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

Holacracy in a startup: How to best handle conflicting decisions taken on impactful matter?

I'm trying to find a good governance solution for following:

I'm in a startup (having signed the holacracy constitution). Everybody has a role and all is going pretty fine expect for what is touching to the translation of the company purpose into reality.

Today, the company purpose is defined and the company value proposition and offers are being investigated.

What is happening is that a role (assigned to a single person) takes decision about the proposition without alignment with the others and starting communicating to the outside world. This is fully in line with the holacratic rules BUT

  1. it's creating a communication mess for the potential customers (receiving different messages of what the company is proposing)
  2. and I believe that having one person having the authority to decide on the real foundations of the company is not right.

 

I'm going to raise that tension at the next governance meeting, but I have no idea how this can be solved in holacracy?

I could propose to create a specific circle with a domain for defining the proposition, concepts and offers of the company but even then, the question remain about who decide? 

I cannot seek alignment / consensus among this circle.

From what I understand, it will always come to a role / 1 person.

How this can be solved in holacracy?

Thanks in advance for your help !

Angela

4 Replies
Tom Mulder
11/20/2018

Hi Angela,

Interesting tensions. To start with the proposition tension. What might be a solution is to create more roles around proposition. So one role that is responsible for the creation of new propositions, one that is responsible for the decision to bring a proposition to the market and f.e. one that is responsible for bringing new propositions to the market. This way there are more decision makers involved. An other option is to make a Policy that put some restrictions in place. For example a policy like "If you create a new proposition then it needs be aligned with the Proposition process". In this process you can describe how you want to handle everything around the proposition. F.e. in this process you can state that role X, Y and Z need to have no objections before bringing new propositions to the market (and if they have objections you integrate them). 

For the communication part you can decide to provide a domain to a role that is responsible for Customer Communication. If this role gets the domain "Proposition Communication" then no other role can communicate on this without approval from this role. This way this role can align all the communication on propositions. 

Check this article from Olivier Compagne (especially the Approving part) on Medium for more inspiration and examples: https://blog.holacracy.org/wri...lacracy-eb9d83e363bf

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Tom

Jeff Kreh
11/20/2018

This challenge exists for all startups, especially when culture has yet to solidify to the point of supporting an influx of new talent. I would recommend raise this as a tension since being authentic and fair with customers and partners alike is a priority. A communications strategy and solid branding strategy is needed - everyone on the same page and that page a thing they helped create. I recommend checking out Storybrand and the good work that Don Miller and his team do.

Angela Gentile
11/21/2018

Hello,

Thank you so much for your advices. That’s really interesting.

Tom, I will definitely try bringing several new roles around the propositions.

Have a great day

Angela

Juliane Martina Röll
11/21/2018

I could propose to create a specific circle with a domain for defining the proposition, concepts and offers of the company but even then, the question remain about who decide? 

I think you are on the right path already: You can create Domains for the elements you want to protect. Then, as a first step, you could try to have the relevant roles assigned to yourself.

(You say that the current situation is "creating a communication mess for the potential customers" - do you hold a Role that cares about this?)