we have many time the behavior you discribed : the great saviours, feeling everything for the sake of everyone

We know now to handle properly this type of proposal. We called it "designing the governance for nothing"

Margaux
08/13/2017

Hi Imrane,

 

Yes, I am afraid you need to attend the Practitioner Course. Congratulations on succeeding on the assessment though

I love the term “designing the governance for nothing” and if everyone can understand the concept and laugh about, then it is won!

 

If you need some support to register or being kept informed, please let me know and I will do the necessary

Jean-Michel Gode
08/13/2017

@Margaux,

The tips "As <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>." comes from Alexia Bowers.

Her article on the COP here "Idea for tension description format from agile software development"

From my perspective, this tip is inspiring as it supports the tension holder to express the motion from the actual situation to the ideal situation, the benefit for the circle and the role s/he is speaking from.

Furthermore, it supports the practitioner in this Holacracy Habit: schifting from "a complaining" stance to a "try to solve/process " stance.

Regards.

Margaux
08/13/2017

Thank you

Brian Robertson
08/14/2017

Capturing a tension and associated desire in that format forces getting some more clarity, which can be useful. That said, I usually wouldn't recommend it for new practitioners - it's more than is needed and I'd worry it would contribute to triggering Holacracy overwhelm.  But I think it's a great tool for some people at certain points in their Holacracy journey, or when you want to convey the tension more effectively to others...

Margaux
08/15/2017

Thanks Brian!