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

Circle Interference

Hi Folks,


I have a question about circle interference:

Could I define a policy as a Lead Link stating that each sub-circle of this circle shall have a role with purpose [XXXX] and accountabilities [XXX] and that in lieu of the sub-circle's Lead Link, this role should be assigned by a role within this Super Circle?


Of course, I could always add an accountability on the sub-circle but I'd like to be able to control the assignment of that role.

I see nothing in the constitution saying I couldn't do it but I was wondering... I know that's a lot of control but is it unconstitutional or not?





4 Replies
Dennis Ross

Hi, Margaux,

I think you are fine in requiring sub-Circles to have a specific role.  We had a similar need (i.e. tension) that required sub-circles of our Operations Circle to have a role within their circles to act as an SAP Key User. 

We did not enact a policy, rather an accountability was added the following accountability to each of the sub-circles.

Accountability: Identifying and maintaining a role within the circle for an SAP key user.

I'm not sure if this was the best approach but it worked for us.

As for role-filling from above, I think that would need to be addressed via policy (similar to cross link).  If you can tell us a bit more about the tension, especially as it relates to the super-circles desire to fill the role, it might help us to better respond.


- Dennis

Gerald Mitterer

Hi Margaux,

I do not see any reason why this should be invalid governance, although I would seriously consider if I walked down this road. But I can think of examples where the prescription of a role could be helpful. Eg during early implementation to have a Holacracy Coach in every circle. 

Still I wonder if it is the smallest possible governance change (especially in terms of interference with the autonomy of subcircles) you could make to address your tension. It might be enough to define the criteria for eg skillset or other prerequisites for role-fillers for that specific role. 

I could also see reasons why the lead link or rep link of the subcircle could object against  that proposal.

But I am curious to hear why there is such need to hurt the membrane and autonomy of the subcircle? Interested to learn more.


Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Margaux,

What is the tension behind ?






Thank you Dennis and Gerald for your feedback. I was just trying to know for sure if it was constitutional. Thanks.