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Posted in GlassFrogBy Jenn • 05/10/2016

How Many is Too Many Accountabilities

We are a private school using glassfrog and a blend of sociocracy and holacracy as we transition away from a power over structure. We have a rich language for the role of a co-teacher which includes many accountabilites. How many is too many just in terms of usefulness? Would it be helpful for us to group accountabilites ie Interacting, x y z Planning, x y z, Scheduling, x y z?

4 Replies
Bernard Marie Chiquet

One big piece to get in Holacracy is to digest that accountabilities are not to describe a role but to define explicit expectations other roles can lean on...

The real answer to "how many" is very pragmatic - is somebody sensing a tension re that?  It answer is no, it's not "too many". If answer is yes, then just process the tension - may be by reshaping the accountabilities into broader ones, or...

NB Curious to understand more what you mean when you say "using glassfrog and a blend of sociocracy and holacracy" as for me, knowing quite a lot re sociocracy, sociocracy and Holacracy, even if there are some similarities on the surface, are completly on two different planets.



Hi Jenn,

In my understanding so far, I would say the right question here is not "how many is too many accountabilities", but "how many accountabilities the circle member(s) filling this role is(are) able to truly enact" ?

If people feel overwhelmed or lack clarity for traking tensions, projects and next-actions, then the role may be split either in Focus (multiple people filling the same role, each of them being assigned to a clear focus) or the role may become itself a sub-circle of the current circle it belongs to.

Both cases may be treated in a Governance meeting of course.

In this last case, the sub-circle would split up in multiple roles as a self-organized entity, with its own governance meetings too.

Hope I'm right and it helps you.


Brian Robertson

To echo and add on to Bernard Marie's comment, I'd also say this: you only want enough accountabilities to address tensions that have arisen.  You are never trying to "document a role" in Holacracy - you are letting tensions drive accountability clarity. When you first start with Holacracy, you want your roles to be super light-weight - just one purpose or one accountability is enough, and you don't want too much more than that.  Then, let tensions drive more clarity over time.

Francesco Lomonaco

Thanks Brian for highlighting that. Because of 4.1.5 ("Implicit Expectations Hold No Weight") it might seem that everything has to be explicit and by my experience the first target of those who start is deeply documenting Accountabilities. Easy to end up to a hyper documented bureaucratic governance. I think that the content of your comment should be added to the new version more clearly somehow. My 2 cents.