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

Anchor Circle Redux

GlassFroggers -

Our nonprofit organization is hybrid Holacracy and will remain so for the forseeable future - an anchor circle running all operations and a board of directors using bylaws/Robert's Rules modified.

Our ratifier (then-Board Chair) did our initial GlassFrog setup, and set up the board as the anchor circle instead of our operations team as the anchor circle - which it clearly is identified as in all the documentation.

SO.  What is the best way for me/us (I'm anchor circle secretary) to undo this and not lose all the other role definitions, sub-circles, projects etc etc?

The only thing I could think of was relocating the Roles in the 'true' anchor circle (lead operating circle) up to the board circle, editing the board circle to have all the same purpose/accountability/domain etc of the lead operating circle, then remove the lead operating circle's empty shell, and finally rename the board circle to lead operating circle.

A shell game, perhaps, and in many ways not especially urgent, but my eons-long term as anchor circle Secretary is coming to an end and I hvae a strong desire to leave an accurate record - one that reflects our true structure - before I go.  Finally the structure and governance record in GlassFrog would be accurate, we wouldn't have a Rep Link to the board, but could elect a Cross link to the Board.

Darnit, I was probably too prosaic again.  Call it a character default.

10 Replies
Karilen Mays

Hey Keith - I think if you hold a governance meeting in your board, remove your highest sub circle, and then retain as a role if needed, plus retain all the policies and roles, that basically re-creates the appropriate anchor circle.

You can rename Board and edit purpose, or whoever LL of Anchor circle is can do that.

Does it sound legit?


You replied faster than me Karilen! That's the type of question I love

Karilen Mays

But do you have other thoughts Margaux?!


No, I would have done the same

Juliane Martina Röll

We did exactly that with Structure & Process a while back, when we removed a "Board" Level that existed above the GCC: Governance Meeting of the Anchor Circle: Restructure the Sub-Circle, pulling up all roles and policies, remove the empty shell of the ex-lower-circle. Close the meeting, then rename and repurpose the Anchor Circle.

OK, you already had all of that, but it was nice to write it up in full again. :-)


So, this is interesting.

I am actually considering doing just the opposite here. We have a GCC with our company, but I want to create a Board circle that sets the vision and strategy for the GCC and also holds the GCC (LL, in particular) accountable to deliver on that vision and mission. This seems to be the way that Glassfrog is setup. 

I'm curious why folks are going in the opposite direction ... is there something fundamentally flawed with this approach that I am not seeing?



Anchor circle in Holacracy can be set up in two different ways, it depends on your company legal structure: 1- With a Lead Link ; 2- Without any Lead Link

You can see on article 5 of the constitution. I think it is more a legal issue than a preference.


Here is the way to create it on GF,  we've just done it with a client yesterday:

1- Open a governance meeting of your GCC

2- Create a role called GCC with the purpose of your company and a clear domain 

Select “Make this role a Circle” and inject all the roles and policies (unless you want to retain some roles/policies at the Board level)


3- Change the name of your “ex GCC” (Broader Circle) by clicking on the wheel beside the name. Call it “Board” and remove the Lead Link

4- Assign the Lead Link to the GCC in the Board Circle.

Keith Jarvis

Grateful for the hearty response and participation - we've been in face-to-face meetings this week and are going to move ahead with approach like the above, in my copious time next week when back home.  


Keith Jarvis

I'm about to do all this, folks - and am terrified that I will lose all the History in my 'true anchor circle/currently a subcircle' when I work all this through. 

Is there a way to export/save all history, or would I have to rely on my email notifications as a backlog?

Karilen Mays

Keith, I am not sure if you will lose access to the the history of your current Anchor Circle; there is a chance it may not be accessible after this move. 

I would write GlassFrog Customer Support if anything goes awry or now with that question if you haven't made the move yet! http://glassfrog.com/contact/