Within Liip, we start to have circles in need of coordination with Circles in Hola-distant Circles. After some attempts at using "Role/Circle invitees", we realized §2.7 "Cross-Links" was exactly what we were looking for. But hell, that section is complex! Also, holaSpirit doesn't yet support Cross-Links directly; so, as GCC Facilitator, I came up with some documentation to help both understanding and implementation of Cross-Links, and would welcome feedback from the community about it.
How-to Cross Link
What are Cross Links?
In the Holacracy Constitution 4.1, this is outlined in the chapter §2.7 Cross Linking.
A Role within a Circle used to represent the interests and Tensions of an external Circle or organization.
From the target Circle point of view, the Cross Link Role for a remote Circle is very similar to a Rep Link for an inner Circle.
Cross-Linking a external Circle
Assuming a complex holarchy for the "Bagels" Company in which Circle "Packaging" (within Circle "Production") wants to invite Circle "Future tastes" (within Circle "R&D") to its Governance Process and operations, in order to be better prepared for the Bagel packaging of the future. Then, in Holacracy Terms:
- The "Packaging" Circle can invite "Future tastes" to its Governance Process and operations through a change in its own Governanceonly, the "Future tastes" Circle is not part of that process (= cannot object).
- The "Packaging" Circle Governance change is the addition of a "Future tastes Cross Link" Policy, which de facto, creates a "Future tastes → Packaging Cross Link" Role, which resides in both the "Packaging" & "Future tastes" Circles. The Purpose and Accountabilities of that Role are a direct translation of a Rep Link's, and are defined in the Constitution.
- Role-filling the "Future tastes → Packaging Cross Link" Role is done by the "Future tastes" Circle according to its role-filling practices (initially a Domain of the Lead Link), but it is not forced to role-fill it. In that case, the Role has no default assignment nor effect.
- Cross Linking is unidirectional, this new Role only allows the "Packaging" Circle to get a representation of the interest and Tensions of the "Future tastes" Circle. Creating the reciprocate Role is allowed, but is a "Future tastes" Governance decision.
In the Holacracy Constitution 4.1, this is outlined in the chapter §2.7 Cross Linking. With our example:
|Term||From the Constitution||Applied to the example|
|Linked Entity||Future tastes|
|Cross Link Role||Future tastes → Packaging Cross Link|
|CL Role Purpose|
|Within the Target Circle, the Cross Link holds the Purpose of the Linked Entity; within the Linked Entity, the Cross Link’s Purpose is: Tensions relevant to process in the Target Circle channeled out and resolved.|
Within Packaging, the Cross Link holds the Purpose of the Future tastes;
Within Future tastes, the Cross Link’s Purpose is: Tensions relevant to process in Packaging channeled out and resolved.
Circle Cross-Links in holaSpirit
1 - Governance Proposal
Given that holaSpirit does not support Cross Links yet, here's a recommendation on how to use Cross Links efficiently.
In Packaging Governance, such a Governance Proposal works. (Use the "@" functionality of holaSpirit).
@Future_tastes is invited to @Packaging's Governance Process and operations.
Within Packaging, the Cross Link holds the Purpose of the Future tastes; within Future tastes, the Cross Link’s Purpose is: Tensions relevant to process in Packaging channeled out and resolved.
- Removing constraints within the broader Organization that limit Future tastes.
- Seeking to understand Tensions conveyed by the Future tastes Members, and discerning those appropriate to process in Packaging
- Providing visibility to Packaging into the health of Future tastes, including reporting on any metrics or checklist items assigned to Future tastes.
2 - Role-filling the Cross Link Role
§2.7.2 Cross Link Assignment
In all cases, only one person may be assigned to each Cross Link Role, unless allowed by the Cross Link Policy.
Whenever a Cross Link Role is unfilled, it is considered non-existent and has no default assignment or effect.
Once that is adopted, make sure the Future tastes Circle is informed of the creation of this role with a message such as:
The Packaging circle has adopted a Cross Link Policy and linked your "Future tastes" Circle with a Cross Link Policy. This means that the role-filling of the "@Future tastes Cross Link" role is within the realm of your Future tastes Circle. It is initally a domain of the Lead Link to role-fill this role. As holaSpirit doesn't allow this, just communicate your role-fill decision to the Packaging Circle and they'll make it happen on holaSpirit.
Note that the Future tastes Circle should not create the role in its Circle, as the synchronization between the role definition and role-filling in both would be manual.
What do you think?
Is the example valid in terms of Constitution 4.1?
Anything to add, or update, to make this clearer?