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Dipping Toes into Holacracy Waters

Evangelizing Team Self-Management

I've started a couple of projects to help teams at Google explore team self-management in general and Holacracy (if they are interested) in particular. I have no experience in other self-management models, so I'm tapping my Holacracy experience to help them "dip their toes in the water", so to speak.

One of the first exercises that seems to resonate is getting members of a team to simply articulate their existing Roles in more-or-less holacratic terms: Purpose, Domain, and Accountabilities. I draw on what I observed of HolacracyOne coaches interviewing Lead Links early in my team's Holacracy implementation process to identify the initial Roles in the nascent Circles.

The one-on-one or small group discussions I've been conducting seem to enlighten the participants. It makes them think about what they do (Projects and Actions) and why they do it (Accountabilities, i.e. what others expect from this Role, and Purpose). After gaining clarity on the Roles that they fulfill, conversation seems to naturally turn to transparency and information flows in and around the teams, then to clarifying how decisions are made.

The Question at Hand

But when I come to getting a team manager to identify and articulate all of the many roles she might fulfill, it gets especially difficult. It seems that managers tend to catch a lot of the unassigned tasks in any team. Getting them to identify what they do and cluster these into discrete Roles can be remarkably challenging.

If you were to interview a team manager (in any organization) to help them deconstruct their Manager role into more granular holacratic Roles, what questions would you start with?

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