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Chart Holacracy / Sociocracy revisited, December 8, 2011

December 8, 2011 - 2:57pm
Christian Ruether

 

Dear Folks,

 

I am a new member here and was member of the sociocratic center in Germany for three years.

I updated the chart of Bernard Marie from my point of view to give an impulse in the discussion.

 

For me it is about clear distinction, not a better/worse - for me they are both valuable with some different approaches both helping to change business/organisation as usual.

 

Unfortunally I didn´t get the table here to be seen, so I uploaded it on my homepage:

 

http://christianruether.com/wp...racyHolacracy-CR.pdf

 

Comments are very welcome.

 

Looking forward to a fruitful discussion

 

December 8, 2011 - 10:56pm #1

Bernard Marie Chiquet

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

 

Hi Christian,

 

Thanks for contribution. We are in the same spirit of honoring both and make clarity on what are their specifics. Bernard Marie

 

December 9, 2011 - 12:19am #2

Christian Ruether        

 

Here is an google doc for everyone to write in it to get other point of views together:

 

ChartSociocracyHolacracy-CR.doc - https://docs.google.com/docume...pUGQTLr24zK1d7k/edit

 

December 9, 2011 - 7:59am #3

Brian Robertson         

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

 

Hi Christian,

 

Hmm, looks like there are a few details off in your edits (e.g. in Holacracy neither the facilitator nor the group has authority to judge validity of objections), though more significantly I'm not seeing the core paradigm shift of Holacracy captured in the comparison (e.g. tension means something quite different than the definition you've highlighted for sociocracy, and thus despite the same word, the two methods here are extremely different; and similar for the "governance" comparison).  Moreover, I'd say Holacracy is at least as different from Sociocracy as Sociocracy is different from a conventional business structure, or likely significantly moreso, though I don't see the reasons this is so captured in your comparison, where it was in Bernard Marie's version (with all the limits of language for capturing such things of course, including using the same word for different meanings, so it may not have been visible if you didn't already know what to look for).

 

This is no fault of yours though - so far I've been quite unsucessful at conveying this core paradigm leap outside of our 5-day training or an implementation engagement, and it's rare that someone picks it up from just our public materials or even our intro workshops.  I'd love to find a way to convey it more effectively and with less engagement required, though so far such a way has eluded me.  And without that understanding held, it looks like there are just minor differences between the two, which is not the case (in the same way a conventionally-grounded businessman might look at sociocracy and see it as just some tweaks on the conventional model, while missing the core paradigm shift it entails; they might both use words like "people" and "team", however I believe Sociocracy enfolds and embraces a different and more encompassing meaning-making around those distinctions - the words point to something much deeper when used in the context of Sociocracy than in our conventional approach, the latter of which comes from a paradigm that fails to see much interiority/depth in people or the systemic benefits of the capacities that emerge from a true "team" of interconnected individuals working in flow).

 

Likewise, I see a major leap in paradigm at play in Holacracy, and many tangible effects of that in the practice of the methods, which is what I'm holding when I say Holacracy is an evolutionary leap beyond Sociocracy.  I wouldn't use the word "better" - my intent isn't to assert a value judgment, as that would depend heavily on the context and there are some contexts where that leap is not useful, and something coming from it less useful than something earlier.  I would use the words earlier and later, to capture the directionality of such evolutionary emergence - in the same way I'd say Sociocracy is "later" or enfolds an evolutionary leap beyond the conventional approach (it's more of a holarchic directionality I'm pointing to than a sequential one, although that's true too).

 

To echo one of my comments in the recording with Bernard Marie, you can have a conventional founder/leader choose to run his organization with Sociocracy without violating the norms or rules of that conventional paradigm, but the reverse is not true - if a conventional leader decided to make all decisions themselves and ignore others, that would be a violation of Sociocracy's pattern.  Likewise, you could have a group operating from Sociocracy consent to running the organization with Holacracy without violating any of its core rules, but the reverse is not true - if the group fell back to demanding consent among the people, that would be a violation of Holacracy's core pattern.  And, each leap enfolds more and deeper capacities as well.  Hence, directionality.

 

Hope that's helpful,

 

- Brian

 

December 9, 2011 - 9:22am #4

Michael Dobbins         

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

 

This is no fault of yours though - so far I've been quite unsucessful at conveying this core paradigm leap outside of our 5-day training or an implementation engagement, and it's rare that someone picks it up from just our public materials or even our intro workshops.  I'd love to find a way to convey it more effectively and with less engagement required, though so far such a way has eluded me.

 

 

 

I believe that "understanding" Holacracy from a conventional organization experience is a lot like "understanding" calculus with only knowledge of basic algebra.  If you can solve the problem of conveying these types of concepts quickly to the general population, you can put a lot of universities out of business.

 

Seeing the value can come quickly, but real understanding takes a lot of hard work and experience.

 

BTW, awesome overview of the core differences, Brian.

 

mike

 

December 9, 2011 - 10:05am #5

Christian Ruether        

 

Dear Brian,

 

it´s true, that I don´t have much experience in Holacracy, I´ve read the articles, I´ve attende the online-introduction-workshop with you and talked a bit with Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller and on the other hand you also don´t have much experience in Sociocracy :-).

So it`s quite difficult to meet on the bridge, when the other person don´t have the same experience as the other.

I see that you highlight the paradigm shift between old economics and the new approaches like theory u and holacracy. For myself I also see sociocracy in the paradigm shift and at the moment there are no real main differences between socicocracy and holacracy from my point of view (with my background and not much experience of holacracy).

For me sociocracy is like the new nacked man and holacracy is like the new man in fancy, excuisite clothes.

 

But let´s got into detail.

 

Who decides whether a objection is valid or not? And what is the difference between consent and no valid objection in Holacracy?

 

And what is the evolutional step from sociocracy to holacracy? I didn´t catch it.

 

What is the difference between tension in sociocracy and holacracy??

 

I attended the introduction Online workshop and experienced to facilitations and both ended with a person getting tasks and the permission to solve the problems on a operational way. That seems quite easy to get in solving tension. So I don´t experienced finding a policy solution in that training.

 

I really like to stick to specific aspects to understand the differences so perhaps you can rewrite the chart to make it more clear, how holacracy is different.

 

My intention is really to understand and to value both approaches as helpful next step to humanity and business world. If I understand, I also could agree the holacracy is two steps and sociocracy is only one step, no problem, but I need to understand specifically. And I am open to see the beauty of holacracy...

 

Perhaps we can talk sometime on the phone or meet in Vienna, if you are there in february.

 

I am also considering attending the practioner-workshop in Frankfurt, so we`ll perhaps meet there...

 

And I guess also for you it is important to elaborate more clearly the differences between both, as you said, that you were struggeling with this. And our dialogue might help.

 

All the best

Christian

 

December 9, 2011 - 12:49pm #6

Margaux Chiquet         

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

 

Hi Christian,

 

I suggested you listen to the call between Brian & Bernard Marie because all is explain within it and Bernard Marie is an expert of both method: sociocracy & holacracy™. He practiced sociocracy for a long time.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Margaux

 

December 9, 2011 - 1:24pm #7

Christian Ruether

 

Dear Margaux,

 

can you help me with the concrete answers, i didn´t hear it in the talks recorded. I mean the really concrete answers to my questions or concrete differences like it is posted in the chart. I can´t find it.

 

At 14.20 Bernhard Marie explans some differences, that I don´t aggree with from my understanding of sociocracy - look at my chart at:

 

http://christianruether.com/wp...racyHolacracy-CR.pdf

 

Can you send me the timeline of the answers??

 

I also have about four years of experience in the sociocratic center germany and was on the way to become a sociocratic consultant.

 

All the best

 

Christian

 

December 9, 2011 - 1:42pm #8

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

 

The only and biggest issue with Holacracy™ is that it is a practice built from practice. Trying to convey it cognitively is just a huge  challenge...  We can just approach a sense of it by exquisite metaphors. It is like learning how to walk from a powerpoint! Isn't it a challenge.

