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

How to accept tasks for absent members during Tactical

Hi guys,

While practicing Tactical meetings a question popped up. 

Imagine you're at Triage and someone wants to create a NA for a circle member who is not present at the meeting. What is the correct process to use?

When assigning a Next Action to someone, the facilitator always asks that someone whether or not they accept the NA, right? So, what if that someone is not present? What I'm used to is the facilitator then asking the LeadLink to accept the NA on their behalf. So the NA is still assigned to the absent person, but the LeadLink accepts it for them. If the LeadLink is also not present, the facilitator would usually act as the one accepting on their behalf (but according to Article 4.2.4, this could be anyone).

So is this correct practice? Or do you assign the Next Action to the LeadLink instead?

Someone pointed out that if a circle member is not present they automatically accept, but I wonder, is this true? Another interpretation I heard was that when a role holder isn't there, the LeadLink automatically carries the accountabilities of the circle so the LL acts as their placeholder. 

Curious about your interpretation!

7 Replies
Rachel Hunt
02/26/2019

Interesting question.
I would assume that the Lead Link would accept responsibility for all tasks not specifically accepted by another role, even if the LL is not present. It would then be the LL's responsibility to assign the task to the role filler and get their acceptance of it. 
In practice, I imagine that if the Lead Link was not present at the meeting, they should see the task assigned to them from the meeting notes and then have a discussion with the role filler to assign the task. 
What does everyone else think?

Tom Mulder
02/27/2019

[@mention:549059653898032589] The NA is assigned to the Role. Then the role threaths this request as any other as stated in 4.1.2(b).

The LL (or any participant) act as a replacement for the Role to answer the question: Does this NA fits the Purpose or Accountabilities of your role. If they deem this an yes the NA is assigned to the role but may be treated by the Role filler as just a request as stated in 4.2.1(b)

Tom Mulder
02/27/2019
Rachel Hunt posted:

Interesting question.
I would assume that the Lead Link would accept responsibility for all tasks not specifically accepted by another role, even if the LL is not present. It would then be the LL's responsibility to assign the task to the role filler and get their acceptance of it. 
In practice, I imagine that if the Lead Link was not present at the meeting, they should see the task assigned to them from the meeting notes and then have a discussion with the role filler to assign the task. 
What does everyone else think?

[@mention:580449087370309526]. It is not the role of the LL to asign next actions or Projects. The LL has no authority on that. Roles ask NA and Projects to each other and then the Role filler decides if this is part of the Accountabilities or Purpose of the role. See article 4.1.2(b) for clarification.

Dennis Wittrock
02/27/2019

What's the worst thing that can happen, btw.? 

If an absent role finds a project or next action assigned to them which they don't see in their role, they can simply reject it after the fact - if they provide the reasoning along with it. 

Even if they straight out erase it and don't tell anyone about it, the tension behind the desired outcome will come creeping up again in the future if it is still relevant.

Nevin Danielson
03/07/2019

Perhaps you could consider the facilitator question, "does this action make sense for your role?" as a time-saving step. It allows the role-holder that is being asked to take action (that is in attendance at the meeting) to quickly react and push for more clarity in the moment if a requested action doesn't make sense.

As an example, let's say a role with a purpose of "Training is delivered" is asked to consider taking the action of "training materials are reviewed for typos." In the meeting, they may say that the action simply doesn't make sense. It's outside the scope of their purpose. That will immediately trigger new tensions, such as "there is no role responsible for improving training materials" or, the originating requester realizes, "I have expectations that 'training is delivered' also means training materials are maintained." Those discoveries can generate new, immediate tensions to be processed in the meeting.

If the role-holder representing the "Training is delivered" purpose isn't at the meeting,  what we do with those requests can evolve with what the circle needs. I believe the most efficient, streamlined approach is to capture the action and entrust the role-holder to process it later (without anyone assessing if it "makes sense" during the meeting). That role-holder will (hopefully) process the NA request exactly the same as any other request and say "this doesn't make sense for my role." They then have valid tensions to process... notifying the requester that they aren't doing that work or suggesting changes so that the purpose they fill isn't easily misinterpreted. 

I think I would only suggest my circle invoke additional process (like asking the Lead Link to consider if an action "makes sense" for an absent role) if there's a consistently fuzzy purpose or a consistently absent member and it's causing a lot of processing/follow-up. 

To be fair, all that frustrating, pedantic follow-up caused by an NA being requested in error is where the real benefit lies. If action is requested that doesn't fit, there is an unhelpful expectation somewhere that should be cleaned up. Finding and fixing that misalignment is where the real long-term solution is.

Sam Burnett
03/20/2019

I just want to ensure I am clear that there is nothing in the constitution saying someone has to be present to be assigned a next action? Is that correct? That is how we have been interpreting it.  We assign next actions to the responsible role and then they can address it later if they think it is not a good fit.  

Tom Mulder
03/21/2019

Correct Sam.