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

APP: Police Station

App “Police Station” introduction

Whenever you have a tension that behavior you would really need doesn’t stick in your organization you could apply this App.

Its easy with Holacracy to make something explicit. But it doesn’t immediately shift behavior. And whenever there is talk at the coffee machine or “off the record” along the lines of “it’s so annoying that xyz happens”, or “why do I have to keep asking again and again for xyz”. Then you have a tension.

Whatever the targeted behavior is, whether it is around following finance procedures, to keeping the office in order so we can focus on our work without a nasty smell, to being customer focused first. You want to first make the desired behavior explicit. Just like HolacracyOne has here for their finance process: https://app.glassfrog.com/policies/3632.

In many cases that’s enough. Solving a tension (hence having a clear view of a gap (a “from” vs a “to” situation or “ist” vs “soll”) and then introducing a Policy that makes the “to” desired situation explicit is great. And when we all serve the same purpose this can just do it. Nothing more needed. If the shift doesn’t happen automatic here is an App you could just apply. It’s on purpose explicit and blunt. See it as a spotlight you can put (temporarily) onto something:



Add new Role: Police Station (feel free to define your own role name of course – whether it is Behavior Butterfly or Policy Enforcer)

Purpose: Fluidity


  • Asking other roles to tell (and re-tell) the WHY behind the specific policy whenever you sense it requires more attention
  • Cheerleading desired behavior
  • Putting the spotlight on people who champion the desired behavior already
  • Fining people for not aligning with our agreed policies and redistributing fines to a good cause
  • Keeping track and visualizing “not aligned” behavior in the form of a ranking of number of fines per person (through metrics or eg a whiteboard)
  • Selecting and handing over the role to the next person taking up the @Police_Station role


Add new Policy: Police station rotation

When you fill the role @Police_Station, you can only fill it for a maximum of 2 months. You can only give it back after you assigned it to someone else and handed it over in good order.



In this way, you make even the Police part the shared work of the team and everybody figures out that being the Police Station is actually not fun to do, making the behavior shift even faster and across other topics as well. You could choose to make fine levels and offenses more explicit if you like. You can assign this role to multiple people which each a focus in their role assignment targeting a specific behavior.

There are many ways to put additional attention to behavior you need. This is just one way that I have seen work very well in practice. I also posted this App as an example and invitation if there are different approaches out there!

3 Replies
Andrea Faré

Nice, I like how you elegantly enforce the rotation process by splitting it in a policy component and an accountability component.

Andrei Miron

Nice [@mention:456449141667144364],

Thanks for sharing. It is a pretty elegant way to solve some discipline issues.

Koen Veltman

Thanks [@mention:544274267266420910]. A power shift is much more fun and effective when done together!