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

Interface between pilot group and the rest of the non-holacratic organisation

I am working with a couple of clients who are seriously considering implementing Holacracy as a self management process - mainly as part of a wider evolution to Teal. The key current consideration is how to manage the interface between any pilot group and the rest of the organisation. Is there any current best practice on this? Hard lessons learned? Things to bear in mind? Must haves? Can anyone share any resources; articles, case studies, personal experiences that can help me, help my clients? Much appreciated.

6 Replies
Andrea Demaria


Experiences? Some

Time to write them down? May be next year?

Possible to put everything in writing? For me very difficult

Interest in discussing the topic exchanging experiences? A lot

Any ideas how to have a more concrete discussion?

BR, Andrea

Daniel Sigrist

Hi Sarah,

I am working in a big corporation and we are starting to implement Holacracy in some departements (e.g. one holacratic departement has 120 people and the whole - non-holacratic - company has 20'000 people). We have also been running pilots insinde the departements and I am very familiar with your question regarding the interface between the holacractic and the non-holacratic world.

My best practice so far was to point them to the tension-processing process: If ever tensions arise in this topic, aknowledge them and process them to find a workable solution at that very moment. Usually, all the questions are hypothetical and in my experience there are not so many real tensions on this interface - because everyone keeps doing their work and the "outside world" mostly doesn't really feel a difference (or maybe only like "you guys are much faster and smoother and seem to be more relaxed now with that Hola-thing"). That's why I usually react to questions about the holacratic and the non-holacratic in a way of "Dou you know this impact will occur or are you anticipating this is likely to occur?" to find out whether they already have real tensions based on experience or if they are intellectually arguing that things might happen on the interface.

My main message there is that with Holacracy people don't need to have all the answers but they have to feel confident that there is a clear process for finding answers as soon as tensions arise. In my experience people with a lot of questions then usually are like "ah ok, that makes sense" and calm down a bit.

I hope that helps?

Best regards, Daniel

Sally McCutchion

Hi Sarah,

My thoughts on this:

- The connection between the trial team and the rest of the organisation is fairly simple as I understand it. There is clarity around who is accountable for what and any communications between the trial team and the non-Holacracy part of the organisation happens as normal. You can think of it a bit like when a Holacracy organisation works with/alongside it’s suppliers or customers who don’t use Holacracy. There are no problems and actually there should be greater clarity around who a supplier/customer needs to speak to.

- There may be some limitations for the trial team around creating ‘apps’ for their circles. This would depend on how much freedom the trial is given by the broader organisation. Limitations within the trial may be frustrating for those within the Holacracy and form part of the reason that trials tend to be rolled out to the rest of the organisation quicker than originally planned. It is beneficial to be aware of this from the start.

- It is imperative that the trial has support of the power holders of the overall organisation.




For some ressources -in hope this helps you- iGi implemented Holacracy within a few pilots (Danone, KingFisher, Decathlon..) : http://igipartners.com/en/test...y-part-large-company

Along an article wrote by an ex-manager : http://lexcellenceenholacracy....ied-in-a-large-group


Have a nice day,

Sarah Morris

Thank you to all of you who have responded thus far. It seems to be a less complicated issue than maybe I had anticipated (so there I am, doing just what your clients do Daniel!). Sally, thanks for that reminder that it is no different then a Holacratic organisation interfacing with non-holacratic customers. Louis, thanks for the links, which I have look at and read with interest. I will share some of this with my clients.

Koen Veltman

hi Sarah, just see it as work to interact/update/align with the broader organization. and hence create roles for it. maybe there is a

spokesperson (telling the holacracy story)

holacracy implementation (identifying the next natural step for the organization to take with holacracy)

"Inbox" (caring for incoming messages so they get to the right role and answered swiftly - as to the outside the changing holacracy governance can be confusing - its just good customer practice to answer messagesn)

Safari guide (providing the non-holacratic part of the organization with a real life experience of how holacracy works by joining tactical and governance meeting)

Communications (sharing holacracy updates with the broader organization)

things like that.