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

Breakdown & Restoration : HOW?

Folks -

We've been playing the game about 3 1/2 years now, and to date our process breakdowns have been mostly domain violations, with a couple role assignments outside of governance restrictions and sub-circles not meeting regularly. AND, we've got plenty of shadow power issues to work through to get close to a mostly-functional implementation. So now to the question:

What does 3.5.3a 'to restore due process' actually look like beyond re-education? Can anyone provide some examples of what restoration entails?

If Partner A ignored Governance to take actions outside of established procedure (legacy policy) and make decisions in an area of authority clearly delineated as a domain of Partner B's role, what is there to do?

Your input kindly appreciated

 

 

8 Replies
Brian Robertson
03/06/2018

If Partner A ignored Governance to take actions outside of established procedure (legacy policy) and make decisions in an area of authority clearly delineated as a domain of Partner B's role, what is there to do?

Some questions first to help answer your question:  Did Partner A do so willfully (knowing they were violating a rule), or ignorantly (unaware of it)?  If the former, does it fall within the rules of Individual Action, or outside of them (and why)?  Does Partner A agree with your interpretation of those answers?  Does Partner B feel any tension about Partner A's action?

There are completely different pathways that make sense to engage here depending on the answers to those questions...

Ian Forbes
03/07/2018

Really like your reply, Brian. I notice that it involves stepping away from the usual reactions (anger, frustration, blame, punishment) typical of interactions in traditional organisations, and seeks information through simple questions, in order to get data about what happened, and partners' responses.

In effect, it is a means of getting partners back on one of the Holacracy pathways, each of which has a clear process which can be used to resolve a tension. Also, you have not minimised how tricky and difficult things can get. The lesson is the same, for the 'easy' as well as the apparently intractable - find a process, and trust it.

In other words, staying on the Holacracy path might be very hard to do sometimes, but it is always better than being off the path!

Ian

Keith Jarvis
03/07/2018
Brian Robertson posted:

If Partner A ignored Governance to take actions outside of established procedure (legacy policy) and make decisions in an area of authority clearly delineated as a domain of Partner B's role, what is there to do?

Some questions first to help answer your question:  Did Partner A do so willfully (knowing they were violating a rule), or ignorantly (unaware of it)?  If the former, does it fall within the rules of Individual Action, or outside of them (and why)?  Does Partner A agree with your interpretation of those answers?  Does Partner B feel any tension about Partner A's action?

There are completely different pathways that make sense to engage here depending on the answers to those questions...

We've had all flavors of the above, Brian. We've had it where Partner A knew they were violating the rule, and in the recent instance this other Partner A reports ignorance. In each instance the Partner B affected reported tension ranging from apoplexy to annoyance.

How about a flowchart?
"If willfully done -->" 
"If in ignorance -->"
"-->If results in tension -->"
"-->If no resulting tension -->"

Brian Robertson
03/07/2018

I'd love to see someone make a full flowchart like that!  For now, here's my super quick and overly simplified version top-of-head:

  • If no resulting tension [for anyone] --> Do nothing; ignore it
  • If results in tension --> Whoever feels it, process it

 

And if the tension is about someone breaking the rules, then:

  • If in ignorance --> 
    • Educate the person about the rules (there are many paths for this)
  • If willfully done -->
    • Does it qualify as Individual Action?
      • If yes, watch out for your own judgments about it - they are playing by the rules, whether you like it or not; so, just play by the rules yourself and follow one of the pathways in the constitution, such as asking them not to repeat that IA, or to restore the system from it (a whole additional flowchart could go here)
      • If no, fire the person (or warn once, then fire).  To be clear: If you really do have a willful rules violation outside the allowable rules of IA, and your organization tolerates this without strong recourse, your Holacracy adoption will likely fail.  So, setup processes that ensure it isn't tolerated, and be okay terminating the relationship between a partner and the organization if someone willfully violates the rules.


Hope that helps!

Keith Jarvis
03/07/2018

Very helpful, Brian. Yes in this instance it's me as anchor circle facilitator trying to determine what I can reasonably/effectively do vis a vis 'process restoration' - and my own judgments aren't directly at play.

Yes I have them, I'm human - but if I have a responsibility as partner to comply with duties and constraints of constitution and also to audit and resolve conflicts and rule violations then my @Facilitator actions are unrelated to personal opinion.

If you might point me to any of the 'educate about the rules' paths, I'd appreciate. I'd like to find a both/and method that is not a public spanking but is additionally a learning opportunity beyond the individual(s). We have a great deal of (mostly well-intended) shadow power to continue to root out.

Thanks!

Brian Robertson
03/07/2018

Those paths are likely more organization/context dependent; it might be a one-on-one conversation, or maybe a better onboarding program is needed, or some more training on Holacracy, or having everyone go through GlassFrog's Holacracy Habits program together.  Basically, try whatever you think might work, see how well it works, and iterate from there...

Keith Jarvis
03/07/2018

Yes thank you - your response shows I'm thinking on the right track(s) and I value the proactive suggestions.

I've pushed the GlassFrog habits program, required (via partner agreement) basic study and participation in continuing study (both in-house bootstrapping, all we can afford) and not sure what else I can do.

Brian Robertson
03/07/2018

Also consider encouraging more of your team to attend the GlassFrog Coach Office Hours - it's included with your premium subscription, and we have some highly experienced coaches leading those, so it's an awesome way to get high-end coaching on a super low budget (that you're already paying anyway)...