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

Policies in a nutshell

Hi, would it be possible for someone with more holacracy experience to clarify policies mechanics and what can/cant be a valid policy.

Some real examples from my young Holacracy organisation:

  • One that get the dishes dirty, washes it.
  • Every circle must define their OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and do everything in its power to attain it
  • Every governance results must be in French (except when impossible)
  • The organisation follow the 4.1 version of the Holacracy constitution

 

In my opinion those policies do not either grants or limit authority to impact within a Domain. 

However this part of the constitution makes me doubt: 2.1.1 "Further, each Circle may control its own functions and activities, as if a Domain of the Circle, for the purpose of defining Policies that limit the Circle’s Roles."

 

My question is: In a nutshell what is a policy and what can it do? 

 

Thank you for your answers, Rémi !

7 Replies
Margaux
01/20/2017

Hey, I suggest you read this great thread about policies: ...policy-demand-action

Champi
01/27/2017

Thank you Margaux, this thread is great but id need a bit more help figuring if our policies are illegal?

Olivier Compagne
01/27/2017

Hi Rémi. In addition to Margaux's link, you can also look at this Policy page on the Holacracy Wiki.

A few thoughts on the policies you present:

  • One that get the dishes dirty, washes it.

Valid intent but weird phrasing. Something like "No one may use the dishes unless they wash them after use" would be clearly valid.

The context of this policy would be useful to know. It could be off because it's governing how people are interacting in the office vs the organization's roles. To make it consistent, you'd want some employee agreement (maybe part of the contract, or something agreed on personally before hire) that they will personally follow the rules defined by the Office role or circle for example. And it'd be a good idea to have a role in this circle representing the employees — like an "Employee Cross Link" or something. An example here from HolacracyOne. This is a bit advanced, so don't worry too much about it if you're just starting with Holacracy and there's no tension around it.

  • Every circle must define their OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and do everything in its power to attain it

Clearly invalid as it's mandating action vs. adding a constraint to an action/activity that either 1) is already expected explicitly (via the constitution, governance, or some partnership agreement), or 2) role fillers choose to take. It would work better as an accountability on each sub-circle, since it's adding an expectation. Something like "Defining Objective and Key Results and working toward them" — though you could argue that it's already what defining projects is about.

Some parts of OKR are great (defining objectives) and others conflict with Holacracy (deadlines).

  • Every governance results must be in French (except when impossible)

Seems fine - it's constraining the activity of recording governance. Could also be phrased "Governance records may only be captured in French, except when impossible". (note: the "except when impossible" part is a bit unclear or vague for me, but if it makes sense to your org it's fine, and definitely not invalid)

  • The organisation follow the 4.1 version of the Holacracy constitution

Likely not valid: it's outside the scope of authority of the governance process, because the governance process itself is part of the constitution, which has been ratified by some person (e.g. CEO) or process (e.g. board vote). In any case, only the person/process with the authority to ratify the constitution in the first place can decide to change the version being used. See article 5.5 Constitution Amendments and Repeal

If, however, the Ratifier(s) have decided to delegate the authority to unratify/change constitution version to the governance process, then yeah I can see it being valid.

Margaux
01/28/2017

Wow, again thank you Olivier for your clarity! The wiki definition is very cool, didn't know it existed.

BTW, Champi=Rémi (see the signature of the first message)

Champi
01/30/2017

I already checked that wiki page and for sure that was a nice tool for me.

Thank you both for your answers! Your clarification will help us a  lot ! Thx again

Wayne
01/30/2017

Wiki page not working for me: 

"content" is a required field. You must enter a value for it.

Champi
01/31/2017
Wayne posted:

Wiki page not working for me: 

"content" is a required field. You must enter a value for it.

http://wiki.holacracy.org/index.php?title=Policy