November neXtworking: Holacracy Rules

November’s NeXtworking event explored the topic of Holacracy—a method of decentralized management and organizational government–and its rules for organizational self-management. Deanna Doan kicked off the session with a brief explanation of Holacracy and how it works, with a focus on how Holacracy-oriented organizations use governance meetings to address broad issues or policies. Through an interactive table-top simulation, the group came to understand that, unlike hierarchies, the rules of engagement are sacrosanct, and they are what makes Holacracy really work.  There are strict protocols for presenting a “tension” or problem, voicing feedback or objections, and using a flowchart-like checklist to work through difficult concerns. 

Deanna’s Holacracy 101

Knowing that it would be difficult to envision the workings of a governance meeting, Deanna used a “regional paper company” in Scranton, Pennsylvania as a test environment.  Participants each took on a role that included regional manager, sales team member, warehouse lead, and accountant.  Each of the members had elements of a broader issue that was occurring in the warehouse, and it was up to the group to solve it.  In one instance the self-designated “Assistant to the Regional Manager” had been stashing martial arts weapons throughout the office for defense preparation. Obviously, some of the employees were concerned, and the group used the Holacracy governance process and rules to work through proposals, concerns and an eventual solution – which included not bringing the weapons to work!

This neXtworking event was a fun, engaging way to explore the strengths and weaknesses of an organizational structure that is outside the norm. Even with the engaging table top exercise, it took the attendees some practice to understand and apply the precisely defined roles and rules of engagement of a Holacracy.  As we continue to explore the ideas of self-management and creating a 21st century work environment, these neXtworking events are a comfortable venue to experiment with progressive approaches to organizational management.

Eleccion will host the next neXtworking event in January, so check your inbox for an invitation soon!  If you would like to be added to the invitation list, please contact [email protected].