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

Participating in elections on your first day as a partner in the organization

It seems crazy that on day one in an organization that the new partner would be nominating in elections. Would a policy stating that you have to be a partner for 30 days before nominatong in an election be unconstitutional?  Have you ever seen anyone have a tension with this? How has it been dealt with?  

I as Lead Link suggested that maybe for purposes of the election consider the new partner as a minor allocation and is excluded. Our Secretary says that is a very slippery slope of interpretation of the Constitution.

Our Rep Link and trainer came to our last elections having decided that our two new partners that had been with us for less than a week not participate in the nomination process. 

5 Replies

Hi Tyler,


I think it is very valuable for someone new to the company to participate in such an Integrative Election Process because it allows to have feedbacks on other circle members. I think it is powerful to hear what people thinks of each others, even if the new partner doesn't really know who to elect.

From a constitution point of vue, if the person is a core circle member, you can't decide to exclude that person from the meeting. However, what we usually do is to propose them to be an observer at e first meeting just to get a sense of what Holacracy is about and the person can decide to participate or not. If you want to exclude the person from the meeting, as a Lead Link don't assign that person to roles.

Andrea Faré

I agree with Margaux, how dangerous can it really be to have them vote anyways?

Even if a newcomer votes randomly (and usually they are perfectly aware of that and have no reasons to orient the results in any specific way), if you explain to him that he will be able to change his vote and make a more informed decision after hearing the reasons behind other people's votes, you make him part of the process, you make him feel relevant right away.


Brian Robertson

It seems crazy that on day one in an organization that the new partner would be nominating in elections.

Is that an intellectually-sensed concern (sounds like it may be), or have you actually experienced something getting in the way of the work as a result of having new partners in elections?  If the former, then anything you might propose wouldn't be a valid proposal in the first place, because your proposal won't meet the threshold and test in Constitution §3.2.2 and §3.2.3.

This is a key distinction Holacracy aims for and helps you practice: differentiating between intellectually-sensed theoretical concerns, and experientially-sensed tensions.  One of Holacracy's goals is to have an organization's design driven by the latter and protected from the former...

- Brian

Tyler Danke

Our Elections that took place on April 6, 2016 we had excluded 2 new team members from the elections process. I as Lead Link took issue with this as against our current governance and constitution however our facilitator allowed the exclusion. So this tension is something we have actually experienced getting in the way of Elections. The initial situation however was intellectual and not actual experience. I believe that this would constitute Breakdown from Unconstitutional Behavior.

Brian Robertson

Sounds like you've got a novice facilitator who broke the rules of the game.  Of course, when someone is new to a game, being a novice is perfectly normal and to-be-expected.  Consider getting your facilitator some more training at the least, or, if practical, a good coach to help the team learn the new game...