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

Invalid Objection or Not? Deleting a role that is redundant with another role in a sister circle

Hi,

I need some help in interpreting the validity of an objection.

I proposed to delete a role X (Human development) from a circle C (SEKEM Holding). My tension was that we recently created another sub circle Y (capacity building) at another circle B (cultural life), which is similar in terms of its purpose. Both circles B and C are only indirectly linked because they have the same anchor circle A (SEKEM). To formulate it in another way: SEKEM (anchor circle) has four circles (economic life, cultural life, societal life, and ecology). The sub circle economic life has the sub circle SEKEM Holding, which has the role human development. The sub circle cultural life has the sub circle capacity building.

From a purpose point of view the role Y (capacity building) has a “better fit” within its super circle (because cultural life is about human development in general) than circle X (because Economic Life/SEKEM Holding are more about Value Creation). The issue is that people got used to the circle X because it is around longer and it has more detailed accountabilities.

 

The objection (Objection 1) was as follows: We cannot let the role and accountabilities fall out of circle C because then no-one would feel responsible for it anymore.

 

Question 1: Is this a valid objection because actually within the whole organization (SEKEM) there would still be another circle taking care of a comparable purpose like the one role to be removed?

 

Another objection (Objection 2) was raised: The circle Y (capacity building) is not very “real”, i.e. recently founded and the lead link of the super circle (cultural life) is not very active and experienced in this field. So it would be much more realistic to have the circle X (human development).

 

Question 2: Is this a valid objection because you cannot argue with people as being a resource issue/ tactical tension.

Hope that things got clear for you! Don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Thanks,

 

Max

3 Replies
Romain Bisseret
03/01/2017

The way I see it, Objection 1 may not be valid because this is clearly anticipation : we don't know yet if nobody would feel responsible for it anymore (and even if it is so, maybe it's OK for roles in that circle to not care about it, as long as it is taken care of elsewhere). I'd go through the process "do you know for sure it'll happen based on data, or are you anticipating, and if so, would it be too late to course correct it later or is it safe enough to try?".

Objection 2 would challenge the need you had for creating that new circle (capacity building) in the first place. But since it's been created, I don't see why it'd be any less real than any other circle. Go through the 4 questions of the process and I'm pretty sure this one won't cut it (I'd say the objector doesn't act from its roles but is rather trying to help out everyone).

My 2 cents.

Chris Cowan
03/01/2017

Hey Max, I'm a visual person, so it was a little hard for me to follow your description (so, forgive me if I get any of this wrong). 

Objection 1 sounds valid to me (assuming it passes all test criteria). "We cannot let the role and accountabilities fall out of circle C because then no-one would feel responsible for it anymore." Basically, someone is saying, "I think we need that function in this circle and having it in a sub-circle...well, that is great for them, but that doesn't help this circle." If you need to get more specific, then you can ask how that function is needed to energize the current purpose of accountabilities. They should be able to give you examples, but don't put them in a defensive "hot seat" kind of position. Better to err on the side of integrating it. 

Objection 2: "The circle Y (capacity building) is not very “real”, i.e. recently founded and the lead link of the super circle (cultural life) is not very active and experienced in this field. So it would be much more realistic to have the circle X (human development)." Ha! Well, the argument, "that it's not very real," isn't enough for me to comment. If the argument is about a lack of capacity of the current role-filler, then that is just a misunderstanding about what governance does.

Creating a new role does not create a new person. It isn't about resources, including human resources (this is a general statement and not 100% accurate, but a useful distinction for this situation). In fact, there is already governance that covers this because the Lead Link of the super-circle is accountable for getting the right role-filler (which would be that sub-circle's "not really there" Lead Link). So, the governance is likely already there to address the issue. 

Now, resource concerns can be valid objections. Especially if coming from the Lead Link since that role has an accountability around resources. But even then the argument needs to be clear that the phrasing of the proposed governance actually does necessarily determine resources. 

A question like, "even with infinite time and money, would you still have this objection?" can be an effective question to help the objector get more clear. Just remember, if the objector says, "yes" even with infinite resources they would still have the objection, then just move on to other questions or take it into integration). 

