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

What are the benefits of Holacracy?

What were you looking for when you started on your Holacracy journey? What were you hoping Holacracy would do for your organization?

After your organization practiced Holacracy for a while, did you find those benefits that you sought? Did you find other benefits that you weren't looking for?

Even if your implementation of Holacracy did not work out as you had hoped, what were you looking to gain from Holacracy?

Backstory (or, Why I'm Asking)

I'm writing a book, working title: Deconstructing Holacracy: How to approach Holacracy without the steep learning curve.

My premise is that there are several practices in Holacracy that can benefit a team without diving into the hard parts (like Governance) right away.

My promise is to arrange those practices in a sequence that allows a team to ramp up in stages. I'm crafting a guidebook to scale the summit of Holacracy by taking a longer path that is a more pleasant hike for the organization. And, along the path, I'll point out features of interest for people wanting to explore other team self-management models, but I'm not going to actually explore those models in this guidebook. Holacracy is the ultimate destination.

At the start of my guidebook, I'm faced with articulating why anyone should begin the journey in the first place.

I know why I like Holacracy, but I'm not running an organization. (Holacracy makes me feel like I can participate more fully and have a greater impact on outcomes that I care about. That feels empowering, but that's just me.)

As a leader, whether you were the ratifying authority or not, what did YOU hope that Holacracy would do for your organization?

5 Replies
Sally McCutchion
04/07/2017

In my previous career as a leader, I hadn't heard of Holacracy but I was looking for ways to inspire and empower my teams. Partly for the benefits for everyone in my teams but also to take workload off my shoulders so that I could play to my greatest strengths rather than being stretched across too many tasks and functions. I instinctively implemented structures to my weekly and fortnightly meetings, I created transparency around key metrics and defined informal roles for different team members to energise (the team were invited to energise roles but could decline if the role didn't align with their sense of purpose or strengths). 

My experiences may not be exactly the kind of information you are looking for but without realising, the processes I put into place were very aligned with Holacracy. Since I became a Holacracy Coach, I do find that the whole system can be overwhelming for some people to adjust to. My experience of introducing bitesize principles of Holacracy, without labelling them as a whole system shift was very successful. My teams achieved increased turnover and profits but more importantly for me, staff retention went up, morale was great and I felt that I had made a big difference to empowerment and wellbeing.

I hope these kind of anecdotes are useful! I'm also thinking that [@mention:449833773855673974] would be a great person for you to chat to!

Brian K Haney
04/07/2017

Thanks for the insight into your experience, Sally.

I'd love to chat with you in realtime, if you are willing to share more of your journey. Can we meet over Google Hangouts? You can reach me directly: bkh@briankhaney.com.

And I'll connect with Karim, too.

Angela Spaxman
04/10/2017

Thanks for working on this book, Brian. I can share my point of view.

What I was hoping to gain from operating as a Holacracy was to able to protect the organization from the influence of self-interested agendas and to be able to allow freedom to operate (which I highly value, as a long-time self-employed person) with assurance that the team is working towards the true purpose. Our project requires major investment to get started (it is an environmental technology) and therefore we knew from the beginning that we would need to involve professional investors who we feared would corrupt our environmental agenda. 

How it has worked out so far is that Holacracy has revealed the personal development weaknesses in our own leadership team. Despite our mutual commitment to it, we don't have the capacity to do it. 

I am now going back to my tool of choice, leadership development. Of course since I have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I see how when leaders mature, they naturally want to share power and they will find ways to do it, Holacracy or other ways. 

Brian K Haney
04/13/2017

Hi Angela,

Thank you for your comment, and sorry for my late reply.

If I can paraphrase your motivation to implement Holacracy, it sounds like you were trying to vaccinate your organization against cancerous infection from external stakeholders that might not share your vision. Is that a fair re-statement?

I'm curious. What leadership qualities are you looking to develop? Do you see these qualities as still compatible with using Holacracy in your organization?

Angela Spaxman
04/17/2017
Brian K Haney posted:

 

If I can paraphrase your motivation to implement Holacracy, it sounds like you were trying to vaccinate your organization against cancerous infection from external stakeholders that might not share your vision. Is that a fair re-statement?

I'm curious. What leadership qualities are you looking to develop? Do you see these qualities as still compatible with using Holacracy in your organization?

Hi Brian, Yes, your paraphrasing is reasonable, although I would add that it applied also to future internal stakeholders as investors would likely become board members. 

As for leadership qualities, it is actually leadership maturity that is needed, which means a range of qualities, and more importantly, the confidence and perspective to see our own strengths and weaknesses and the willingness to develop and/or delegate. I am convinced that a stable SD-Yellow/Teal/ Systemic/4.5/Co-Creator level (a rough approximation as these are not equivalent) is required for at least the Anchor Circle Lead Link. 

Another motivation that was very important to us initially was the opportunity to manifest a higher intelligence system in a commercial organization ...if you know what I mean