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

Organisation of Brain Center of the company

Keith Jarvis posted:

Lastly, on the Board, I dug up our 'cede authority' proposals and it appears to me that the Board is in fact not our anchor circle but that our "Lead Operating Circle" is.  I'm not sure how this changes things and am continuing to research.

Hi, everybody! 

I am just developing now the initial structure of the organisation and I have a question that is pretty close to what have been discussed in this topic, especially, 2a question of [@mention:454478741268114544].

The only difference is we are not going to have a Board of directors, but we are going to have a Brain Center. The purpose of it is going to be 'To decide the direction of the company's development.', the accountabilities are going to be

  • Making the most important decisions of the company in accordance with Vision, Mission and the Purpose of the company.

  • Defining, developing and improving of basic business processes at the company.

This Brain Centre will include main Partners of the company from all the Circles I would choose (later the Brain Center will choose the Partners by itself), it also will include outside consultants(of economics, legal service, production industry professionals, etc.), holders of other businesses, everybody, who is needed to develop the company. All roles in the circle except standard Holacracy roles will be Cross Links. 

Now I can not understand and would like to discuss the situation, whether to make the Brain Center Circle as an Anchor Circle of the company or as a Sub-Circle of an Anchor Circle, or maybe some third variant , like, to make Brain Center Circle as a Cross Link Circle (is it possible?) of the General Circle?

I think that it is better to use Brain Center as an Anchor Circle, because if it is a Sub-Circle of an Anchor Circle, the Anchor Circle can close the Brain Center, which is bad.

My initial structure looks like this now:

Initial Fluvius Company Structure

Maybe it is a bad idea to create a Brain Center and just to invite Cross Links to the General Circle, which exists now?

2 Replies
Koen Veltman

Hi Georgiy,

reading the case you describe I have a couple of suggestions (shooting from the hip, happy to jump on a skype call to elaborate a bit more)

1- keep it simple. holacracy allows you to take organizational design iterative. There is typically little need to design the full solution upfront. What you currently need from the Braincenter can be different from the needs in a couple of months. So with Holacracy just make sure you get current needs met, and act on what will emerge afterwards when it is about to happen. What would go wrong if you didnt create a Braincenter? If nothing: dont create it. If something: just create that.

2- start with the "brain center" as its own sub-circle. focused on being an "advisory board". you can experience then if the influx of ideas from different stakeholders as you envision it really works.

3- within the space of self-organization Holacracy belongs to the analogy with the human body is often made. Where in the traditional management hierarchy the believe is that there is a central control system (ie the Brain) where decisions are coordinated vs the self-organized entity where every internal organ has its own function and it makes its own decisions (ie trust the Liver to act as the Liver, the Lungs will do a terrible job at that...). The two accountabilities you describe for the Braincenter it reads like you create a traditional hierarchy within your Holacracy... I would suggest to reconsider those. Potentially the second accountability could go to the production circle because that is probably accountable for process execution and improvement. And the Braincenter is more an "advice circle". And you could make explicit which VIP decisions require advice from the Braincenter. For example investment/divestment decisions above EUR x.

Hope this helps!


Georgiy Gres

Hi, Koen.

Thank you for your answer! It is pretty detailed answer for me.

Now I will follow your suggestion, I will keep it simple. Actually, for now it is not the main point to decide how exactly the Brain Center works in my system. 

What about hierarchy, I think, you may understand me wrong, because I have formulated my accountabilities wrong, maybe.

Also to use the Brain Center as an advisor is a good idea! Thank you, I'll try.

If there are more complicated challenges appear, I will write here more precise situation.