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

Nomination Catch-22?

Folks -

Is it your experience that the same individuals are routinely nominated as Facilitator or Secretary?

The constitution requires us to nominate the circle member we believe is the 'best fit among all eligible' - which often results in picking someone who has demonstrated good performance. Makes sense, yet how do others get experience or demonstrate their own capacity?

Even with the 'best fit' requirement, in our 3 years 11 months 28 days a sampling of the 'reasons why' candidates have been nominated include things like:

'Because I think it would be a good experience for them'
'Because they've done it before'
'Because I don't want to do it'
'Because I think they might be good at it'
'Because they understand the software better than I do'
'Because it would help them learn Holacracy'

and other variations.

Seeking open dialogue/exchange about any observations, patterns, or stuck places you've witnessed in nominating for elected roles...

4 Replies
Fritz von Allmen

We have the same - same person get's re-elected for the same role over and over, mostly until there is a explicit reason to change.

What I would like to see is that basically everybody gets to "try" every role at least once. This would help everyone to understand the purpose and the why's of the role thus improving their Holacracy-practice. I changed my voting-strategy from "I re-elect the previous one because he did good" to "I'm giving the new guy in the circle a chance"


Hi Keath and Fritz,

Based on a (maybe incorrect) assumption that there are more people capable of taking the role it sounds like you have a genuine tension about this. One important thing is that more people are willing to take on the role in order for you to be able to move forward. Also ask yourself the question is there harm in always having the same person as the Facilitator, especially if the person is doing a good job... Then again, having been facilitator for a while in our company, the experience deepens the insights and knowledge on Holacracy, sometime even the hard way that leads you to say "I need to look into this because I don't know, give me a few moments..."

to go back to your tension, you can process this through governance, what about a policy that says that if a person is re-elected for x times, he cannot be re-elected for the next term (but can again for the term thereafter..). The basis of the tension must be a correct one of course, you see an opportunity for the organisation to move forward..

Another idea is to start in the Tactical meeting, asking for information on why people seem to want to stay with the good old and not try something new (i.e. Facilitator that has not a lot of experience yet).

From personal experience I must say that following a training helps to get you in the right mode of being a Facilitator. There are quite a few little knacks that help you be a good one and not muddling along. (just one example, get in your curiosity mode when testing objections - makes a world of difference and keeps the objector out of defense mode...)

just as curiocity How does your election process go... I have been handed a quite good process to get the election moving perfectly. I'm not sure if it's developed or used by Holacracy one, but it works for us anyway...

looking forward on your thoughts on this subject..


Juliane Martina Röll

We have had very surprising nominations (of newcomers into roles that were previously held by well-established and competent partners), and subsequent nomination changes (more people joining the nomination of the newcomer), and, sometimes, objections of the nominated newbie on the grounds of "I don't feel experienced enough to hold the responsibility". These could be integrated by supplying a coaching structure for the newcomer.

In response to your question, "how do others get experience or demonstrate their own capacity?", two things come to mind:

  • they can nominate themselves
  • you can nominate them, making a case why they should be given a chance (knowing that elections can be called by anyone at any time - this has often been argued in our circles: "yeah, well, let's give them a chance; and if you mess up, we'll just elect someone else. ;-))"
Keith Jarvis

Martina - thanks very much that helps quite a bit