 

And i fully agree with Michael when he writes "Seeing the value can come quickly, but real understanding takes a lot of hard work and experience."

 

Bernard Marie

 

December 9, 2011 - 1:53pm #9

Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller         

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Hi Bernard Marie,

 

I'm totally with you. We experience that work daily and it is hard work - but so inspiring and it unfolds in beautiful steps! The clarity of seperating people on one side and the organization on the other seems to be very different in Holacracy™ than in Sociacracy. But them I have really nothing to say in that field, as I know MUCH too little about Sociacracy.

 

All the best,

 

Christiane

 

December 9, 2011 - 4:57pm #10

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

Hi Christian - Comments below:

 

"it´s true, that I don´t have much experience in Holacracy, I´ve read the articles, I´ve attende the online-introduction-workshop with you and talked a bit with Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller and on the other hand you also don´t have much experience in Sociocracy :-)."

 

... which is why I wouldn't create a chart comparing the methods...  :-)  Although, I do have some experience from which to speak - in addition to some more academic/cognitive study of it, I did adopt Sociocracy in my company, run the company with it "by the book" for awhile, hired an experienced sociocracy consultant (John Buck) to come in and help optimize our usage of it, and got his assessment that we were already using it well and knew what we were doing.  That's still quite limited experience compared to what Bernard Marie brings, although it's enough for me to feel fairly comfortable speaking about Sociocracy at least to some degree, and so far I haven't heard anything from those more experienced than I which has me doubting my understanding.

 

"For me sociocracy is like the new nacked man and holacracy is like the new man in fancy, excuisite clothes."

 

To offer an alternate metaphor along these lines that captures my sense of it, starting with Holacracy as the new man in fancy clothes, I'd say Sociocracy looks quite a bit more like a different species entirely, perhaps a chimp (I don't mean that in a demeaning way - I like chimps).  That chimp is quite good at what it has evolved to do, a master of its worldspace, and it's been around a lot longer than this fancy-looking new human - which is barely just an evolutionary blip on the radar so far.  The chimp also has a whole lot in common structurally with that human (I've heard 98% of the DNA is identical).  From the chimp's perspective, the human probably isn't all that different at all - less hair, slightly different shape, a little more effective legs for walking (but not so good at climbing).  But from the human's perspective, they are quite different - the human has access to a whole new world, one which the chimp can barely experience at all: language, complex thought & reasoning, poetry, mathematics, the realm of mind...  There's an evolutionary leap there, a new layer of capacity and a whole new world to explore - it's not a "better chimp", or a "chimp in fancy clothes", but a qualitatively different beast altogether, one which reaches into a different worldspace of experience; it  looks nearly identical only from one direction.

 

I see such beauty in that leap that Holacracy brings as you can probably tell, and while I often enjoy sharing my experiences, my goal isn't to convince and there's no need to take my word for it anyway; experience it for yourself if you'd like, use it if it's useful to you, and if it still looks the same to you, dismiss me as crazy or delusional and ignore it...  :-)

 

"I really like to stick to specific aspects to understand the differences so perhaps you can rewrite the chart to make it more clear, how holacracy is different."

 

Actually, I thought Bernard Marie's version of the chart was nicely done and captured my understanding well, so I wouldn't have much to rewrite beyond what he already wrote.  Of course the real issue at play here is what he meant by the words he used - by the distinctions and comparisons he was making.  I think it's reasonably safe to assume Bernard Marie understands Sociocracy well given his background, however whether or not you agree, here's a thought: If you hold that assumption as true for now, and take for a given that Bernard Marie understands Sociocracy well, then we can assume the words he choose to describe Sociocracy in his comparison chart were specifically for the purpose of drawing new distinctions to contrast it to Holacracy and point out the differences.  So, the really valuable question might be, what is it about Holacracy that led Bernard Marie to choose the words he did to describe Sociocracy?  In other words, if you assume you and he share an understanding of Sociocracy and are just using different words to capture that same understanding, then the key inquiry for understanding Holacracy becomes: what is he trying to point to in comparison to describe Holacracy?  Forgive me if this line of thinking doesn't work for you, just a thought...

 

"I attended the introduction Online workshop and experienced to facilitations and both ended with a person getting tasks and the permission to solve the problems on a operational way."

 

Although this is how people often remember it from the lenses they view the experience through ("a person getting tasks"), this is not what happened in the governance meeting simulation (just in the tactical meeting simulation) - governance meetings are not allowed to make specific operational decisions nor to assign tasks to do.  They are only allowed to define "governance outputs", such as Accountabilities, which are an entirely different construct than what most people mean by "tasks".  As soon as you allow an operational decision or an action to be defined from a governance space, you have actually undermined what I call governance in the first place and made it impossible for that governance to have deep meaning, which is why Sociocracy says "leader decides" operationally - doing otherwise in a sustained, across-the-organization way is nearly impossible (this warrants a lot more explanation than I can give it right now, so perhaps a topic for another time, though I'll add that my own awareness of this point came from actual practice of sociocracy and hitting its limits).  In fact, even the concept of "leader" points to the huge difference that stems from this - Sociocracy overlays the conventional leadership hierarchy; Holacracy does not, and the concept of "leader", relevant in both a conventional business structure and sociocracy, becomes no longer a meaningful distinction in the practice of Holacracy.

 

"Who decides whether a objection is valid or not? And what is the difference between consent and no valid objection in Holacracy?

 

And what is the evolutional step from sociocracy to holacracy? I didn´t catch it.

 

What is the difference between tension in sociocracy and holacracy??"

 

I'd like to help further, though this isn't an effective forum for conveying these more than I've already tried, at least not with the time/energy I have available, and the purely cognitive conveyance of an online forum is probably not the right tool anyway - what could take me months to convey even a taste of in writing, takes 5 days in the simulated experiences of our Certification Training, or just hours when I'm actually implementing Holacracy with a real organization (to convey the taste anyway, the sustained habit shifts take a lot longer and usually a lot of unlearning along the way)...

 

"My intention is really to understand and to value both approaches as helpful next step to humanity and business world. If I understand, I also could agree the holacracy is two steps and sociocracy is only one step, no problem, but I need to understand specifically. And I am open to see the beauty of holacracy...

 

Perhaps we can talk sometime on the phone or meet in Vienna, if you are there in february.

 

I am also considering attending the practioner-workshop in Frankfurt, so we`ll perhaps meet there..."

 

I appreciate the intention and the openness you describe, and I understand the desire to understand.  I'm booked up during my very short stay in Vienna and have many priorities competing for all-too-limited attention between now and then, though I'd welcome the opportunity to engage whenever our paths do cross, and of course were you to join us in Frankfurt I'd do my very best to give you a taste of the beauty I see in Holacracy and the novel distinctions and spaces it offers.

 

All the best,

 

- Brian

 

December 9, 2011 - 11:36pm #11

Christian Ruether         

 

Dear Brian,

 

so this forum seems not to be the place for a deeper discussion about the differences of both approaches, there is no time to talk on the phone or meet in vienna, only at the certification training?

 

On the one hand I can really understand the limits of space and time :-) On the other hand I really would enjoy an talk on the same level with an open heart and mind. And for this, the certification training in not the place, afterward perhaps. There are people like to learn holacracy and not  compare to other things, I guess.

 

For getting a taste of holacracy this could be the fist best approach to attend the training and work with Christiane.

 

I was member of the sociocratic center in Germany for about three years and experienced the practise of sociocracy - it´s also a practise. And I guess that Bernard Marie and me have different stages of knowledge in sociocracy.

And I would differentiate between your personal experiences from sociocracy and holacracy and a general comparison between both. Bernard Marie and you make this shift from sociocracy as you understand to holacracy, but this is not to be generalized. For example you missed the norms like you said in the talk, 39.30. The norms are the core knowledge of sociocracy like a small bible.

