Holacracy: A reinvisioned management style

Thinking outside the box has built conglomerates, conquered empires, and changed the world, but don’t you think it’s time we changed the box?

If high school taught us anything, it’s that history matters. We learn from our mistakes and build upon the knowledge of those who have come before us. In the business world that means we take examples from tycoons such as Rockefeller or Ford; we study their decisions and adapt their style of thinking for the modern world and our company’s values. Ford developed the most efficient factory the world had ever seen, all for the sake of offering a low cost automobile, forever changing the concept of transportation.

These men redefined the box, they looked at their situation like no one ever had before, and soared to heights never thought of. Ford has become forever solidified in the business world for the creation of the assembly line, and for his quote “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.” It is thinking like this that brings about real change.

Management systems have long since needed a facelift, but so many companies are happy being set in their ways, they have gone beyond succeeding with their current method, so why redesign the box, let alone think outside of it. But now that we stand in the age of information, where the entire knowledge of the human race is at your fingertips, we have learned to appreciate selfless acts, and support companies who exist not only to make money, but to provide an excellent work life balance for their employees.

A new management style has come to us and it is changing the way we think, Holacracy. Holacracy is a complete system for managing companies that increases transparency, holds individuals to a higher level of accountability, and speeds up the entire process of running a business. So how does it work?

With Holacracy there are no static job titles, but rather people fill multiple roles. These roles are defined around the work rather than the people and are constantly updated. The concept of authority has been rewritten so that specialized groups corresponding to their roles make localized decisions. These roles are updated regularly allowing for a fast paced and exciting work space filled with new opportunities rather than falling into the same repetitive schedule for years and years. Finally, rules are universal, every member of the company must follow the same set of public rules with no exceptions.

Roles are determined by individual skills, which are then grouped into teams to work together and solve problems. By creating a fluid workspace you can utilize all of your employees skills, even the seemingly out of place ones. You could utilize your accountants love for graphic design, or your CEO’s passion for balancing the books.

Delegated authority becomes a thing of the past of with Holacracy, and it is instead replaced with distributed authority. In traditional management styles, the higher ups decisions tend to trump those under them, but with delegated authority there is no chain of command. This gives employees of all levels purpose to complete the project to the best of their ability, rather than to phone it in and let their manager change it accordingly down the road.

Holacracy was first created in 2007, but it was not until 2 years later that the first edition and subsequently the first constitution was written. Since then the constitution has been modified over and over and has recently reached version 4.0 with the help of the 500+ organizations currently using and critiquing Holacracy, these organizations include Zappos, Arca, and the David Allen Company.

To read more about Holacracy check out the website which is dedicated to teaching and training individuals to spread the word about Holacracy.