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

Depth vs Complexity in learning Holacracy


I came across this 6 minute game design video that got me thinking about how I explain holacracy to new people, how to ease the initial rule-overload shock to make it into a more pleasant experience.


4 Replies
Frederik Fleischmann

Tremendously helpful! Thanks!

Stephen Michel

As someone who recently took the lead on bringing Holacracy to our organization (Snowdrift.coop), here's a couple things I've learned:

  1. Avoid Holacracy-specific vocab until it's absolutely needed.
    • "Issues" instead of "tensions"
    • "Hats" instead of "roles"
    • "Teams" instead of "circles"
    • On the first day, just call "lead link" the "lead". DO explain how the Lead's job is only to keep things running smoothly and they should strive to wear that hat as little as possible.
  2. Stay high level and don't worry if you are not conveying nuance. Some concepts can wait.
    • Avoid the concept of multiple levels of hierarchy on the first day.
    • Avoid talking about cross links or rep links.
    • In fact, don't bring up circles/teams at all on the first day unless someone specifically asks about them.
    • Wait to talk about the specific processes in governance and tactical meetings. Instead describe the goals of those processes.
    • DO be clear that you're leaving out a lot of detail because you'd rather they get a high-level picture.
Rashid Gilanpour

I like what you've done here! Mostly I'm glad to hear it worked well at your implementation. Sounds like you grokked the rules and the system on your own and then took a more contextual approach to onboarding. 

Frederik Fleischmann

This video has altered the way I teach Holacracy. Here's my new approach: https://medium.com/p/5e98272e9ed8