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

Gray area Objections: Already an issue, this makes it worse

Facilitators -

Have you experienced Objections that skirt the boundary of 'already an issue' with the belief that the Proposal makes an existing issue worse?  

If so, how did you deal with it?

In particular - how do you guide Integration without the Objector working the pre-existing issue into the offered amendments?  Or should that be allowed to some extent, to accommodate an organic quality to Integration?

This recently arose and as Facilitator I struggled and believe that I may have erred on the side of allowing the Objector more leeway than necessary.

Your feedback & opinions welcome, thank you!

4 Replies
Fred Magovern

If possible, it seems like it would be ideal if the objection could be integrated just enough to reduce it to the pre-proposal level. I'd be interested to hear what people more experienced have to say, but if this wasn't possible, I would probably rule it as invalid.

Karilen Mays

Keith - The degree to which an issue is made worse, and if a logical argument is made about how the proposal would do so, there could be a valid part. 

Staying focused on which part of the proposal exacerbates the issue (once described how it does so) is one way to integrate as much as you need, and not more than that.

If you think you integrated more than necessary, then I say it is just something to notice and perhaps more integration practice will allow you to sense when to check in with proposer and objector, capture ideas, and end integration.

Also, sometimes people are attached to integrating a tension at a certain level, or a lack of understand or comfort with objections may also be an obstacle; there is only so much you can do as facilitator if that is the case.

Sometimes it will happen that you integrate more than needed, and it seems better than the alternative of stuck or incomplete integrations!

Our coach training has a little practice with this (difficult integrations). 


I agree with Karilen that the harm in this instance is very limited.  If the integration round is conducted properly, the proposer's tension will have been met and the objector's objection will have been satisfied.  If there is ancillary benefit due to an overreach, I think that's fine.

If you're stuck in integration because the objector keeps dragging in other preexisting issues, I think that may be a sign that the facilitator should have tested the objection more thoroughly.  Good objection testing will get quite specific about what part of the proposal is objectionable, and during integration the facilitator can drive the conversation back to that element.

I have seen a number of difficult integrations where I felt like the root cause was an insufficiently tested objection, which left the circle unclear about what to integrate, or with too large an integration task.  This is something all facilitators will get a better feel for over time.

Gerald Mitterer

Hey Keith,

just want to underline what Karilen and Kevin stated and add the phrasing I found useful (learned from Tom) to specify where integration is needed. You might ask: what is the offending piece? which specific part of the proposal does your objection refer to?