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

Should we create a focaliser, lead link role, manager, contract maker so we can hold the whole integrated picture of the project.

We're having a very unique situation here. We have taken a gardening project where the organization is setting up garden at a Steiner school, and I have been in the role of community outreach, which also does the initial contract with the person.

I made a contract and then passed it on to the garden team, which takes care of the garden. And now, the team has designed different roles to implement setting up this new garden as a business. Now somebody is doing designing of the garden, somebody's making the beds, somebody is doing the purchase of things. And, interestingly, there is no one role that is coming in our minds, which is some one like a manager, but at the same time there is a need for somebody to speak to the clients, and also update them of what is happening and support how one action will lead to another, so someone who also has a track of how the whole garden is emerging. And we are not able to find a role, which looks at the whole garden emergence and is able to talk to the client, and which doesn't look like a manager.

 So, whenever any need or a gap for this role comes up, everybody's asking what is the role of this person or why should have this role. At the same time the client is not getting a sense of what is going on or updates. So I'm wondering if, and it makes perfect sense that people have taken up different roles, and if they start doing the role they can ask feedback from each other, pass on the infos to each other. If somebody's making the beds, they need somebody who is constructing the beds and somebody who's planting wants information when the beds will be prepared with soil etc and when the construction will be ready. They can get information from each other.

So all the stuff is going on, but probably, there is a thing that is missing is that tracking the whole then of connecting all the threads and presenting the estamted timelines to the client. And yet we don’t want this role to be the manager directing how people should work and yet also develop an integrated design picture. Or should we have the person who made the intial contract to follow up and update the client on the milestones in the project.

 Or is it the garden design role which could also take up this accountability, but then the garden design the garden, but they also need to be then actively engaged in the designing and would that be micromanaging.

 That is one possibility, or the person who's made the contract. Initially, stays in there. But the fear is that if the person who's in the making the contract is not the gardening team person and not actively engaged in it, then this person can become a manager is outside and may not even know the knitty gritties.

 Besides, and there is one person in our group who wants to learn, entrepreneurship, and he has taken up a role for now but he's constantly confused that “what is my role” in the end.

So it's a strange dilemma that. And then I was thinking of creating the role called focaliser, which kind of brings in all the things together. Or should we create a lead link role of the garden project. And so yeah so I'm just stuck there as some one who made the contract and does not want a manager role and yet the client is not getting info and is at times dissatisfied.

 If anybody has any ideas and/or how they have done in their organization, that would be great support.





4 Replies
Julia Sykes

I can't quite get my head around the reason the person who communicates with the school has to "manage" others . Is there a role with accountabilities that could describe understanding the status of each project and being able to communicate that to the school?


Hi Shamni,

My 2 cents :

If you ask me the question "shoud we create a focaliser role" (I make it simpler even if your question was broader), my answer is : nothing can tell you here what solution you "should" pick up. But you can take any initiative that helps you to solve the tension that you feel, which is "the client is not getting info and is at times dissatisfied". So I would suggest : try one of your ideas, propose it in Governance, and see what happens. For example, your "focaliser role". Reminding that in holacracy, we're looking for one possible solution, not the best one (and then we sense and adjust if necessary).

When I read your post, I interpret it like if you have a proposal, and at the same time, an objection "And yet we don’t want this role to be the manager directing how people should work ". Maybe I would invite you to raise this objection to your own proposal, and if I was facilitating that, I would test it and help you to integrate it if required. I don't know sufficiently your situation to imagine what could be a solution, but maybe a bit of coaching about what can / can't do someone in a role, maybe clarifying accountabilities on it, or domain on others. Or maybe you try to help other roles than yours, and can trust they have their own power and freedom to raise objections.

Last advice : stay grounded on the tension, that often helps. If the tension is about "the client need information", maybe as a first step you just need a role to bring together and provide information, not a project manager.

Hope that helps, have a good day !

shammi nanda

[@mention:547933710129853822], In a way what u say also makes sense. Its about communicating and not managing. Maybe its about how the different parts or roles of the project who are interdependent may not be communicating with each other. Maybe we can see this as a series of steps and one step does its work it passes the info the next person who needs to take it up. I am getting clarity, we need to create a role a role called garden visualiser, who imagines the garden and passes the needs to different people, the person doesnot manage the other people how they work but make requests to them in their different role like a fabircator of beds, or the one who can purchases the manure and seeds, work with the planter who brings the plants needed from the nursery. we can create this role and see how it works. 

thanks for ur sharing. 

shammi nanda

[@mention:476716727616148334], when i began to make a proposal i thought more in terms of roles and accountabilities and I create a role called 'garden visualiser'. Whose roles purpsoe  is to ?visualise the dream garden and nurture it". 

accountabilities are : 

-making the design of the garden

-making requests to different roles in the garden

-getting updates on progress from different roles

-communictating the performance updates to the clients and get their feedback. 

- sharing client feedback to the team

-organise review and reflection meetings with the waldorf garden. 


When i did that, and came to question, on - can we revisit it before significant harm happens, my objection became invalid. 

Thanks for your support and its a nice way to solve dilemmas in the org and personal life too.