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

Affecting Governance Of Another Circle

During a governance meeting today, someone proposed editing the accountabilities of a role in another circle. As Facilitator, I rejected this as an invalid proposal, even though it did relate to their role. I wasn't super clear, however, on how to best process the tension.

Can the GCC edit accountabilities of roles of sub-circles? My understanding is they can't.

If that's the case, is the expectation that this role - either directly or via a Rep Link - should bring it to the Lead Link of the other circle to propose? What is the Lead Link doesn't agree?

So the overall question is, how do you impact the governance of another circle when it relates to your role/circle?

4 Replies

Hi Fred,


If you fill a role in a sub-circle and want to process a tension that affects a role in another circle “at the same level as yours”, for instance let's say you want to expect something from this other role, than you need to go to the Rep Link and the Rep Link will bring it to the Super-Circle and propose in a governance to add an accountability on the sub-circle (the sub-circle is seen just as a role in the super-circle). Once you've done that, the Lead Link of that sub-circle will take care of the accountability and break it down into one or more roles within its sub-circle. That's the way the holarchy works. It is none of your business whether the Lead Link add that accountability to the role X or Y, it's up to them to figure out that. What you want to make sure however is that the sub-circle itself is accountable for what've asked. If you go directly to the Lead Link of the sub-circle and propose to add an accountability on one of the role of “its” circle, you lose the power of holarchy and the organization misses a chance to evolve because they can remove that accountability at any time. Whereas, if you add the accountability on the entire sub-circle, you make sure that they cannot remove it as they wish, they have to go to the super-circle governance meeting where you have both your Lead Link and Rep Link that can object. Therefore, your circle can object and you can make sure your tension will still be integrate.

Is that clear? It is a bit theoretical I must admit..

Fred Magovern

This is sooo helpful. One of the questions I forgot to post about was what are circle accountabilities in GF. Now I understand!

When the GCC adds an accountability to a sub-circle, and the Lead Link then proposes to assign that to a role, does it move from being assigned from the circle to the role in GF? Can the accountability be edited by the sub-circle?


No, it keeps both, the one on the sub-circle and the one on the role.

The sub-circle can not edit the accountabilities defined by the super-circle (in governance).

Andrea Faré

Great explanation Margaux, If I were in a hurry, I would have probably talked to the Lead Link of the target Circle first, only if one of the following condition was true, I would  then have taken the Rep Link way.

1) Purpose of the Circle in which you want the accountability to be added to a role  not in line with the proposed accountability

2) Purpose is aligned but Lead Link doesn't think new accountability  is relevant to express it 

3) accountability appears and then  is removed but you still need it (for the reason stated by Margaux)

I am interested in your comments, does it make sense, or would you go the "Margaux way "100% of the times?