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

Confirm/Correct: I am *required* to process a partner's violation of my domain?


Partner A asked to impact my domain X in specific way Z that we have never done for specific reasons. I said no, but scheduled a meeting to discuss w key players.

I later discovered that someone has chosen to impact domain X in specific way Z. I asked the Circle who had done so. Partner A said they had done so using Individual Action.

Our next Tactical was a couple hours later - during the meeting in my role as (in-house, not licensed) Holacracy Coach I reminded via 'share information' about the specific requirements regarding conditions in which Individual Action is allowed, and the communication/restoration points afterwards.

I don't see a means in constitution to address what has occurred, or in much more general ways, to require partners to adhere to the constitution.

Process Breakdown doesn't seem to address any of this - only if either a Governance process fails (3.5.1) or behavior or output that conflict with rules happens to be noticed by a super-circle Facilitator.

So I, as a partner, am bound to process tensions - mine and yours - and so I have one here, regarding my colleague's choices and lack of compliance to the constitution.

Confirm/Correct - the burden to address these issues is on me, assuming this colleague or someone else in the circle does not. 

3 Replies
Brian Robertson

Confirmed.  I'd recommend getting clear on consequences for violating the constitution; and I suspect the answer needs to be that you or some process can and will terminate someone's partnership for repeated willful violations.

Also, I captured this potential feature for v5.0 to potentially address this issue; thoughts?

Keith Jarvis

Thank you Brian. It's a struggle for practitioners who understand these responsibilities sometimes - because of course there is the same requirement on all the partners to confront violations of constitution.

When other partners fail to do so, or to fulfill the basic responsibilities of being a partner, Holacracy can be a lonely world.

Any ideas on how to address - are there any 'best practices' re: 'consequences for violating the constitution'?  Short of terminating someone's partnership.

Re: your potential feature I think there is some merit to establishing some baseline mechanisms regarding noncompliance - whether one-time or pattern. And/or to broaden some of the potentialities around Process Breakdown.

Brian Robertson

Aside from terminating partnership, I'd suggest a consequence with real impact/teeth - like lowering someone's pay, or something like that.  Obviously be careful you're within your contract terms with the person, and any relevant laws.  But honestly, if someone has a pattern of willfully ignoring the formal authority structure of the organization, termination is probably in order - just like you'd do in a management hierarchy if someone repeatedly and willfully ignored CEO mandates...