I have just signed up to join a holacracy!
What is such a thing, you may ask?
Well a holacracy is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss.
Holocracy is a term coined by the founder of www.holacracy.org, Brian J Robertson. He says there is a big difference between having a voice, and being able to do something with your voice.
Consensus and holistic are the same, no? No. Getting consensus is impractical in most cases because each individual has different ideas. For this reason a holacracy is not about consensus, but about each individual being empowered to be an active, creative contributor of the community. That sounds like a nice idea!
Having an holistic approach implies every contributor, both within and without (suppliers, managers, mail clerk etc) have respected roles to play. The question then is, how do we enable positive, respected action (holistic) without consensus? It requires a different approach, one that has an evolved approach to the problem of change.
A holacracy allows stretching from is to could be. From reality to concepts of improvement. It enables movement between both sides of the discussion.
Belonging to an organization which is holistic in its approach, and a holacracy, allows us to structure methods to enable individuals to act where they percieve change is necessary! Some of these methods are simple, such as ensuring that there is viable support for a proposed change, no matter if it comes from the head of department, a supplier or the janitor. Holacracy respects the participants, and honors the coaching principle that we have the solutions within.
I had the privilege of working with Lori Deschene from Tiny Buddha recently, and she hosted one of my posts about the practical issue of trust in work relationships. In this blog I talk about being deceived and how work can at times be an isolating experience. It is a common thing, no?
Seeing things holistically means a world view that everyone is interconnected, and of value. That includes you. That includes Lori and her Tiny Buddha following of over a million readers, which is very much a holacracy. Though I have never asked her about it, she is very inclusive and welcomes wisdom. So why would not every organization adopt such principles?
I tried to run a software company in the past as a holistic organization. It was constrained by my lack of awareness of how to do it and the experiment failed. On the other hand, as a current example, the holacracy I joined is an organization of people who want to work holistically, and to help others do the same, which was initiated by Frederic Laloux, from reinventingorganizations.com. Frederick wrote the book which is the featured image on this blog.
I had a good idea that I wanted to propose, and it was referred back to the community to see if there was support. Those who supported it have contributed, and I can proceed or not based on feedback. The idea of no blame, no criticism, just thoughts or encouragement, works.
What would it be like if everyone in the place you spend most of your time was to work holistically, following the basic principles below?