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

Org Space / Personal Space

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some ideas/experiences how to cover the "Org Space meets Personal Space" issue in a way that it makes sense for an organization that practices Holacracy.

Meaning: How to do things like Holidays?

I stumbled upon https://blog.holacracy.org/pol...lacracy-ffeae61828eb and it resonates with me a lot. Also, the Partner Pool "app" mentioned in the video. 

When having a look at how HolacracyOne does it, I was surprised that for the keyword "holiday" or "vacation" the search came up empty. 

But I guess it's somehow an expectation to some partner/role of the organization, to make sure that the organization behaves in line with employment law, meaning such things like holidays are tracked, etc. And also that some mechanism is in place that not everyone takes a vacation at the same time?

I just somehow cannot yet wrap my head around how to track that kind of things, or rather: If that's not part of Holacracy because that's not supposed to touch the personal space, then anyways: What are good practices for it?

Thanks a lot for any input!

4 Replies
Malachi Rempen

We're dealing with this very thing at the moment. Holacracy doesn't itself speak about personal space quite deliberately, since the idea is to separate role from soul. Holacracy deals with role and leaves you to sort out soul.

What we've done recently is create a "Team Spirit Agreement," a document to which changes can be proposed through regular governance. This document lays out what we expect from each other as human beings - how much time to spend on site (important for us since we're a school), how and when to take your holiday time, and what your working hours should be. We don't enforce these. Rather our idea is that if there are problems we simply sit the person down, have a conversation about the TSA and that it sucks that they're taking advantage of it. That will probably be far more powerful than having a rulebook posted somewhere and someone accountable for chasing people up on their holiday time. That would be awful.

But it's an ongoing experiment! Not sure what'll happen when push comes to shove.

Chris Cowan

[@mention:573411116128485751] At H1 no one has had a tension about vacation or holiday time, so we haven't needed to clarify that specifically, but yeah I get it. 

The most helpful answer would require getting at the specifics of your situation, but generally speaking, my first instinct is always to make sure there's a defined role that cares about such things. Now, maybe you're in that role, so I can say more about it, but that's always the first stop. 

OK, assuming you're in that role, how should it be done? Well, I actually don't think it's that complicated, or maybe it's relative to the size of your organization and the complexity of the information that needs to be managed. Zappos for example developed their own tool to handle such things. 

In practice, everyone can appreciate the need to coordinate absences, so I think it's really more a technology-information-management-system question.  

Sam Burnett

We have a small team and have dealt with vacation with a policy laid out by our operations circle.  Its pretty simple, we have a spreadsheet where people track their time off. Before tracking your team off, you are required to send an email to the team stating your request and seeing if anyone has any issues.  The point has been that generally people understand the need to have coverage and are open to ensuring that we are alway properly staffed.  We considered the option of having to have things approved more formally but this has worked well so far. I think because the partners in particular roles understand the needs of the team related to having their roles properly staffed during absences.  This seems in keeping with self organization principles and works well so far for our small team.  I think it would be scaleable to a larger groups provided you thought fo time of in terms of smaller units of teams and coverage.  

Nico Trinkhaus

Thank you very much for your replies, everyone!

Resonates a lot with me, to simply do this within the operational circle instead of in a P&P circle. There isn't any restriction from another circle, so why not decide on such things directly in the circle that cares about whether we have enough active partners to achieve the workload. 

Yet I find it somewhat tricky under the consideration that policies shouldn't govern "people" but should govern roles instead (yet, this touches personal space). But combined with the option for behavioral agreements that we just introduced, we'll make it somehow work like that I guess.

Thanks for your thoughtful input, that was very helpful for me!