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

Changing Legacy Policy

Folks - 

So 5.4 very briefly accomodates pre-existing policies and systems that remain valid after adoption of Holacracy. It states that they lose all weight and authority as soon as Governance is defined that replaces or contradicts them.

Here's our question:

Does new Governance remove a legacy policy in its entirety, or only the part changed/removed/modified?

In other words - can a legacy policy be amended and retained? If yes, can you point me towards proof?

Thanks much!

4 Replies
Chris Cowan
01/05/2018

[@mention:454478741268114544] 

Does new Governance remove a legacy policy in its entirety, or only the part changed/removed/modified? Hard to say in the abstract, but the constitution does say "replace" or "contradict," so if the two are governing different parts, such that the part of the legacy policy wasn't "replaced" or "contradicted," then you could have both. 

I think it has less to do with the specific wording in any given policy, and more to do with "What is being controlled (i.e. the domain the policy applies to), and what system or process is being defined?"  

Keith Jarvis
01/05/2018

Right, thanks Chris - so imagine for simplicity that the legacy policy has a set of definitions. Perhaps think of them A-Z assignments.

A = Antelope, B = Bird, C = Cat, etc.

New governance comes along defining B = Bullfrog.

Does the previous set of definitions

  • get tossed in its entirety, leaving us without A, C, D, E, etc, or
  • get edited to place "Bird" with "Bullfrog"

 

I *hope* that it gets edited, but don't see anything that backs up that wish. I suspect it's either tossed, or that both remain, and that partners have to understand that newer governance overrules legacy policy, and interpret B to mean Bullfrog.

Chris Cowan
01/06/2018

[@mention:454478741268114544] I think I missed your original question, so I'll back up a bit. You asked, "In other words - can a legacy policy be amended AND [emphasis mine] retained? If yes, can you point me towards proof?" The answer to this is, "no;" they can't. The proof is stated in Section 5.4, "In addition, they [the legacy policies] may not be modified or added to in their legacy form."

With that said, yeah, so in that case you could have A, C, D, E, etc. stored as "legacy policy," but B MUST be captured in governance since it was replaced (and would contradict to have B mean two different things). 

Anyone with a role that cares about the confusion of having policies in two different places could also force the early retirement of legacy policies simply by proposing them, as is, in governance. It would be hard for someone to object to that I imagine. And as soon as they are in governance the legacy policy dies ("However, these legacy policies and systems will lose all weight and authority as soon as Governance is defined that replaces or contradicts them.")

Keith Jarvis
01/08/2018

Got it.