 

I guess your knowledge of holacracy also differs from the one of Bernard Marie, cause you have more experience. And I really saw in his chart expressions, that would not fit to the knowledge I found in the centers perspective. But I can be wrong.

Perhaps Bernard Marie can define his words better for me or we both can do the talks offline. 

 

Perhaps next time you can make a talk with John Buck or Pieter van de Meche (my teacher from the sociocratic center holland), if you like compare or get an deeper understanding of sociocracy on the same level. Then you have to different views with lots of experience in the different fields. This would be very interesting for me :-)

 

I am a bit sad not getting the answers I asked in the concrete form, but this is the reality. I can live with it, but still be disappointed not having the talk on a specific level. Perhaps Bernard Maria has the time and space, otherwise I´ll to do it with others offline and looking forward to practioniers who have time and space to do so. Please contact me.

 

All the best

 

Christian

 

December 10, 2011 - 8:30am #12

Deborah Boyar  

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Hi Christian,

 

I feel able to answer one of the concrete questions I'm hearing you asking:

 

Who decides whether a objection is valid or not?

 

It's ultimately the person raising the objection who determines if it is valid or not.  The facilitator asks the person raising the objection certain questions to help him/her make that assessment.  The criteria on which the questions are based can be found in the Holacracy Constitution in Section 3.7.4 (at the bottom of page 8 of the pdf download).  These criteria represent nuanced distinctions that in turn relate to other facets of Holacracy™ that are conveyed at the Certification Training and, ultimately, gleaned only through the lessons of a life of practice. 

 

The Holacracy™ Constitution, and our words in this forum, can point to the parts of a disassembled body on the autopsy table, yet that body looks very different when it is making love, digesting food, running, jumping, or simply breathing quietly and working at a computer.

 

As I'm not an expert in sociocracy, I can't comment on anything else that's been surfaced here, but I would like to acknowledge all the energy and time Brian has generously invested in this thread to give an outstanding contextual overview of this evolving landscape, while honoring the impossibility of conveying territory through a map.

 

At some point, we'll be offering a Community of Practice call on the topic of Testing & Integrating Objections; that would be an optimal context in which to learn more and explore this issue further. And, of course, this topic is certainly lived and breathed from the inside out at the Certification Training.

 

In commitment to evolution and understanding, and wishing you well,

 

Deborah

 

December 10, 2011 - 9:36am #13

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

The difficulty Christian is that I don't hear you asking for concrete answers, I hear you asking for understanding, and asking for it only in comparison to an existing paradigm and mental model you're holding (Sociocracy) which is getting in the way of that understanding.  If you drop that mental model and seek to understand Holacracy just for what it is, and if you succeed at finding that understanding, then the differences will be self-evident.  To the extent you have concrete questions about Holacracy - ones which aren't an effort to see it through the lens of Sociocracy or compare the two - then post those questions to the Q&A forum here and see what you get in response.

 

As for me and my time, you are right, I am not that interested in exploring the similarities and differences between Holacracy and Sociocracy further than I already have.  To me they are obvious and there's little left to explore, so the main reason I do it is to help others, in case there's another person like Bernard Marie out there looking for a next-step beyond Sociocracy.  And even for that I have limited energy I'm willing to put in, as awhile back I invested a good deal of time and energy into engaging with several members of the Sociocracy community, and it wasn't that useful.  I found most of the people I engaged with were quite personally attached to Sociocracy, and personally attached to Holacracy not being that different or the two being "different but equal", whatever the actual reality, and coming from enough bias as to cloud any search for the truth of the matter; some were so attached as to be downright hostile from the start, which is not an energy I was interested in engaging with.  And even when I found openness, I did not find much capacity to put down their current lenses and mental models enough to understand Holacracy anyway, and so those dialogs were rarely useful either.

 

Thus, those investments didn't pay off and I ran out of time and energy I was willing to invest in that direction, so now I limit how much effort I spend in that general focus.  I've gone significantly beyond what I've usually been willing to do here around this topic, as you took the effort to join our community and ask, and I hope that it's been useful to you and that you find the information and understanding you seek.

 

Regards,

 

- Brian

 

December 10, 2011 - 10:09am #14

Christian Ruether         

 

Dear Brian,

 

the concrete questions would be around my adjustements in the chart, what your point of view is and some concrete questions I asked in the last posts - one Deborah tried to answer and I am grateful for that.

 

I can absolutly understand your experiences with sociocratic people and I by myself have a little little part inside me, who don´t like this "modern style of sociocracy". I regret that there was no open dialogue until now between representatives of holacracy and sociocracy.  Imagining all the tasks and topics you can choose to put energy on, I also can understand that you draw a line and focus on other things.

 

I also got the half-information, that the struggle between sociocracy and holacracy has to do with some legal stuff around this topic - but I don´t know anything special.

 

And I also have my sociocratic lenses, of course and I am also curious to see the world with holacratic lenses. My old sociocratic part says "Okay, holacracy is 80% sociocracy with some cool adjustements" and I also listen to you and Bernard-Marie talking about a evolutional change.

 

I got a glimpse of it. I assume you mean this other state mind, when you are a role/position in serving the organisational purpose and forgetting the personal Me/Ego for this moment. You are in that state of mind part of a huge bigger organism and contribute to the emerging purpose. There is no ego there, you´re only energy with a direction, part of a bigger whole and serve. This state of mind I find very attractive and appealing and perhaps this might be the new lenses.

 

I really like respect and valuing both approaches and sometimes my sociocratic part feels hurt with examples like the chimp or the relation of old business to sociocracy is the same as sociocracy to holacracy. This sounds very much like better/ worse and I really like equivalence of both approaches, perhaps for different types of organisations or diffenrent types of persons. And this I also was missing in your talks with bernard Marie. Without sociocracy there would be no holacracy. On the personal level its quite often to really honor the parents even if the child has grown and has evolved in a special way...

 

The chart also could help to really distinguish the specialities between both, as you said, you often get the feedback that both seems similar. But this is for the mind to grasp it and often approaches are not matter of minds or difficult to describe.

 

So all the best und perhaps we meet some time personally.

 

Christian

 

 

 

December 11, 2011 - 1:52am #15

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

Hello Folks,

 

When i see all that stuff shared between such great people, it reminbers me my own experience... Two ot three years ago, when i first saw the Holacracy™ stuff, i interpreted that is was an "american-business-remake" of sociocracy. I did judge it without knowing it, except having read a few articles: the reason i did that, even without been aware ot it, is that i was not yet differentiated from sociocracy - You know, i did invest so much energy, time & money in sociocracy: - more than 50 training-days, i gave maybe 50 3 days-wrokshops and trained more than 200 people, i accompanied many organizations - I was so much putting energy into sociocracy that it was not just possible for me (at a energy level) to open the door of "may be there is something new and different?" - and it was just great not to open yet that door: that allowed me to focus in order to get a chance to deeply understand and integrate sociocracy. This is just fine - this is just the natural process of evolution: fusion first, then differenciation before integration.

 

Later, having defused with sociocracy and having integrated it from all the work i did, i could opened myself to this new shift which came with the Holacracy™ stuff...

 

Cognition has nothing to do there... If was just not the time for me ... there was no place inside me for that at that time, no psychic energy available.

 

Hope this helps some of you as it helped me to understand by the experience, this evolution process.

 

Bernard Marie

 

December 11, 2011 - 11:49am #16

Andreas Gutjahr

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Hi folks,

 

I sense a lot of passion in every comment. Thanks to everyone for investing the energy. I am learning something from the intellectual dispute but see the limitations of this media. There is also a little frustration in talking about what can only be experienced. Christian, I am happy to talk to you and check for ways of connecting and learning from each other. I enjoyed reading material from you about sociocracy.

 

Let's follow the evolutionary impulse...

