Holacracy Constitution v4.1 is Out

Last night, in the night of June 8, 2015, the Holacracy constitution version 4.1 was released; you can find it here. All of us at HolacracyOne are really excited about this update because it’s a major milestone in the history of Holacracy’s development.

If you followed our announcement of the open-sourcing and simplification of the constitution, you already knew what was coming.

Here is what’s new:

  • Natural language. Until now the Holacracy constitution was infamous for being particularly hard to digest due to its legal language. The main focus of this update was to rewrite it entirely in ‘natural language’…

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Photo courtesy of Ratna Singh Rathore

The agile discipline of Holacracy meetings

You’ll hear that meetings in Holacracy® follow a rigid structure. It’s true, and there is a purpose to it: speed.

I’m not jazzed when I hit a red light on the road, but I understand that red lights actually improve the overall traffic flow. Similarly, the rules in Holacracy allow more speed overall, even though they get in your way at times.

A key feature of Holacracy meetings that illustrates this point is the focus on processing one issue at a time. Let’s see what it concretely means.

The Conventional Meeting

How it usually goes: Someone (often the manager) puts a *big issue*…

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Photo courtesy of @RunRockPrincess

Common Pitfalls and Easy Fixes

During my work helping clients roll out Holacracy in their companies, I’ve noticed that in the first few months, they naturally try to use Holacracy’s structure to reproduce the structure they’re familiar with. But Holacracy isn’t designed for this old structure, so it feels like they’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

On the surface, Holacracy is just a set of rules. But learning the rules is just the first step in adopting the new system. Beyond the surface, Holacracy incites us to think differently about how authority and accountability flow between roles. This dissonance between…

Actually, Holacracy is highly structured

Yesterday an article showed up in my Twitter feed with the nice title of “The GitHub Debacle: Why Holacracy is Bullshit”. Since GitHub doesn’t use Holacracy, my first reaction was: what does any of this have to do with Holacracy? I contacted the author who eventually acknowledged that the association with Holacracy was an error.

I realized that the article reflects a widespread lack of clarity about where Holacracy stands with regard to traditional hierarchies AND flat organizations. To be fair, HolacracyOne has work to do to present Holacracy in an easily digested format. …

A Response to Steve Denning’s “Making Sense of Zappos and Holacracy”

Last week at Forbes.com, Steve Denning posted one of the best researched articles on Holacracy® over the past few weeks: Making Sense of Zappos and Holacracy. I strongly recommend the read; it clears up many misunderstandings about Holacracy. At the same time, I think his arguments are colored by a negative bias that reveals a misconception of what Holacracy fundamentally is. My colleague Brian Robertson and I, among others, have responded to Steve in the comments section, and thought it’d be interesting to compile those comments into one piece.

To best follow this article, it’s a good…

Anybody who’s been following Holacracy for a while must have tried to read the Holacracy Constitution at least once. If so, like most people, you might have been disappointed to discover what’s under the hood: hard to digest legalese. The accuracy and precision of the legal language is priceless for a document like the Constitution, yet at the same time makes it difficult to use as a go-to document for quick reference.

In fact, it’s been a constant request from Holacracy practitioners: to have a simplified version of the Constitution that’s easy to understand and convenient to use. So, I’m…

Clarity and Discipline For A Startup

The following is an edited transcript of a conversation between myself and Ewan Townhead and Diederick Janse, two founders of Waking Up the Workplace, an organization teaching the art of Conscious Business online.

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Waking Up the Workplace

Olivier: Would you share a bit about Waking Up the Workplace (WUtW) in general, and how you got introduced to Holacracy?

Diederick: WUtW is a company started by the three of us in 2010 to explore the emerging field of conscious business. It started as a fun project among friends, and then the success of our 8-week online course in 2011 turned it into a company. …

What’s Changed From Version 3.0

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Holacracy Constitution v4.0

In the works for several months, the Holacracy Constitution v4.0 has now been released and formally adopted by HolacracyOne. More than just a document, this release signifies that Holacracy itself is now in version 4.0, and has integrated the learning from practicing Holacracy 3.0.

Version 4.0 is a major rework, including a simplified structure and some language tweaks to ease digestion of the legalese. The release notes are available if you wish, and this blog post offers a rough overview of the changes based on my interview with Brian Robertson in our Community of Practice about version 4.0. …

Medium’s Experiment With Holacracy®

Holacracy received some great exposure in the Silicon Valley last weekend at the Wisdom 2.0 conference. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams noted that Holacracy is “the most foundational thing” in how they build a mindful company at Obvious Corporation, and it certainly triggered interest from the audience.

In the opening session, Ev and his colleague Jonathan Rosenfeld were interviewed on how to build a more conscious company. HolacracyOne has been working with Obvious since mid-2012, and Ev and Jonathan did a remarkable job explaining some key elements of Holacracy in less than 10 minutes…

Why Holacracy® Is Not About The People.

Here’s an aspect of Holacracy that many people have a hard time swallowing, but it’s fundamental: Holacracy is not about the people. Holacracy doesn’t try to improve people, or make them more compassionate, or more conscious. Yet precisely by not trying to change people, it provides the conditions for personal development to arise more naturally—or not, when it’s not meant to be.

I consider this one of the most beautiful paradoxes of Holacracy. And it is not an easy one to explain, especially nowadays: in the face of many progressive ideas pushing for improving…

Olivier Compagne

Partner at @HolacracyOne. Into web tech and holacracy

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