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

Is the proposal imposing restrictions on raising the tensions to a tactical meeting valid?


One of the participants suggested adopting a policy for tensions. In his opinion, people often take out to the assembly tensions, which they could solve among themselves. And he suggests not to allow the processing of tensions, for which people did not try to find a solution among themselves outside the meeting.

Such a proposal seems to contradict the constitution. But in paragraph 4.2.3 of the constitution about the Tactical Meetings written, "A Circle may adopt a Policy to add to the OR change this required process."

Do you think that such a proposal is valid?

Thank you

4 Replies
Tom Mulder

Nadir, for a Proposal to be valid the following questions need to be answered (see art 3.2.2 and 3.2.3)

  • Can you describe the tension behind the Proposal
  • Could you present an actual, specific, and reasonable example situation?
  • The tension comes from/limits which one of your roles?

In your example I am wondering from which role he feels the tension. Feels more like it is a personal thing the person is feeling.

Nadir Aliev

Thanks for the answer! I did not put it right. A person proposes to change the process defined by the constitution. Suppose this sentence is valid for him. One of the participants at the stage of objection can object to this proposal by referring to 3.2.4 Criteria for Valid Objections: "Processing or adopting the Proposal breaks the rules defined in this Constitution, or prompts the Circle or its members to act outside of the authority granted under this Constitution." He can explain this by saying that the restriction of the possibility of raising tensions is contrary to the basics of holacracy." The question is, is it possible to consider that such a proposal really violates the constitution? Or the objection can be removed by referring to the phrase "A Circle may adopt a policy to add to or
change this required process "from paragraph 4.2.3 of the constitution?

Paul Walker

Hello, [@mention:558068091793200931]!

I have a few thoughts on this. Would such a Policy technically be allowed? I believe so. You are changing the Tactical process, so I don't think it conflicts. However, the Secretary could make a ruling otherwise. I would consider it allowed.

However, I wouldn't recommend it whatsoever. In my experience, a Policy like that wouldn't solve what it's meant to solve - it would only make it worse. The problem seems to be that people are bringing up minor, simple, or not thought-out Tensions to the meeting. Most likely, people are doing that because the meeting is the only way they know how to resolve Tensions, or that's the only place they feel safe doing so.

I've seen proposed solutions like this before, and the end result works in that people don't bring that stuff to meetings anymore, but that's because they simply stopped ever trying to solve any Tensions. They give up on Holacracy and hope. Instead of proposing this Policy, I would recommend creating environments where people can get anything solved more easily. Give them quick access to an expert who can guide them to a solution in the simplest way (which will often not need a meeting), make sure they feel safe bringing stuff up outside meetings, teach them of others ways to solve things other than going to a Tactical meeting, etc.

Hopefully that helps! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Bernard Marie Chiquet

Bis on [@mention:451241754031062437] comments and I would add on it. Adopting Holacracy means a brutal change for everyone in the way I work - from "doing my job" to "managing each of my roles", the latter encompassing new things very clearly defined in Article 1 of the Constitution, such as for instance identifying the gaps between reality and an ideal in the implementation of the purpose or the accountabilities of my roles, which is pure thinking work: here we move from "doing my job" to "thinking about tensions".
This is to say that this change in social contract requires training, support and safe space for people to learn gradually.
A big difficulty I often encounter with the clients I work with is that the former leaders already have so much confidence and competence in this new way of working and have a hard time imagining the gap it represents for others.