 

best

 

Andreas

 

December 11, 2011 - 3:43pm #17

Manfred Friedrich

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Hey Together,

 

oops I didn't expect all that passion (and maybe frustration). I would like to learn more about one point and dont mind to keep the focus and lens on Holacracy. It is a core element I personally struggle with and this is the power of the link lead.  Bernard Marie's chart points out "Status or Grades: Holacracy No; Sociocracy:  Yes, CEO, Operational Leaders of Department Circle".

 

My understanding is that the the Holacratic link-lead has more power than the Sociocratic Leader of a Circle. The Sociocratic Leader has no extra power, neither regards placing people into roles nor decisions - he is 'just' an equal member of two circle. Holacracy gives the lead-link the power to remove and assign people to roles** at any time, without reasoning.

 

Does this not open the door to heroic leadership and power misbalance within the circle?

 

 

 

In peace and friendship,

Manfred

 

 

 

**apart from the by default elected core roles: Facilitator, Secretary, Rep-Link 

 

 

 

March 9, 2012 - 11:07pm #18

Deborah Boyar  

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

The following comments (in italics) are taken from an e-mail response by Brian Robertson to a sociocracy practitioner seeking to understand the differences between sociocracy and Holacracy.  Though it was not originally intended as a CoP post, I'm posting this excerpt here, with Brian's permission.

 

 

 

Back when running my software company, I read all the books and other material published on sociocracy and then adopted it within the company – in some ways it was very similar to what we were already doing and had learned elsewhere, and in some ways it added to it and helped us evolve how we worked further.  It was a good fit at the time and I appreciated what it brought us.  We then engaged John Buck to come in and provide consulting services to reinforce and further improve our practice of sociocracy.  He offered a few tweaks though not much more, because he said we were already using the method really well.

 

 

 

I took this as evidence that I personally probably had a pretty good understanding of the method, or, at the least, that the company was practicing it fairly well.  And, I can share that my experience of working in that company running with sociocracy is completely different than my experience of working in a Holacracy-powered organization – and in some ways directly opposite.  I’ve also now heard the same expressed by several others who have lived in companies running with both approaches, including from professional sociocracy consultants and trainers, and from those trained by many different sociocracy trainers, and from several people who run sociocratic organizations who have more recently gained experience with Holacracy.

 

 

 

My own perspective here was also reinforced by reading the sociocracy norms documents published by the centrum, which a colleague forwarded to me recently - much that’s in there is directly opposite what I teach in our in-depth Holacracy trainings.  And there’s also all the detail and rules of a new power structure captured in the Holacracy Constitution that I simply can’t find in sociocracy at all.

 

 

 

More generally, we’ve had dozens of people who are trained in sociocracy or working in a sociocratic organization go through our in-depth trainings, and the vast majority come out the other side saying “these are not at all the same thing, despite what it looks like”.  When people think they are the same and begin describing how, what I usually experience is that they don’t actually understand Holacracy at all – which is not surprising, as it’s almost impossible to do so unfortunately without more training or experience in it.  And for those who actually go get that training, this perspective usually changes dramatically.

 

 

 

For what it’s worth, we’ve published the Holacracy Constitution to make public all the rules of the game of Holacracy in concrete legal detail – a level of detail which is necessary because of the nature of the power shift in Holacracy.  A comparison of those detailed rules to the concrete rules of sociocracy would perhaps tell us more clearly to what extent these methods are similar or different.  However, I cannot find a document like that from the sociocracy community, so it’s really difficult to compare the methods.  So far, the closest things I’ve seen to this level of detail are still quite vague in terms of an actual legal power structure, and inferring from them it seems they are pointing at different things regardless and a different locus of power.

 

 

 

All of that said, it’s possible I’m completely wrong here.  It’s possible these people who have gone through trainings or running organizations with both methods are wrong too, and the sociocracy consultants/trainers who have shared this with me are also wrong.  I have no attachment to this being the case, it’s simply the data I’m getting, as well as my own direct experience.  It may be all incorrect, however I think it’s enough evidence for me to credibly say that I believe the methods are indeed quite different.  It personally hurts that I’m sometimes the target of attacks on my motivations for this stance, though I believe I have every reason to conclude as I have, along with my own direct experience and what I’ve heard from many sources that seem credible to me.

 

 

 

Regarding interfacing with the sociocracy world, I’ve also gotten enough evidence to comfortably conclude that there’s not a high likelihood of mutual gain by engaging further with representatives of that movement, except for those who know enough about Holacracy to have a more meaningful and detailed conversation with.  I’m glad sociocracy is out there adding value in the world, and I’m glad Holacracy is able to do so the same without it having to be the same thing; the more value and choice out there, the better.  I’m personally too exhausted from the interactions I’ve had with people in the sociocracy community to wish to engage in further dialog here, although I wish sociocracy and Holacracy both well in the world.

 

March 10, 2012 - 12:28am #19

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

"To be able to open yourself to something new, especially to so new paradigm shifts  as conveyed by Sociocracy & Holacracy, i need first to empty the cup". Just want to share my experience. When i was integrating sociocracy during years (from 2003 to 2009), i was not able to open the door to another paradigm shift - my cup was full enough with this enormous shift. And this is completly normal. This is just how does evolution work – this is all about personal development process. During this period in my life I did put so much energy to unlearn so many old habits I had regarding domination (I was focus only on that to get a chance to make some progress) - so I needed from my soul in order to be able to tackle this huge challenge at least for me – to fall in love with sociocracy and fuse with it. And you know, when you are in love with somebody, you just are not able to open the door to a new one, even look at it – it is just not an option, no space for that. If you would have asked me at this period on my journey - what would be my plans for the rest of my life, I would have tell you that I will do sociocracy training and consulting all the rest of my life – which I did for some years. In order to protect that, if somebody would have speak to me with some new staff like Holacracy (which occurs with a guy coming to one of my workshops), I was so fused with sociocracy that I told him that it is  a derivative of sociocracy). This would have been so violent to open the door to something new at that time, that I even did not by judgement. It is just normal way for humans we are!

 

Then with practice and time flowing, defusion could slowly occurs (differentiation) and then integration.When i have integrated enough sociocracy after 6 full years of full day to day practice, then Holacracy arrived in my life, I was able to open the door. Integration of sociocracy was done enough, my cup was empty again, I was able to fill it with some new carburant useful for my journey on earth – I was able to go forward because also this was on my journey.

 

Another piece I want to add here: when I meet people coming from sociocracy and being violent to Holacracy, now I do love it as I know that all is about energy put in inner transformation process as I explained previously, but also, I know that this violence is just great tensions what need a space and a process to transform them in personal meaningful change toward Raison d’Être. I know also that we are all different paths in this unconscious full worldwide cooperation. We, human, need people staying focus on sociocracy.

 

 All is perfect, I love it!

 

Of course all that is only my experience on my journey. Not a rule or truth for everybody. Just want to share my experience and the way I see things like that at least for now.

 

March 10, 2012 - 9:01am #20

Clark Foerster (not verified)

 

Bernard,

 

I currently am a student of both sociocracy and holacracy.  I am working on making sense of what you are calling "violent" responses, which seem to me to have the intensity and irrationality of interfamilial conflict: perceptions are so close that every effort is made to intensely and aggressively exaggerate the differences. 

 

The efforts to claim "naming turf" is as productive to me as trying to manage someone else's personal tensions during IDM.

 

Words are important as poetry is important.  Adding  the energy of insistence to those words (eg, It's Consent! No! it's IDM!) can create a formidable barrier to understanding, because in the end I want empathy, ie, a respectful understanding of, not necessarily aggreement with, my experience.

 

The magic and joy of Both (as I am naming them right now) is my experience in my body (not soley my head) of power transforming its expression---in a direction toward serving life.  How does this happen?  By integrating the end goals into the means to acheive these goals.  The ends pre-exist in the means. 

