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

Mixing Tactical and Governance

Why separate Governance from Tactical? What I get is they have on a different energy level and process.

I'd like more details on what is the benefit of keeping them separate and what would go wrong if I let the two mix?

4 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Adam,

One big step forward of Holacracy is to separate Tactical from Governance meetings.

Mixing them together would move backward the both processes.

Another perspective is that Gov process is using IDM to set circle rules, in order to allow people being totally autocratic in there roles. As most the rules are clear, most people may be free.

Last point is the governance is "working on the organisation", wich is not so frequent... and totaly different from "working in the organisation".

Just have a look on this gov meeting video :

Hope that helps,


Ruben @ Springest

A lot of our circles' secretaries have now planned Governance meetings directly after Tacticals. This to create less agenda-pressure (switching costs are high to go in and out of meetings), and to make Governance / evolution even cheaper. Depending on the facilitator we'll do a check out/in in between, and sometimes a quick 2min break. So the meetings are not "mixes" but just strung together and often done in the same weekly rhythm. Sometimes of course Governance just takes 1 minute because there are no agenda items.

Juliane Martina Röll

Tactical Meetings would get really confusing if Governance changed while they are running!  It's good practise to let Governance changes "sink in" and then collect Tactical Tensions. This gives good grounding.


We also follow the process that Ruben outlined and sometimes run Tactical and Governance meetings after another, beginning with the Tactical.


Dear Adam,


In most conventional organizations, we do a lot of operational stuff, very few strategy or governance that are only discussed at the top by the CEO or with the management committee.

The CEO is looking for the best structure for his organization, doing some restructurations when needed. And as the environment changes very fast, the restructuration is almost obsolete when it is implemented.

In Holacracy, we open a new space on top of operations which is called governance. We separate “working in” (operations) and “working on” (governance) the organization. 

Governance is done at every levels of the organization, not just at the top. Those who work govern their work. Governance is a “sacred” space focused on the organization (its roles and policies). Instead of having some kind of “rigid” organization chart and job descriptions, we evolve the structure as needed by processing all the tensions sensed by the roles in their work. It allows the organization to adapt as fast as change. As we work on the structure of the organization itself, we need a very structured process to ensure that nobody will manipulate the space. This process in the Integrative Decision Making process and it allows everyone (people who has roles in the circle) to have a voice while still making sure we do the minimum sufficient to process the tension, without causing harm to the company (we don't want to move backwards).

Then, once we have defined authorities (governance space, 2h meeting every month), we can work IN the organization and roles can take autocratic decisions because they have the authority, clearly defined in governance.

Operations include the tactical meeting (1h meeting every week) where we can synchronize and remove constraints. Apart from that meeting, it doesn't change anything. You'll still do the job you do but with the clarity of who does what. Holacracy brings clarity.

Operational space will bring some tensions to be processed in governance and once we've clarified authorities, it will open projects and next-actions (operations) so we couldn't have one space without the other one but we need clear separation because the energy and focus is different.


If you want more explanations illustrated, we've done a comic book where the two spaces/meetings are explained through a simulation: http://holacracycomicbook.com


Hope that helps,