What came as a big surprise after three months of practicing Holacracy

How surprised one may get when given opportunity to clash one’s theoretical ideas with reality? Let me tell you: a lot.

As I discovered over three months working in the Holacracy system was a test for me. An unexpected one. I entered this brand-new world with little doubt as to whether I’m the right fit for it. The values I hold and the theory I knew about Holacracy made me feel certain about the match. What I wished I had in previous workplaces Holacracy ‘promised’ to delivered. So what went wrong?

Trust, empowerment, autonomy and leeway for creativity, these are the things I appreciate hugely. An environment that provides me with these things makes me thrive and grow. Holacracy gave me all the necessary conditions to develop myself and maintain high levels of energy and passion throughout the last few months. I enjoyed what I’ve been doing because of the conditions that the system puts in place. So all the necessary puzzles were there waiting for me to play with them.

The only problem was that when the context changes, you learn new things about yourself. The surroundings I had before I joined my new company made my mind used to certain things. So my struggle was all about habits, in this particular case about feeling the necessity of guidance.

I caught myself in a paradox: I’m happy to have leeway in my work and be able to do things as I see fit, but at the same time I would appreciate someone who could point me in the right direction: ‘this is right, just continue that way’ or ‘change direction, you can do better’. I caught myself looking for confirmation that my choices and actions were right, wanted, or useful for my colleagues.

1. This is not how Holacracy works!
2. This is not what I appreciate in my working environment!
3. This is not what I value!

It is ‘just’ a habit. An annoying little thing that sits inside of me. One sentence I’ve heard some time ago, the challenge in Holacracy is not one of learning but of unlearning, speaks to me vividly at the moment.

I’m certain, I WANT TO UNLEARN. And I already started. I figured out the, how I call it, ‘Holacratic way of guidance’. Now, whenever I start doubting I go to my purpose and I ask myself a question ‘how does this action get me closer to the purpose my role should strive towards?’. This ‘method’ is not perfect and it oftentimes gets ambiguous. Usually after the question comes three possibilities: if the answer is positive I continue my action, if the answer is negative I drop it, if I’m not sure I stay conscious about how much energy and time I invest in an action until I get certain about it’s worthiness. Not rocket science.

So Holacracy comes in many flavours. Although I had dreamt about being autonomous, entrepreneurial, and creative, when the opportunity came I couldn’t fully embrace it. It’s quite a painful realisation one may face. A new context always shows us some new dimensions of ourselves. Holacracy influences not only rules at your workplace, it foremost influences mindsets.

I’m going to stay patient and power through because this game is definitely worth the candle.