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

Holacracy in one sentence

I'm collecting ideas of how to define Holacracy in one sentence to help explain what Holacracy is, avoid misconceptions and check understanding with others. I've captured two ideas from two different people so far:

'Delivering organisation mission by organising activity, which is autonomous, but connected and complementary.'

'The art of sensing into and then processing tensions in pursuit of purpose and capturing the output of these tensions to provide clarity.'

How would you describe Holacracy in one sentence?

11 Replies
Tom Mulder

A set of rules which, together, define and structure purpose driven self-organization.


I'll give it a try:

Holacracy is a way of organizing that helps founders plant a seed of purpose, and then provides the structure necessary for workers to grow and evolve the organization into something that brings that purpose into being. 

Jean-Michel Gode

I'd try this one :
Holacracy is a complete ruleset to self structure and self organize around the work to be done.

Nick Osborne

An interesting question Sally, and one I have seen threads on here about before. 

Having tried and seen many different approaches to this, my approach is to seek to make any definition of Holacracy relevant to the context I am in. There are many different ways to define and describe Holacracy (replacing hierarchy, evolution, distributing authority, purposeful organisation, processing tensions to effect change...) , and different definitions will be more relevant to different people in different contexts. So I try to get a sense of where someone is and what their interests may be before offering a definition that I sense might fit best for them. 

So I think your approach of collecting ideas of how to define it is a good one and I’d love to see a collectively sourced 'Repository of Definitions of Holacracy'. 

Sally McCutchion

Love the diversity of these responses so far.

The common words so far seem to be ruleset, purpose, self-organise, structure, grow, evolve, get things done, being, connected, clarity.

Keep them coming...!


Hi Sally,

A response to this challenge that inspired me so far, is the one from Brian quoting Alexia : "Organization for grown-ups" (mentioned for example in this interesting article : https://blog.holacracy.org/hol...an-side-36d601882d21)

P.s. : for the ones who speak French, I love this article with various proposal from [@mention:450538002759581166] : http://holacracyinsider.com/bl...-ce-que-lholacracy-1  




Paul Walker

We use, "A tool (or set of tools) to help an organization become self-managed and self-organized."

Sally McCutchion

Thanks guys! Any more out there?


I have two that I use

  • Agile for organisations
  • A set of tools to structure self-management
Koen Veltman

here is my 1 sentence if I have time to give illustration with each of the words because its not self explanatory... 

Holacracy is a system, a set of rules, for self-organization

Joost Schouten

I use: "Holacracy makes sure every action in the organisation directly contributes to the goal (Purpose) of the organisation"

The how around authority and self-organisation are all strategies to achieve this in my opinion.