 

Ends/means integration collapses the root of our conventional binary human construct.  And, in my experience, when this occurs, there is overflowing joy and inspiration.  Suddenly we as humans start imagining we do have a home on this planet.  That we are not some sort of flawed creation. Suddenly we start realizing how to think as a way of getting at what to think.

 

My request regarding this issue of Both is the following:  please USE the process you are comfortable naming (eg, Consent or IDM, sociocracy or holacracy) to work through this issue of Both.   Please stay within your integrity.   Imagine all of us around the same table.  What would that look like.....?  Would we autocratically cut off someone's expression of tension?  Would we allow the personal expression of tension to dictate (autocratically) everyone else's expression of tension?  I say, neither.  Stay within the integrity of your process.  Trust the process, not the personality.

 

I predict that this exercise would enhance all of our experiences and provide a wonderful grounding for future issues of this nature for future students.  They are coming...

 

What do you think?  Are you game?

 

best,

 

Clark Foerster

 

March 10, 2012 - 9:31am #21

Clark Foerster (not verified)

 

PS

 

I realize that my framing reveals my current languaging around the concepts of sociocracy and holacracy.  From a holocratic perspective, I am guessing there is nothing wrong with "autocratically cutting off someone's expression of tension." 

 

I am using the term "autocratic" in a different sense than this.  I am using the autocratic dynamic to mean "the experience of decisions made without integrating all objections to the decision."  Another way of talking about the autocratic dynamic (as I use it) is to speak of it in terms of the lack of structural curiosity. 

 

Difficult stuff to discuss!  (which tells me I don't yet understand what I'm trying to say...)

 

March 10, 2012 - 12:51pm #22

Deborah Boyar  

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Hi Clark,

 

I appreciate your interest in better understanding Holacracy.  I've collected several resources in our CoP that have greatly helped me discern the nuances of the Holacracy Facilitator's stance, and the paradigm shift it embodies.  I hope you enjoy and find them useful!

 

Best regards,

 

Deborah

 

Dissecting Governance Part 1

 

Dissecting Governance Part 2

 

Holacracy, Polarities, and Human Maturity Part 1

 

Holacracy, Polarities and Human Maturity Part 2

 

The Mirror of IDM

 

The Mirror of IDM (transcript)

 

March 10, 2012 - 2:42pm #23

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

Hi Clark,

 

love your questions. Not sure my reaction is fully related. Nevertheless i just want to share it.

 

Holacracy is a new distributed power system, with Governance, Triage & Dynamic Strategy. This doesnot cover of course all the meetings at play within an organization. And the Holacratic meeting are just about 5 to 10% of the time spent in service of the organization. The 90% other are what you decide to do in your authorities/roles. You may set up any kind of meeting you think are useful to do/better do the work use empathy if you will, or consent for creative builiding propositions, or any kind of process appropiate for the situation. The only condition is to respect the roles/authorities in place.

 

And there is only one sacred space called governance with IDM™ which is impersonel & absoltultly not about people - only one may be of 2 to 3 hours per 4/6 weeks. This is the place where power has shifted from humans. As i always say "Power is a too serious matter to be entrusted to human beings". During this space, no place for humans. Which doesnt means agressivity or violence. This is neutral space & neutral stance from facilitator. All humans involved there are here to channel tensions and serve the organization. In fact, this a space for the organization to evolve. This is a space where to empathize the organization - not the people. And to build new capacity for the org. on its needs expressed via tensions. It is king of Non Vilent Communication applied for an organization. Because there are humans in this space and in order to be able to diffrentiate what tensions belongs to the org. and what belongs to people there, this requires an IDM process. This is the purpose. Understanding it would help anybody to stick to the process. The only important thing to take care during Governance is the Organization. It is not only a question of stance for the facilitator. This is a stance where everybody in the room are here to serve the organization. If there is personal staff, person concerned could decide not to attend the meeting if not able to do the job. This is not an issue.

 

So 2/3 hours per 4/6 weeks to get a new operating system that embodies new capacities and remove all the endemic challenges we face since decades when being in an organization  (even when you use sociocracy which is my experience & this is teh reason why i discovered Holacarcy). And do what you want, adopt whaever practice makes sense for you apart of that. But fully respcet governance which requires to formally adopt this power shift previously.

 

One of our client ( i may connect if any interest) uses sociocracy for a long period of time. Now they use Holacarcy as a new distributed power structure, they have ratified constitution and they still use sociocratie & Collective Intelligence Process & NVC in other meetings - all thta in respect of teh authorities given in GlassFrog. And you know what? This organization is  a training & consulting business offering sociocracy workshops. I love that story which demonstrate that this not worst comparing approches, this is better to include and transcent both.

 

Hope this perspective helps.

 

Bernard Marie

 

 

 

March 10, 2012 - 3:01pm #24

Deborah Boyar  

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Beautifully put, Bernard Marie.  I really appreciate these distinctions!

 

March 11, 2012 - 8:42am #25

Clark Foerster (not verified)

 

Thank you Deborah and Bernard Marie.  You response helps me connect to my own yearning to better represent sociocracy and holacracy.

 

It strikes me increasingly that the work has not been done to distinguish explicitly and with intellectual clarity the key distinctions that separate holacracy from sociocracy.  There are certainly many passions that fly around the subject with the wish that such work has been done however!  (I count myself as part of that passionate, but confused and wishful crowd.) 

 

Those who claim to know the difference between the two, instead of dispassionately outlining the differences, spend effort, to my ears at least, reinforcing their own convictions about the difference, referring obliquely to a different frame and narrative around the same essential dynamic. As an example, the question of how consent relates to IDM comes to mind.

 

In my own efforts to understand the differences AND similarities between sociocracy and holacracy I will study that example as a beginning point and report back to you with my (provisional--always improving the proposal!) conclusions. 

 

best,

 

Clark Foerster

 

March 11, 2012 - 11:12am #26

Alexia Bowers

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

Hi Clark,

 

It has been my exerience more often than not that when someone who loves sociocracy claims that it is the same as Holacracy, there is nothing that can be said to convince them otherwise - almost as if they are personally attached to both methods being the same, like they *want* them to be the same.  Why anyone would want this, I don't understand, but that's the feeling I get.  Anything that we've put out to try to describe the differences is rejected, sometimes very violently with personal attacks on Brian, Bernard Marie, or on things that don't have anything to do with the similarities or differences between sociocracy and Holacracy, like the quality of our workshops, or the trademark on Holacracy, or the quality of the audio.

 

That being said, you have been much kinder and gentler than many folks exploring this topic, so I ask that you continue to keep an open mind to the possibility that these two methods are not that same and please try to be gentle on those trying to illustrate the differences between sociocracy and Holacracy -- it has been up to this point, a very tiring job.

 

I personally believe that it is unfortunate that anyone would claim that sociocracy and Holacracy are the same - I think it confuses what both methods are.  In my limited undestanding of what sociocracy is and understanding Holacracy, I think saying that Holacracy is the same or mostly the same as sociocracy would not be preferred by those who are proponents of sociocracy.  It continually surprises me that anyone that knows sociocracy would say that they are the same, so I can only assume that they don't know enough about Holacracy to really know what they are saying or implying about sociocracy, and that the differences are just not clear enough. If it were true that sociocracy and Holacracy were the same, I would not have any issue with saying so, sociocracy is a wonderful method and has a great history of usage and body of work to support it.   

 

So, here is the list of pretty much everything that we have put out about the differences, they may not be the best, but they are what we have currently:

 

Resources on this site

Public Resources:

 

http://www.holacracy.org/resou...sociocracy-holacracy (also on Community of Practice, includes this post)

http://www.holacracy.org/resou...ontrasting-paradigms

http://www.holacracy.org/resou...history-of-holacracy (History of Holacracy, talks about the roots and how sociocracy influenced Holacracy a bit)

I do think that Holacracy, sociocracy, as well as Agile Software Development and Lean Manufacturing share principles around feedback loops, but I'm not completely familiar enough with all of the methods to describe it.

