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

Criteria for assessing self-organization readiness of an organization

Hello everybody,

as some of you know, I am currently writing a book focusing on innovation practices of self-organized companies, using Holacracy or other forms of self-organization.

I am currently thinking about some kind of framework to assess the readiness of existing organizations to make a transition towards a system of self-organization in general and Holacracy specifically. Imagine that you are talking to the CEO of any given company and he wants to have some criteria to look at to better understand if his organization is suitable to initiate a transition.

What would you suggest as evaluation criteria? How would assess the readiness of the organization?
I am grateful for any ideas or suggestions that you have.



11 Replies
Carlo Giardinetti

Hi Florian, very interesting topic!

What I can share with you is what we have realized to be for us the major transformational pains and they are all related to personal development. Holacracy will ruthlessly push any partner in the corner before or later in the process to deal with their personal development, it is inevitable. That eventually trigger either great transformations or great disappointments and fight-backs. When that turbolence mounts up, your organization need to be strong enough to go through the storm. For me, that is the readiness you need to look for. What makes an organization strong enough to pass that storm? It has to do, in our understanding at Business School Lausanne and our 18 months holocratic journey so far, with corageous leadership (does the organization have enough personal development champions that can play that courage in the right way?) and how the organization can develop it and support it. So I am tempted to answer to your question saying that any organization would have some corageous leader (and I don't mean only the one that signs the constitution, as he/she will have their own very troubled journey to go through) and they could go for it. They would though have to be ready to develop that courage further and support it. There are different ways to do so...

Sally McCutchion

Hi Florian,

I am very interested in this subject and would love to chat with you if you have time? You can reach me on sally@sallymccutchion.com

I look forward to connecting!


Tom Mulder


In this article about Hollary vs Scrump, you will find some guidelines: https://medium.com/responsiveo...-debate-d4bef6277aca


Frederic Laloux once gave his answer to the same question asked by Ricardo Semler: only companies where the CEO had gone through some sort of personal transformation have been successful at this organisational transformation. A conviction that the metrics will look better, or a mental understanding of the organisational model (Holacracy or any other) is insufficient. In short: it needs the CEO's heart (or business unit leader in case of a part of the organisation) to feel the need to take this step forward.

Florian Rustler

Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts and providing links to further resources. This is all very useful to me. Thank you.


Hi Florian, 

I think too that the CEO plays a key role in the development of self-organization. Anyway this is not enough for it to emerge. I think the degree of empowerment, wich was usual before the transformation, the stage of the company's Feedback- and Cooperation culture, and the People-Development actions wich where taken already before the transformation are also crucial. It is a polemical topic if Holacracy really leads to higher performance and engagement, or if Companies, wich were already working in a high performing and high involving work environment are the ones who can run Holacracy with the best results. I would be serious interested in your research, as I'm involved myself in the Holacracy-empirical world. I know a really interesting model, wich analyses the development level of an organization (highest level would be Work 4.0) regarding the points: People, Organization & Technic. (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTO-Analyse) It is sadly only in German, but maybe you can use google translate? I will be happy to help and to hear from you. 

Kind regards from Switzerland, 


Angela Spaxman

The senior leaders in a Holacracy must be operating robustly at a 4.5/Teal/Systemic level of development. The STAGES model is an accurate and practical way to assess leaders and teams. I would recommend that anyone considering implementing a Holacracy do this assessment work first, to avoid terrible surprises and to prepare for the personal development that must be in store for the whole organization.  http://www.pacificintegral.com/new/homepages/stages/

Florian Rustler

Dear Eliana,

dear Angela,

thank you both for your advice, comments and links. I will check out both in more detail. What I like about MTO is that it does not add another language and theory onto the organization. That is one aspect I found challenging with the Spiral Dynamics or Wilber's theory. Especially with Wilber I have not done enough research to be able to assess the validity of his theory. I am hearing very mixed things. In the case studies for my book, I have found those who find value in it and those who believe that is mystifies self-organization instead of making it accessible to people.

Thank you both!



Koen Veltman


Hi Florian, great question! do keep us posted on what you find out.

Would echo what was posted already above. If a leader wants to be "quantitatively convinced" he probably going to find the other end of the insight into the data as well.

I mostly send them out to see with their own eyes how it works in an organization that practices already. 

Ivo Bättig

I can add our (a Swiss/German 250 people E-Business company who ratified the constitution end of March 2017) personal experience: for us it was mainly two things:

a) the personal transformation and a strong will and commitment of the whole management board - getting familiar with the ideas behind (Laloux helped a lot) and continuously convincing/assuring/motivating each other that this is the right step for us to get a more dynamic, client-focused and successful company

b) a good prepared and executed 3-months planning phase (e.g. defining an initial structure and the most important Apps) to build knowledge and trust before starting with the new system

Andreas Slogar
Hi Florian,

I'm in touch with an agile coach in Hamburg. His name is Alexander Krieg. He published an maturity framework which allows assessing your topic (excluding Holacracy). It is currently available in German.


I'm sure, if you get in contact with Alexander, he can provide you with additional information. His contact details are mentioned on the last page of the pdf-file.

Hope this to be a helpful hint.
Good luck for your project. Writing a book is very hard work!