Why you don’t understand Holacracy
Ruben Timmerman

Hi Ruben, thanks for your post. We fully understand that Holacracy is an organizational operating system that, like Linux, will evolve and “fork” over time. We’re also aware that the Holacracy constitution has already progressed to a 4.0 version.

In the HBR piece, Gary Hamel and I don’t critique Holacracy as a management system. Rather, we focus on the top-down, all-or-nothing transition to that model at Zappos (I know, the title might suggest otherwise, but we don’t get to pick that when publishing on HBR!). For more on why such a change approach typically fails, you might be interested in an earlier piece we wrote.

I’d love to explore how Holacracy can be implemented in a more experimental, bottom-up, participatory way (especially when it’s first “installed” in an organization). I’m particularly keen to understand how one reconciles the fairly detailed and perscriptive set of protocols laid out in the Holacracy constitution with the aspiration to make the change process “socially contructed.”



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