 

For example, to your question, I think one, big difference between sociocracy and Holacracy is with the paradigm underlying consent and Integrative Decision Making.  On the surface, they both look the same because the processes look really similar - IDM follows very similar steps.  This is one concrete way that sociocracy was influential in Holacracy.  However, the underlying paradigm and some of the practices have evolved so much that they are no longer the same as in sociocracy.  We don't use the term "consent" just because we wanted to change the name, but because people are not consenting in meetings.  It has nothing to do with what people want or are even willing to live with, or the people at all.  It has to do with whether or not it will cause harm to the circle/organization, as defined in the constitution.  Even the term "objections" as we use it in Holacracy doesn't quite capture it, but it is the best we've got now.  In Holacracy, you are also not allowed to make any decision in a governance meeting (where IDM is used), and the only allowed output is the definition of a role, accountabilities, or policies.  You cannot decide, for example, to paint the walls of the office green within a governance meeting, you have to define what role (not even what person) has the authority to paint the walls of the office.  Projects and next actions come out of Operational meetings - for example, a project to paint the walls with a next action to call the painters, which is a project that this role would have defined and will enact.  There are other things that are different, but just to give you some concrete examples so that you don't think that I'm just blowing smoke!

 

Now, I am probably the worst communicator here at HolacracyOne, so I will let others correct anything that I've miscommunicated about either sociocracy or Holacracy, and hopefully this is enough to start your endeavor and offers some response to the frustrations that you've expressed.

 

Thanks,

 

Alexia

 

March 11, 2012 - 12:04pm #27

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

Love it Alexia, very clear and greatly communicated.

 

Bernard Marie

 

March 11, 2012 - 2:10pm #28

Michael Dobbins

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

>...almost as if they are personally attached to both methods being the same, like they *want* them to be the same.  Why anyone would want this...

 

This is fundamental.  Humans are sense making systems. They are constantly trying to make sense of the world throgh what they know or have experienced.  Sometimes we talk about the lens with which we see things, for most people their current lens is determined by where they are in their journy through life.  Most people try very hard to fit everthing into what they currently know.  They try so hard that it leaves blind spots where things and experiences don't fit. (This is actually one of the strengths of Holacracy that it integrates multiple lenses which naturally has overlaps that cover blind spots giving a more complete veiw of the world.)

 

 

 

The enlightenment experience is a sudden shift of a personal lens.  Sometimes it takes a lot of work to make a shift, sometimes the conditions are right and the shift seems to happen sponatneously of a particular trigger. But the shift changes the blind spots, many of the old ones are gone.

 

So it is natural for someone who has bought into Sociocracy to have a difficult time seeing that Holacracy is different as their lens makes them see only how it is the same and their blind spots are where it is different. This is why the Zen beginner mind is so powerful, in this state the lens is so difuse that you may not see clearly but you are less focused on a particular view of reality that it is easier to shift into different lenses. This goes along with "you must empty your cup to be filled with new knowledge."

 

Changing lens does not change reality, only what you see of reality. So the value seen through the Sociocracy lens is still there when you shift lenses, but seeing the value makes it harder to give up that lens so that you are able to put on a different lens.  I know that when I put on the lens of Holacracy, I forgot the value that I saw through my previous conventional lens and became very negative toward conventional organizations.  It has taken me a long time and a lot of struggle to understand what I have written here.

 

March 11, 2012 - 11:59pm #29

contact (not verified)

 

Bonjour à tous,

 

Une diffÉrence principale entre sociocratie et holacracy me semble se situer dans la distribution de l'autoritÉ : sur des hommes dans un cas et sur des rÔles dans l'autre.

 

Pouvez-vous confirmer ou infirmer cette perception ?

 

Jean-Claude

 

March 12, 2012 - 12:22am #30

Richard Scott-Will-Harknett

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Jean Claude I think this is right on target. Oui, mon ami vous avez raison.

 

In Holacracy, it seems to me, it is all about the work needed to fulfil the organisations purpose and the roles needed to execute  that work. Therefore we organise around the work and vest the authority in the roles. That authority is manifested by those humans who show up and energise those roles.

 

March 12, 2012 - 7:47am #31

Eric Allodi         

 

Dear All,

 

There is something that, I think, we don't speak enough and which is for me the essence of Holacracy. This is the HOLONIC dimension. After all it's all about an holonic hierarchy, right? What does it imply? That's this is the HOLON, and not the individuals, who is expressing tensions, objections and is making decisions, as one non dual unified entity. In my experience since 2008 now, when the holon is constituted i.e. when the circle is correctly (= impersonally, enligthenedly) facilitated then we experience the many (circle's members) as the ONE (the holon) in a beautiful harmony where autonomy and communion become singular. Unless we succeed to create this field of unified conciousness, of true "collective intelligence", it is simply not possible to deal with people's egos and go beyond people boundaries and conficting positions (included to understand the difference between sociocray and holacracy).

 

For me, the difference between "SOCIOcracy" and "HOLAcracy" is HOLA i.e. the Holon, this non dual unified perspective that transcends all egos as ONE SELF. We all know how much acting impersonally, beyond ego, is a great challenge but the beauty of Holacray lies upon the fact that it has an inherent potential for verticality, for the emergence of post-postmodern integral level of consciousness or perspective. Without this perspective, we would be completely unable at Integral Vision to deal with our customers' egos.

 

If we start to speak about, compare or facilitate Holacracy from a less than integral enlightented perspective (=not modern, not postmodern), then we will eventually horizontalize it and then, indeed, there would be no difference between sociocracy and holacracy.

 

Eric Allodi (Integral Vision)

 

March 12, 2012 - 9:16am #32

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

Beautifully put Eric, I fully agree on this new space you describe.

 

March 12, 2012 - 9:17am #33

Clark Foerster (not verified)

 

Alexia--very much appreciated your post.  Particularly the following:

 

"We don't use the term "consent" just because we wanted to change the name, but because people are not consenting in meetings.  It has nothing to do with what people want or are even willing to live with, or the people at all.  It has to do with whether or not it will cause harm to the circle/organization, as defined in the constitution.  Even the term "objections" as we use it in Holacracy doesn't quite capture it, but it is the best we've got now.  In Holacracy, you are also not allowed to make any decision in a governance meeting (where IDM is used), and the only allowed output is the definition of a role, accountabilities, or policies.  You cannot decide, for example, to paint the walls of the office green within a governance meeting, you have to define what role (not even what person) has the authority to paint the walls of the office.  Projects and next actions come out of Operational meetings - for example, a project to paint the walls with a next action to call the painters, which is a project that this role would have defined and will enact.  There are other things that are different, but just to give you some concrete examples so that you don't think that I'm just blowing smoke!"

 

 

 

Thank you so much.  Even though I've heard something like these words many times before, there is a quality of empathy in your words (I'm judging) that has allowed me to connect in my experience to what you are saying with the examples you give.  I will give specific feedback soon, hopefully.  Must study....

 

 

 

Michael--very much appreciate your thoughts on a larger frame around which human learning takes place.  Beginner's mind, lens, shifts, and blind spots all pertain to an interest I think we share in "change and organization among humans."  What I like is that your narrative is not used to assign blame. Assigning blame misses the point, to me.

 

 

 

Have you found cognitive dissonance/anchor bias/confirmation bias to be helpful in thinking about this?   As I see it, the history of change and organization among humans is a history of confronting how the brain takes in new information that stimulates dissonance. As I see it, the test of sufficiency of an organization, among other things, is whether it provides a narrative that competently negotiates the reality of confirmation bias, internal and external to the organization.

 

 

 

Jean-Claude--don't understand French (and a lot of English)

 

Richard--very clear and succinct.  Thanks.

