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

Ideas Needed

We use Holacracy in our small preschool and we have a parent circle from which we have a rep and lead that attend our anchor circle meetings. They are all on board but there are some other parents that don't serve (or want to serve) as rep or link that don't feel they are really represented. So the rep is planning to bring this tension to governance and propose that any changes to the Parent Handbook would need to be tabled to be consented on at the next meeting.

This of course is a big tension for me as I value the speed and ease of the Holacracy practice (considering I am accustomed to being the owner and director) I in multiple of my roles worry that this would add a lot of bureaucratic slowness to the process. I as a lead link and partner worry that people will be less likely to bring ideas through governance because the process is slowed.

I am reaching out for ideas for two reasons, one is that I wonder if this is just a speed bump in the rules of the road, while unpleasant, sometimes necessary and I need not object. Or if others have had a similar tension and if they had any ideas for possible solutions.



2 Replies

A couple of thoughts from me Jenn:

1. "Be the generic sports car" - this principal for me is about 'by default go fast, but in certain areas that are sensitive slow down'. Domains and policies are about saying "these are the sensitive areas". And if this is a sensitive area for the Parent role/circle, then seems like a legitimate speed bump to propose some sort of domain or policy around it.

2. "Stop, collaborate, and listen" - if the way the Parents circle wants to solve its tension CREATES a tension for you (as LL) - then maybe you have a valid objection, or as we think of it at GrantTree: a valid invitation to collaborate on a solution that meets their needs and your needs. That's what the IDM process is for.

Hope that helps!


Olivier Compagne

[@mention:493184366878843164] Ditto to what [@mention:544274267239861666] said about raising an objection - it seems to me that you just articulated one in your post, so I hope you raise it at the governance meeting. 

I think you want to be cautious with how the parents are going to be represented in the circle's governance process. I love the idea of having some kind of representative for the parents' interests in the circle, since they are major stakeholders.

At the same time, the governance process is designed for roles to govern the organization, not people. The purpose of the organization is the guiding north star, and roles are serving the organization's purpose, whereas the parents per se as serving their own personal (and their kids') purpose (as they should).

There is a line that I believe shouldn't be crossed between listening to your customers/stakeholders, and letting them veto decisions you need to make for the organization. 

I'm curious about the Parent Rep tension actually. Why are parents not feeling represented by the existing rep? Maybe they need another one? Maybe you want a policy allowing them to choose the Rep via election or some convenient process?

Is it that their tensions are not being represented, or that they are represented but don't get resolved in the way they want? The former situation might be an issue, the latter might just be the healthy outcome of an integration. It seems like a rep link type role for parents should address their need for representation, so if it's not doing that I would explore why. 

As an alternative, here is a suggestion for how you could structure this process:

  • You could have the Parent Handbook defined as a Domain on a role that's accountable for developing and evolving it. In addition, the accountability could mention a need to integrate objections from parents before updating it. E.g. "Developing and evolving the Parent Handbook, and notifying parents and integrating their Objections before releasing updated versions".

Note: this uses the construct of Objections as a threshold for things that need to be integrated, instead of any input they might have. By delegating the domain of the Parent Handbook to a role, it allows this role to update it without going to a governance meeting, which would help with your need for speed and agility.

Hope that helps, good luck!