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

cross link or rep link

Dear community folks,

In my organisation we have one working Holacracy circle now, as a pilot. We are heading towards the second now, equal to the first, so not a sub- or supercircle. We are troubling now over the question if we should appoint one or two (for each circle) rep links or one or two cross links. Mind you there is not a supercircle nor an anchor circle, so a rep link doesn’t feel like the right choice. But still.

Could one of you help us out.

Thanx ever so much.

Anita Limburg
3 Replies
Olivier Compagne

Hi Anita, 

The issue you're facing is one of the drawbacks with adopting Holacracy in parts of your organizations at a time. As you notice, there is no pathway for processing tensions between the two circles practicing Holacracy because they are not linked by any role. 

Technically, each of your two circles is the Anchor circle for their Holacracy implementation. They would have a Lead Link but no Rep Link, because there is no broader circle. 

If you want those two circles to have a channel to process tensions, using Cross Links is perhaps your 2nd best choice, by having each circle propose an internal policy inviting a Cross Link from the other circle. You would have two Rep Links, one in each direction. It's a bit quirky, but it would work.

Your 1st best choice is to adopt Holacracy at the level of the broader circle, and unlock the pathways for processing tensions between all those circles.

Hope that helps!


Hi Anita,

I agree with Olivier, 1st best choice would be to have a two level holarchy. If you don't have at least two levels involved, you won't have all the benefits of Holacracy, it will just be “meeting practices”.

Karilen Mays

You could start by creating a new role with the activities that you want to expect Anita. I'm being genuine here! Maybe it is a cross link or a rep link, but perhaps defining a custom role to help with this issue would be even more effective. 

I have seen other teams operating within a broader organization, and they need an agent/broker type of role to handle the boundary between them and the rest of the organization.

Even if you have two anchor circles like you do now, and no levels of management, then this additional role could help as long as you all are running with Holacracy.