 

Eric--this is all so interesting to me.  I share your view that the holon, by definition, expresses decisions, tensions, and objections, not the individual.   Quakers for centuries have derived, from their experience and a language of spirituality, conceptions that are very similar.  For them, much like the  "field of unified consciousness" and "collective intelligence" there needs to be a critical mass of "Seasoned, Weighty Friends" whose awareness is focussed on the "sense of the Meeting" if personal conflicts and boundaries are to be transformed.  At the point this occurs, the experience could be described as  "impersonal"  though a better word for me would be "super-personal, " literally and figuratively: in the holonic dimension, personality and organization is embodied together and fulfilled together.  It is, for me, the expression of what is meaningful to me in the word "Love." 

 

 

 

At the same time, there is a need for greater clarity if my intent is to share these concepts with someone who doesn't have a background in life that allows understanding at the level I am speaking.  And at that point, it becomes very difficult for me to open my mouth.   And at this point, in a certain sense, I don't.  Instead, I do and my organization does what I call "empathy."   (yes, informed by NVC).  I mentioned the test of sufficiency regarding confirmation bias above.  I add to it, the test of sufficiency for an organization regarding empathy.  They fit together: empathy finds expression through holonic organization to address confirmation bias.  If not, game over.  We remain on the same old hamster wheel.  And I didn't sign up for that.

 

 

 

I don't want to imply that what I'm representing here is sufficient in any way, despite how I've articulated it.  There are many other critical dimensions that remain unaddressed, including the need to accomplish work as an organization!  But I know you are "all over" that!

 

I look forward to even greater clarity, more skillful expressions of empathy (ie, they "LAND") and fun.

 

--Clark Foerster

 

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2012 - 12:33pm #34

contact (not verified)

 

Hi all,

 

One main difference between sociocracy holacracy and seems to be in the distribution of authority over men in one case and in the other roles.

 

Can you confirm or deny this perception?

 

Jean-Claude

 

March 12, 2012 - 6:48pm #35

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

Hi Folks - I've been too busy to follow this at a detailed level, though as I read it all now several thoughts surface I thought worth sharing:

 

Starting from the most recent point, yes, confirmed.  Holacracy is not governing the people, and the Constitution does not allow applying governance constraints to people whatsoever - it only allows governing the organization's roles and role-ationships.  Personally, I have zero interest in being governed.  I accept that each other autonomous individual, including the organization as an individual, has a right to govern their own self-system, and I have no right to violate the sovereignty of their self as I energize my own.  Beyond that, I'll govern myself (thank you!) and I do not wish to submit to anyone pushing their views and expectations on me - i.e. governing me.

 

So, for example, and to tie in some other threads, an organization running with Holacracy has no right to expect the people to show up with empathy for others, or to communicate with fellow humans working in the organization in a "non-violent" way, or to show up in a "beyond ego" way.  While I do appreciate it when these things happen, I for one wouldn't want to work in a system where any of those expectations are wielded over me or sanctioned in any way - it's too violent and violating for my taste, and I value my own sovereignty too much to submit to that.  I don't mind those things being natural outcomes - emergent results of the overall process we humans engage in - however as soon as they're expectations to be wielded and forced on me, I'm out.

 

And, Holacracy does not allow those expectations to be set in the first place; as a general rule, if an expectation isn't explicit via the Constitution or Governance, no one has any right to expect it (this even includes things like showing up with empathy - no one has a sanctioned right to expect that with Holacracy at play).  And, Holacracy's governance process does not allow expectations like these to be applied - they are not valid governance outputs - as allowed governance outputs per the Holacracy Constitution have nothing to do with the people and our interpersonal/intersubjective space, just with the authority and expectations on the various "functional cells" (Roles & Circles) of the organization - i.e. the organization's structure (which has nothing to do with the people, as we are not parts of that structure).

 

That leaves the interpersonal/intersubjective realm in a rather intentional state of anarchy, which I believe is absolutely and beautifully appropriate - anything else is domination (with the exception of an expectation of the sanctity of basic property rights to one's self and one's property, which cannot be violated without recourse thanks to our modern legal codes).  If in that anarchy two people wish to agree to something - to communicate non-violently, or beyond-ego, or empathically for example, they have every right to each individually choose and agree to do so, or to choose to be subject to whatever other governance system they like.  But, no one has a right to force them to do so, least of all the organization - it has no business governing us.

 

This is at the core of what Holacracy does; it differentiates these things, the organizational space and the human space, in a way that nothing else I've encountered so far does - they are so often fused, and even very progressive approaches tend just to try to fuse them even further, and then get that fused space to be more enlightened (by whatever language).  Holacracy is not a system for playing that game.  It aims to allow the organization to function just fine, however we humans decide to interrelate amongst ourselves personally.  It prevents us from fusing our own personal goals for whatever intersubjective qualities we value with the organization's needs and governance.  It keeps human values out of the organizational space, which also keeps the organization out of our human value space.  And, perhaps more importantly, it keeps others working in the organizational space from dominating us with their own human values in the name of organizational productivity - i.e. you have no right to expect me to show up with empathy, nor I you.

 

And, that's the best recipe I've found so far for ending up with a human culture that has more empathy, transpersonal dynamics, non-violent communication, etc. - it is the seeking of them that most gets in the way of them, the attachment to them that makes them so elusive.  They are free to naturally emerge when we can work together to care for another entity (the organization) and its purpose, in a clear space, free of the coercion to show up how others believe we should.  By neither seeking nor requiring these qualities at all, we paradoxically have more opportunity to find them... and it doesn't even matter if we don't, at least not to the evolutionary process at work through the organization (though it may still matter to us personally of course).

 

That's all I've got on this chain of thought for now; this topic of (not) governing the people is one I have some deep resonance and passion around, and I thought I'd just type this all in stream-of-consciousness in the hopes it would be valuable for some of you.

 

Regards,

 

- Brian

 

March 12, 2012 - 7:29pm #36

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

On a less-impassioned note, and at the risk of triggering some heat I really do not intend to enflame:  It also may be relevant to other parts of the discussion here to point back to my post earlier in this thread, about the differences between the chimp and the human from each perspective.  I do believe there's an envolutionary leap at play between sociocracy and Holacracy, and I think the nature of such a leap is a major reason it's quite easy to see profound differences from one side, yet so difficult to see those alleged "differences" from the other - as was the case for Bernard Marie at first, as he's so elegantly shared, and for so many others now who have gone through our trainings with a background in sociocracy or any number of other progressive methods that don't embody this leap.

 

Evolutionary leaps to new depth have directionality, and each leap provides effectively a new dimension of depth, not just "more depth", which is why they're so tricky to see I think - when we're only looking in the 3-dimensional worldspace we're used to, it's hard to see "more depth" in a 4th dimension that's effectively invisible to us.  It's only from the other side of such an evolutionary leap that the newfound depth is so readily apparent, because we see not just new depth, but new depth in a new dimension that wasn't even visible to us before (e.g. the realm of "mind" for the chimp-to-human leap, per my prior post).  And, learning to see into this new dimension often takes a leap for the beholder - it takes new eyes, not just new knowledge.  Some have made that leap before finding Holacracy of course, though I think much more often it comes through exploring the new territory and the new dimension Holacracy works within.  Or it never comes, and that's fine too.

 

Or, maybe those of us who think we see some new dimension here are just completely self-deluding; I just know I see something, and so too it seems do others who choose to try out this new practice, and all the rest is just human meaning-making - but useful nonetheless...

 

- Brian

 

March 12, 2012 - 8:04pm #37

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

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I hope you'll forgive yet one more post from me here - I wanted to offer a hopefully-clarifying response to one point from a prior post:

 

I am using the autocratic dynamic to mean "the experience of decisions made without integrating all objections to the decision."

