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

Focus in a role assignment

want to understand what are the reasons for having focus? To solve Which tension is the idea of focus created? 

Is it just to define the time for some one to be in the role. Or is it sharing some part of the accountabilities that this person can take and a role's accountabilities are divided amongst two to three people by giving them a focus. If that is so, then is it not better to create a new role? Like to hear from those who find it useful and apply it in their practice. How does this help you?  

7 Replies
Jeff Kreh
01/25/2019

We are going through accreditation right now for the college program that serves our incarceration-involved neighbors. A good example of a role emphasis for us right now is in the role that explains our strategic planning process yo the accreditation team. The role is responsible for drafting answers to questions in the accreditation application. One person fulfills the emphasis for representation of holacratic principles, another fulfills the emphasis of "translating" those principles for the uninitiated pyramid-minded vantage of the accreditors, another edits to smooth out grammatical issues. Because the role deals with a tight series of questions, and because a great deal of collaboration is involved, and to help differentiate the work without complicating the organization into an extra twelve or thirteen subcircles that will quickly fulfill their initial purpose and then devolve back into simple roles, we opted to keep the structure small using emphases instead of multiplying circles and roles...which we could have easily done, if we thought it would serve our needs better.

Tom Mulder
01/26/2019

Shami, the Tension is that one role can be filled by multiple people. If the accountabilities of the role stay the same but you want address a specific area of the role then Focus comes in. Like in a Sales role all the Acccount managers have the same accountabilities but serve an other region. So what you can then do is give a Focus like North, South, West and East.

If you have the same role but people want to be able to modify this role to specific needs with special accountabilities for their area then it is wise to create an other role. 

Hope this shines a light on it for you.

Cheers, Tom

shammi nanda
01/26/2019

[@mention:523162737680436711], so by your logic, what Jeff is saying is not the best way to do it, as that is almost like giving part of the accountabilities to different people and its better to create different roles. Are concerned about fuzziness and the three people in role may not act as they are not fully accountable for a task. 

Thanks to Tom and Jeff for their support. 

Shammi 

Jeff Kreh
01/26/2019

We find that with the right attitude, a focus on an accountability versus a duplicated division works. I'd agree that it's not necessarily ideal, but it works - which fits our MVP strategic focus (minimum viable product/process).

Tom Mulder
01/27/2019

Nope. I am not saying that Jeff's approach is wrong. Looking at his comment they have made on role with the same accountabilities and made focus areas for holacratic principles, one for "translating" those principles for the uninitiated pyramid-minded vantage of the accreditors, another edits to smooth out grammatical issues. Perfect use of the Focus principle and it works for them.

Guess the role is something like "Accreditation application whisperer" with several accountabilities that cover the three areas above.

Andrea Faré
01/27/2019
shammi nanda posted:

want to understand what are the reasons for having focus? To solve Which tension is the idea of focus created? 

Is it just to define the time for some one to be in the role. Or is it sharing some part of the accountabilities that this person can take and a role's accountabilities are divided amongst two to three people by giving them a focus. If that is so, then is it not better to create a new role? Like to hear from those who find it useful and apply it in their practice. How does this help 

Cannot comment on the original tension that sparked the idea of focuses but I see them as a great way to perform vertical partitioning of accountabilities inside a role. Think of accountabilities as lines, and of focuses as columns that divide those lines. A role filler is expected to perform all the accountabilities each one having a certain breadth of scope to it, but you can then restrict that breadth by slicing it into specific domains (i.e. markets, clients) , geographies (i.e. branches, cities ...)  time slots (i.e. week days)  or conditions (i.e.” as backup” when main role filler is not available) and mark them as focuses.

I haven’t added much to the previous comments but sometimes a different perspective can help shape our personal understanding of a new concept.

 

Ciao

Sam Burnett
01/28/2019

Shamini,

An example from our work is the "trainer role".  We have partners that can train in a number of different content areas.  Rather than have a role for each content area (trainer content area 1, trainer content area 2, etc...) we use the focus feature.  So we have one role with one set of accountabilities and then further categrize the partners filling that role with the focus feature.  It streamlines our efforts to update trainer accountabilities and makes it easy to view all the partners that are doing training for us.