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

Two-Tier Partnership App

Two-Tier Partnership App

 As job titles get replaced with roles, there may be a need for “partnership tiers” to distinguish different levels of investment in the company (e.g. “regular” and “tenured” partners). These tiers are NOT roles. This is because they define an individual’s “status” as a person, rather than an organizational function.

 Tiers may then be used to:

  • Identify individuals with certain additional rights or duties (e.g. “only Tenured partners may fill the @Performance Champion role”)  
  • Satisfy some career development needs for individuals motivated by attaining a tier/status


Tiers should NOT be used to:

  • Exclusively determine compensation
  • Re-encode the old management hierarchy  

This app has two parts. Part 1 is a policy explaining the process we use at H1. Part 2 is a role description which corresponds to the “Tenured Partner” status defined in the policy. Both of these proposals should be raised in whichever circle controls the domain of “Partner Relationships” (the GCC by default unless delegated elsewhere).

Note: I’m sharing this app “as is” meaning I’m not filtering out any language. If you want to propose something like this, you’ll need to edit it for your own needs and context. 


Part 1. New Policy: Partnership Structure

Anyone engaged as a Partner of the Organization through a grant of Class P Units may further be classified as a “Regular Partner” or “Tenured Partner”, as follows:

Regular Partner


Grant of Status:

Any appropriate Role may propose granting Regular Partner status to someone who has nominated themselves as a Partner candidate. The Role must make this proposal to all Tenured Partners, and the proposal must include a proposed Class P Unit grant corresponding to a tier in the compensation system defined by Compensation Architect. No Role may offer or execute such a partnership grant however until all Tenured Partners have had the opportunity to consider this proposal and interview the candidate to their reasonable satisfaction, and even then only if (a) at least one Tenured Partner advocates for the specific grant proposed, and (b) no Tenured Partners advocate against the grant.

Termination of Partnership:

The Partner status of a Regular Partner shall expire promptly after a review requested by any Partner (a “Partnership Review”) indicates (a) no Tenured Partners would advocate for inviting the Partner into the partnership again now, knowing what they know now, if that Partner weren't already in the partnership, or (b) the total number of Tenured Partners who would advocate against that is greater than or equal to the total number who would advocate for it, with neutral votes ignored. Alternatively, a Regular Partner's partnership status will also terminate if the sum total of time/energy desired from the Partner in all Roles filled is less than 100% of such Partner’s time/energy available to the Organization. The time/energy desired for a Role may be judged by the Lead Link of the Circle holding the Role, unless another system exists to quantify target focus allocations for the role.

Special Duties & Agreements:

No one shall be admitted to the partnership as a Regular Partner until first agreeing to all terms and duties specified in the Organization’s Operating Agreement, Holacracy Constitution, and Partner Grant Agreement, as well as all of the following: 

Partnership Building:

A Regular Partner agrees to interview potential new Partners to help assess fit for role upon request of a relevant Role or of any Tenured Partner.

Resignation from Roles/Partnership:

When resigning from a Role, a Regular Partner agrees to enact a transition plan negotiated and agreed upon with the relevant Lead Link, to allow the work of the vacated Role to be effectively transitioned to another Partner in a manner that mitigates potential harm caused due to the departure. This commitment only applies when the Partner is remaining within the partnership; a Regular Partner retains the right to resign from partnership entirely at any point without further obligation.


Tenured Partner


Grant of Status:

Any Regular Partner may become a Tenured Partner after serving as a Partner for at least two years, making a capital investment in the Organization, and securing approval from the current Tenured Partners.

For the capital investment to meet this requirement, the Regular Partner must have invested a minimum of $20,000 in the acquisition of Class C Units of the Organization. This acquisition may be from a direct capital contribution to the Organization, a purchase of such Units from another party, or a conversion of Class D Units accumulated by the Partner into Class C Units. This policy does not authorize any such investment nor define the specific price or terms of such an investment; any such authorization and definition are outside the scope of this policy and must come from a duly authorized source.

