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

How long did it take for you to get Holacracy up and running?

Hello, how long did it take for you to get Holacracy up and running (and was it an existing organization —> switch from hierarchy model?)

If I’d make a 6 months sophisticated guess for implementation in a NEW company under 10 people, that might be on the right track.. Or?

One of the first things my mentor taught me, was that any (at least mid-size) change in an organization takes 6 months minimum.

And the reason for this is that usually, human mind needs half a year to get used to a new way to do things and finally accept it (if there was some resistance in the beginning).

So that’s how I made my math 

And of course this is going to be a never ending learning process, but my question is about reaching the "first level” of executing Holacracy.

6 Replies
Bernard Marie Chiquet

[@mention:562150194299319857] All depends of the energy and willingness the client wants to inject into such transformation AND all depends on the way you handle such transformation - 12 weeks after adoption is the duration it usually takes for our implementation to get to the first marker - a self-sufficient company using rigorously Holacracy - and then as you mention, it's the beginning of the journey

Koen Veltman

Hi Jalmari, great question. might be the million dollar question...

so here are my 2cts:

The level of TRUST between colleagues in the organization is the biggest differentiator in speed of implementation. I trumps size and history of the organization.

what I mean is: if the trust between employees is high the implementation of holacracy is much easier then in the situation where there is a low level of trust between employees. 

With very high level of trust between employees I have experienced 10-50 people companies get to a basic comfort level with holacracy in about 2+ months. larger companies and lower levels of trust can easily get you to 6-12 month range.

Jalmari Kivinen
Interesting, thanks for good answers guys.
[@mention:456449141667144364] So what do you exactly mean by the trust between the team?
-So is it about the trust towards the new system (Holacracy)? So then the question is that how well the idea was “pitched and sold” to the team?
-Or do you mean trust from the group dynamics point of view?

So that people trust each other because they see colleques as a friends/brothers/sisters who they CAN and WANT to rely on? 
(Compared to loose teams, eg. people going to work in a factory just to get bills paid)


Francesco Lomonaco

I do not think it is about feeling as friends/brothers/sisters. It is more about not living in "fear/worries". If people do not feel defensive against each others and do not feel threatened, using positive assumption more than suspicion (example of trusted environment), organizational change will be smoother. If trust is there, there will be less friction and resistance. IMO

Koen Veltman

Trust just like Francesco mentions. Act based on positive assumptions and very low level of defensiveness. 


I think it depends on what you mean by "up and running".

My impression is there is always a learning journey, always resistance - and different people will pass through it at different speeds. And part of the organisational experience will be: the (inter-personal and work-related) tensions that arise as a result of some people "getting" the system and using it before others. 

Holacracy (like the world of work in general, but particularly self-managing work) assumes that people operate all the time from a certain stage of mindset (in Kegan's framework L4/self-authoring - seems to be about equivalent to the "Achiever" action logic). How many people are there yet, and how many people have to go on that journey in order to "get" will be a factor.

An added complexity: can you manage people into a self-managing system or can only point them in the direction of how they can manage themselves, and then wait patiently ("hold space") for them?


All that said, I think I agree with your rough estimate of six months for an SME - and a time frame of 1 - 2 years for true master of Holacracy, such that the forms drop away and all that is left is the lived truth of self-management. (The "Ri" stage of Shu-Ha-Ri - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuhari).