Holacracy: not safe enough to try
Julia Culen

Hi, Julia:

Holacracy is meant as a framework to help you move to a self managed, distributed authorities organization, or at least this is the way I see it.

Within this framework you would then create “contents” that you need to solve your issues.

In your article you mention that you ended up doing internal reorganization instead of focusing on the issues that matter like culture, values, etc.

I assume that the internal reorganizations that you were doing through governance had nothing to do with the issues you mentioned.

Now, the question becomes “Why do something unrelated to solving your problem?”.

The steps that I imagine I would take if I were in your shoes would be to think whether there are roles/circles that have “strong culture” as its purpose. If there is none, I would create these roles/circles through governance. Next step would be to find the appropriate role fillers to execute actions to achieve the purpose.

I would then look at the domains and policies and see whether any of them are preventing a strong culture from being developed. If there is, then I would modify or remove them through governance.

From that point on, what actions are taken by the roles to create a strong culture would be completely up to the role or circle I created above. With the right actions from the appropriate roles, I would hope that the culture will eventually become stronger.

All these internal reorgs are needed to solve the problem you are sensing, and I don’t see it as just busy work.

Coming back to my original question, if the internal reorgs you were doing were not needed and unrelated to the problem you are sensing, why even do it in the first place ? In fact, Holacracy requires that any change done is based on real problems you are facing at that moment and can’t be done just as an intelectual exercise.

Forgive me if I misunderstood your complaints about Holacracy, but if the reorgs were unrelated to your main problems, then first, why do it and second, I don’t think it’s fair to blame Holacracy for it.

It’s like blaming your car for not avoiding heavy traffic areas. You can make sure that the car turns left when you turn the steering wheel left, and install navigation devices in your car (analogy of doing internal reorgs through governance) , but it is still up to you, the driver, to drive your car to less traffic areas (analogy of solving your problem).

If you want to avoid the heavy traffic area, but then you work on reorganizing your windshield wiper, something unrelated to traffic, and keep using the same route that brings you to the heavy traffic area, without spending time figuring how to best avoid those areas, then ofcourse you are not going to solve your traffic problem.

It becomes even stranger if you then blame your car for it.

Holacracy is like your car and its components. It helps you get to your destination faster and safer, but It sure still needs you, as the driver, to drive it and do the right thing.

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