To secure the required approval, (a) a majority of the Tenured Partners must advocate for the grant, and assert that they have seen the candidate already acting with the level of care and stewardship common or expected of a Tenured Partner, and believe the candidate has significant long-term investment in the organization’s Purpose and “skin in the game”, while (b) no Tenured Partners actively advocate against the grant for any reason.

Termination of Partnership:

A Tenured Partner's partnership status may be terminated in the same way as a Regular Partner. However, no Partner may call for a Partnership Review for a Tenured Partner before first (i) spending reasonable effort seeking to resolve any concerns directly with the Tenured Partner in question, and (ii) attempting to find and engage a mutually agreeable counselor, mediator, or coach to assist the relevant Partners in seeking alternate resolutions and/or partner-level one-on-one agreements to resolve any concerns. Further, if a Partnership Review is called, the Tenured Partner being considered for termination may participate in the Partnership Review process and voting.

Revoking Tenured Partner Status:

Any Tenured Partner will again be deemed a Regular Partner if the number of Tenured Partners who advocate against the Partner's continued Tenured Partner status is greater than or equal to the number who advocate for it, with the Tenured Partner in question counted in the voting.

Special Duties & Agreements:

No one shall be granted Tenured Partner status until they have agreed to all of the following:


A Tenured Partner agrees to fill and energize any Role assigned to them under the due authority of the organization without declining or resigning from the role assignment so long as they remain a Partner of the Organization; provided, however, that such an assignment to an undesired role may be made only if no reasonable options exist for assigning the role to a qualified Regular Partner, and only until a qualified Regular Partner can reasonably be tasked with filling the role. 


A Tenured Partner agrees to raise their level of focus beyond whatever level may be agreed upon as a target average, as needed on a temporary basis, to the full extent practical, in order to prevent backlogging or dropping any work that would materially harm the Organization to so delay. In this context, harm means ceasing or impeding an already effective process or function; simply failing to move Projects forward faster, or act upon tensions already existing, shall not itself count as causing harm.

Resignation from Roles/Partnership:

When resigning from a Role or from the partnership entirely, a Tenured Partner agrees to enact a transition plan negotiated and agreed upon with each relevant Lead Link, to allow the work of all vacated Roles to be effectively transitioned to other Partners in a manner that mitigates potential harm caused due to the departure.

When resigning from partnership entirely, a Tenured Partner further agrees that, upon failing to reach a mutually acceptable transition plan or upon breaching a material term of such plan, in lieu of further obligations to the Organization, the Partner shall instead forfeit all Class C Units initially acquired to meet the minimum investment required to become a Tenured Partner (for Tenured Partners who acquired Class C Units before this requirement was in place, the forfeiture will instead equal $100,000 of Class C Units at the then-current Board-set valuation).

However, a Tenured Partner is exempt from the above forfeiture if (a) the Tenured Partner provided at least four months advance notice of leaving the partnership to all other Partners, and put in the same general level of time, energy, and performance during those months that the partnership was accustomed to from the Partner before the notice was given, or (b) the Tenured Partner resigned from partnership due to a reasonably unexpected major medical issue that rendered the Partner physically or mentally incapable of meeting the duties of a Partner, and the Organization was not able to accommodate the Partner's condition even after having a reasonable opportunity to do so.

Other Terms


Exit Transition:

Any Role accountable for transitioning Partners out of the Organization may choose to delay any Partner expirations triggered hereunder, but only long enough to effect a reasonable transition of a Partner’s Roles and Projects to other Partners.



Part 2. New Role: Tenured Partner

Purpose: A healthy tribe and tribe space for HolacracyOne, where partners thrive while contributing their gifts


  • Interviewing new Partner candidates and assessing whether to invite them into the partnership, upon request of any relevant Role
  • Assessing Partners for continued partnership during scheduled Partnership Reviews
  • Assessing candidates for Tenured Partner status, upon a Partner's self-nomination
  • Sharing information and context at an appropriate moment about partners transitioning out of the organization
  • Identifying polarity imbalances at play and relevant in HolacracyOne's culture, and, when one is identified, calling attention to the value of both poles, to the pitfalls of unbalanced overuse of both poles, and to examples within H1 of effective use of the underbalanced pole
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