So, resources can show up in valid objections. Example 1: Creating a new role with a mixture of accountabilities that will make it impossible for the Lead Link to find a good role fit with the current pool of people (e.g. a Finance role that requires lots of financial knowledge

Example 1: Creating a new role with a mixture of accountabilities that will make it impossible for the Lead Link to find a good role fit with the current pool of people (e.g. a Finance role that requires lots of financial knowledge and legal knowledge, though there is no single person who has both...so, LL objects and splits it into two roles. simple). 

Example 2: An objection to the proposal "not being realistic" can be valid. So, if there is a new accountability like, "Updating the website to be compatible with all browsers," that role may object by saying, "compatibility with all browsers is not realistic. It's impossible to guarantee compatibility with all browsers -- even with infinite resources, it wouldn't be a good idea to try." Or something like that. 

I hope that helps! And let me know if it doesn't because I'm working on a project to distill guidance like this.

-CC 

Oh, just a thought, I realized that a screenshot would help. Or, maybe something like this...

  • SEKEM Holding
    • Cultural Life
      • Capacity Building
Maximilian
03/01/2017

Hi Chris and Romain,

thanks for your feedback. As you see you can look at things from different perspectives as you did and I, as filling also the role of the secretary, also felt unsure of what to do. The facilitator was not very experienced so actually he counted Objection 1 as valid. Unfortunately, the discussion went on forever and the social tension increased ("almost a breakdown I would say"). I withdrew my proposal to remove the role because I had the feeling that it would shock people too much with this drastic propsal. I could have actually played the card of the secretary and say "this is a valid objection" or "this is not a valid objection"... but am I allowed to interfere in an integration as a secretary without being asked?

Your hint to testing objections with the question "even with infinite time and money, would you still have this objection?" is very useful and makes the previously mentioned objection 2 invalid in my eyes. This would of course effect also objection 1 but things are getting complicated. I feel one has to take the level of Holacracy understanding/maturity of circle members into account and prepare the ground for big decisions like that.  

Now, I am still left with some unclear overall governance situation with one role X (Human development) and another sub circle Y (capacity building) with similar purposes but the one being more operational. 

I think a good solution could be to propose deleting the "weaker" one (sub circle capacity building) and to invite the stronger one (role human development) as a cross link to cultural life...what do you think?

Please find some illustration below (because I could not insert screenshots)

SEKEM

1. Economic Life

1.1. SEKEM Holding 

1.1.1. Human Development 

2. Cultural life

2.1. Capacity Building

More details on Purpose and accountabilities:

 

Capacity Building Purpose: Personal development and consciousness raising for people for adults

Accountabilities:

  • Providing capacity building for adults
  • Providing technical, artistic and social competences for adults

 

 

Human Development Purpose: Supporting SEKEM employees become our competitive advantage through holistic development by creating workplaces reflecting human dignity. We recruit & retain qualified staff and align them with the overall SEKEM Vision.

Accountabilities:

  • Recruiting & retaining people
  • Assessing SEKEM employees
  • Providing capacity building for SEKEM employees
  • Preparing Human Development budget & plan
  • Enhancing SEKEM image to employees by orientation & onboarding
  • Implementing SEKEM vision, corporate identity and promoting diversity and cascading its values to all employees
  • Providing timely monthly filled out sustainable development input sheets and confirm the presented data within the draft report prior to the monthly meeting (if there is a mistake, the corrected data must be given on time)
  • Reviewing existing and proposing new employee benefit programs, including the integration those (i.e. Medical, Life Insurance... etc.), in the spirit of Holocracy
  • Analyzing compensation policies and prevailing wage rates to develop and propose competitive compensation plan (pay structure/scale), in the spirit of Holocracy
  • Developing and implementing a system, which offers SEKEM Holding & subsidiaries employees an individual personal and career development plan, in the spirit of Holocracy
  • Providing realistic targets for all respective SD indicators that fall under the responsibility of the role at the beginning of each new year and adapting them regularly in a transparent way
  • Handling crisis communication regarding Human Development and its projects aligned with and supported by the Communications & Relations Role.

 

Thanks for your time and effort!