 

This is true of many decisions made in an organization running with Holacracy, by design - the goal of its power structure is not to integrate all objections to each decision.  And that's the case whether you mean "objection" by the common understanding of the word, by sociocracy's understanding, or by Holacracy's very specific and quite different definition of an "Objection", as detailed in the Constitution.  Either way, that threshold is generally not applied to specific decisions at all.

 

The threshold of integrating all "Objections" (but still not all "objections", which are ignored) is only applied to decisions about the territory of each Role and the boundaries and role-ationships between them (i.e. "Governance Outputs" per the Constitution).  For most decisions within the "territory" of the Roles I fill, I have complete authority to make decisions even when someone tells me they have an objection or expresses significant disagreement or harm that could be caused by my decision.  And in the overall system, that autocratic authority is helpful for the organization and its purpose (and at times equally frustrating for us humans).  There are also pathways to process the tensions that come from others' use of that autocratic authority.

 

Hope that helps,

 

- Brian

 

March 13, 2012 - 1:15am #38

Bernard Marie Chiquet

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

Licensed Holacracy Provider

Brian,

 

So valuable posts from you: thanks!

 

It triggers questions for me about some human rules we may set up with all people working for the same organization: like willing to get out the Triangle of Hell (Drama Triangle) by having a decison (if accepted by everybody) as follows: when somebody is playing this game (for instance being the victim in a situation) the other people observing that, would tell him (without any judgment, just feedback) that he could be in the game from their perspective. So here is the rule: people willing to get out of this triangle or at least try to get out of it more & more often decide practicing that game -  you know when you are in the triangle, the tricky part part is that you often donnot have the conscious to be in it - this is the reason why having feedback from others who can observe without being in the triangle could be seen as great value for me playing the victim or the saver, so i have a chance in such situation to get out of it, by getting feedback i have accepted in advance. This is a game we play since years within IGI (as a lot of other games).

 

Now framing is done. Question to you?

 

This kind of rules is certainly not in governance for sure. Such agreement could occur between all people in such organization with condition being separate from Org. Space and not mandatory. Do you agree on that?

 

Now , let us assume this is an agrement between people of the organization and this org. is needing new ressources. In your opinion, being in an organization governed by Constitution & Governance, could we put such criteria for recruting people in the Partnership Circle as a requirement to enter into the organization (like other requirement: having your own laptop, being certified in Holacracy, etc.)? People are free to accept or not. If they want to enter they would have to fulfill the requirments they were aware of: laptop, certification, "playing this opportunity-to-get-out-of-triangle-by-feedback" game, etc.

 

I am fully interested to get your feedback on that.

 

Bernard Marie

 

March 13, 2012 - 8:29am #39

Brian Robertson 

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Certified Holacracy Coach

HolacracyOne PartnerHolacracyOne Partner

Hi Bernard Marie,

 

A thought-provoking question; so cool that we can have this dialog with a shared experience of the human vs. org space differentiation!  Here's my take on your question after letting it mull for a bit, plus a very personal story to share from my own journey:

 

This kind of rules is certainly not in governance for sure. Such agreement could occur between all people in such organization with condition being separate from Org. Space and not mandatory. Do you agree on that?

 

Yes, I do agree; no harm there, provided it was a personal choice of each person without coercion, and unrelated to the organizational space at play.  Yet, although I see no harm in people making that agreement amongst themselves, they are lying if they do; to explain, let me go back to the rule in your framing:

 

So here is the rule: people willing to get out of this triangle or at least try to get out of it more & more often

 

The trouble is, they can't possibly know this in advance.  They can only know that, at this moment, they are willing to do so and to extend an open invitation to others to give them feedback in the future; all of that seems grounded and real.  But they can't possibly know they will in some future moment be willing to get out of the triangle or even be willing to try - attempting to set that up in advance is a predict-and-control attempt to control the self, and it doesn't work.

 

You can't know whether you will be willing in the future to do something, or even to try.  You only know that you are now willing to ask for something; the rest is all hope.  Attempting to govern or force (or "control") your future self against your prediction of what you want the future to be - that you will feel willing at that future point - is just fighting reality.  It works about as well as other attempts to force reality to unfold in line with our predictions and desires.  It also sets up the seeds of self-blame (or other-blame), which is just more fighting reality.  So, you can know now that you want help shifting a pattern, and you can invite others to offer that help when they see the need; you just can't know you'll be willing to receive it until you get there.

 

So, rather than asking for that predict-and-control commitment to a specific future reality up front, when future reality is fundamentally uncertain and unknowable, I'd suggest finding a different path.  In your example, if the capacity to take in feedback and get off that game board is truly important to the work of the organization (and not just because the current players have an attachment to others being more developed), which it might genuinely be, then by all means, do recruit for that capacity, and do fire if there's not enough of it to do the work well.  And, I still don't think there's a place to mandate a specific predicted/controlled future response (I don't think it's actually a valid Policy by the definition of "Policy" in the Constitution anyway, and thus likely not valid governance output).  But even if you could mandate that people will be willing in the future, mandating an interior response (a choice, a feeling, an experience of will, etc.) doesn't change the reality of whether it will happen anyway - if anything, it often works against it.

 

This clarity for me came in part from observing the journey of my father, whom I loved dearly; he died a couple years ago, after a 10-year struggle with a serious drug addiction.  Over the course of that decade, I witnessed so many moments of clarity where he would proclaim that he was absolutely, clearly, for-sure done with the drugs, that he wouldn't use again.  It was a commitment to himself and his family, an intellectual one coming from mind and a present-moment intent and desire to control the future.  He genuinely wanted that to be the case, though each time I could tell that he was lying to himself, whatever his intent in that moment - the commitment was as hollow as such predictions of the future usually are.

 

And, sure enough, when he was later confronted with the stresses of life and the opportunity to dull them a bit with his drug of choice, any prior commitment about what he would be willing or unwilling to do in the future was irrelevant - his will in that moment was different, whatever he wanted in advance; he could not predictively control his future self and its choice-making, not with all the genuine intellectual commitment he could muster.  All he could control was his choice in this moment, and then the next, and the next...  And, despite our best intents, we each have our drugs of choice, whatever they may be (playing the victim, or the savior, or whatever), and we each give in to their allure sometimes, when facing the brutal truth of reality is just too much for the self to integrate.

 

So this left me with a simple choice: either accept him as he was, with the capacity he actually had (not wished he had in his moments of commitment-making), or not, and end the relationship.  I choose to accept him as he was, and all the desire I held for him to be any different than he was eventually faded away.  I'm glad I made that choice.  And if he had worked at HolacracyOne and if it were up to me, I would have fired him on behalf of the organization and choosen to end that relationship, as I don't think his capacity to face and integrate reality was sufficient to do this organization's work, and thus the relationship would have been unhealthy to maintain.  I think this is the choice-making called for in the organizational space, as it is in our personal space: we have relationships, and in those relationships we can choose to accept the other in the relationship as they are, or end the relationship.  We can not choose to change the other; that either happens on its own, or it doesn't, and it's not ours to control.

 

And, back to my personal story, something did eventually shift in the other in this relationship, and not through any of my doing.  One day, shortly after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer and a year to live, my father made an offhand comment to me that he was done with the drugs.  But this time, I knew without a doubt that it was true.  The quality of his statement wasn't at all a commitment - he wasn't promising anything from an intellectual desire to make it true.  He wasn't focused on the future at all, but simply reflecting from the present and noticing something in himself, noticing that his self-system had reorganized in some way and that the need for the drug was no longer there.  Everything was simply already different, and his comment came from a deep knowing of this; even if he didn't recognize it himself as different from his prior commitments, I did - it came from somewhere completely different.  And sure enough, this time it was true.  And then a year later, he died.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to share this story - it's one that's very meaningful to me, and perhaps could be useful to others too.

 

- Brian

 

March 17, 2012 - 3:51pm #40

Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller         

 

Certified Holacracy Practitioner

Brian, thank you so much for sharing this deeply meeningful story

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