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

Removing an accountability: Limiting role?

Hey, we had last time an objection in a Governance meeting, in which we had difficulties to figure out if it's a valid objection or not.

Part of the proposal was to remove an accountability from a certain role. The role filler of that role objected, because she saw that accountability necessary.

The question was now, how to interpret, if "the proposal would limit your role's purpose or accountabilities".

Some said yes: Since it's connected to the accountabilities of that role.

Some said no: Since the role is still able to do things like before since no policy is limiting it. 

Which brings me now to the question, do you treat such objections as valid or invalid? 

I know it ultimately can be resolved anyways via another tension, etc. but to be confident while facilitating, it's good to understand how to interpret the rules properly. 


2 Replies
Brian Robertson

If you're trying to interpret that yourself as Facilitator either way, you're already doing something wrong - it's not the Facilitator's job to interpret and assess whether objections are valid or not, and you don't have the authority to do so anyway.  It's just the Facilitator's job to ask questions and get the objector to assess and tell you whether it's valid or not (we spend a lot of time on this in our Practitioner Trainings - it's a key nuance that's often missed and can undermine the whole practice).  So in this case, I'd first take a short time-out to explain to the objector that they would still have the full authority to do anything to serve their role's purpose, including doing that accountability whether or not it's explicit, and all removing an accountability does is stop others from necessarily expecting that the role-filler will do that particular thing, without in any way limiting the role-filler from doing so if they think it makes sense for the purpose. Then, I'd end the time out and simply ask, "Now that you know that, do you see any reasons why dropping that as an expectation, while still leaving you free to choose to do it or not as you see fit, will cause harm?".  And if they say yes, I'd ask for the reason - i.e. for the argument to that specific question; tell me how it will cause harm even knowing they could still do it.  And then I might run whatever argument they give through the other test questions.  If they answer them all with a reason for the specific question asked, it's valid by definition; I never have to assess validity myself.

Nico Trinkhaus

Thank you very much for the clarification, Brian!

In this instance, I had interpreted this part of the constitution

When assessing the validity of a claimed Objection, the Facilitator may only judge whether the Objector presented the required arguments, and whether they were presented with logical reasoning and are thus reasonable. The Facilitator may not make a judgment on the basis of an argument’s accuracy or the importance of addressing it.

to give the Facilitator the power to judge whether or not an answer to the 4th objection question would meet the requirement of logic - thus judging if the presented objection is indeed due to a limitation, which led to my initial question.

But I also see now that this could be also interpreted as judging the argument's accuracy instead, which would be not allowed for the Facilitator.

Complicated - thanks for the clarification!