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

Ranking Tensions - Broken Window?

Holacrats -

Our circle(s) have for a couple years now been entering a 'ranking' for their tension, 1 being most urgent, 5 being least urgent, as a guide for Facilitator in navigating through a long list in case time becomes short.

AND. This doesn't exist anywhere in the constitution - where full authority to decide which Tension to address next lies with the Facilitator.

As with Brian's reference to the 'Broken Windows' study referenced in the Coach Training, where even minor variations from the rulebook can give rise to further departures and sloppy implementation.

What feedback is out there regarding this sort of variance? It is starting to seem like a manifestation of shadow power.

Hearty thanks in advance


4 Replies
Chris Cowan

[@mention:454478741268114544] so I hear two questions, one about the specifics of ranking tensions, and the second about how this may relate to interpreting the constitution in general. So, if I’m following, then my response to the first issue is “that’s sounds like a good way of doing it...and I wouldn’t want to bake that into the constitution for everyone, but that makes sense.” So, you could either make that a part of your decision when doing facilitator elections, or if you wanted it more formal you could propose a policy to require that. 

And that leads to response two, because I think this is an important point, that constitution needs to apply everywhere to everyone. It then defines the governance process, which can then be used to further define any specifics for your organization. So, to me, this doesn’t seem like a constitutional interpretation issue. 

What comes to mind is actually the whole “rules/authority versus good judgment,” which kinda explains why the constitution intentionally ignores specifying some things. I’ll have to link it below because I’m on my phone. 

Keith Jarvis

Thanks Chris!

Rachel Hunt

[@mention:454478741268114544], I'm curious about your comment that "It is starting to seem like a manifestation of shadow power." In what way does it seem like shadow power to you? Is it just because your custom (to rank urgency in tensions) is not specified in the Constitution or in Governance? Or is there some other aspect that seems wrong or nefarious to you? Are some people consistently getting their tensions pushed to later while others always get theirs addressed right away?