May 9, 2016
Holacracy: A Book Review, Part 2
This is part two of a two-part review of Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World, by Brian J. Robertson. To read part one, please click here. SUMMARY In the first part of this review, we explored the first two chapters of Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World (Holacracy), as well as part of Chapter 3. In this post, I will be continuing my review of Chapter 3, “Organizational Structure.” This chapter contains quite a bit of explanation and detail, so part of the last post as well as the entirety of this one will be dedicated to finishing Chapter 3. CHAPTER THREE: ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE (Continued) Chapter three begins to explicitly define the structure of an organization practicing Holacracy. In Part One of this review, I talked about the first three sections: “Natures Structure,” “Roles and Accountabilities,” and “Differentiating Between Role and Soul.” So now that we’ve seen the benefits, an organization can realize by organizing in a more “organic” way. We’ve also seen the benefits of explicitly defining roles and separating those roles from the people performing them. Now let’s dive into how precisely to accomplish that. It is important to note that the goal of this review is to provide a high-level overview of these structures; therefore, it will not provide all of the detail from the book. If the theories presented here are interesting to you, I recommend grabbing a copy of the book. Circles In a previous section, comparisons were made between an organization practicing Holacracy and a living organism. In order to continue that metaphor, it’s natural to want to think of circles as “cells,” but that isn’t a completely accurate depiction. A circle is better defined as any group of roles, or other circles. There isn’t a direct biological comparison that can be made. I’ll attempt to try to continue it for the sake of example. In the human body:
- The cells inside of your stomach would belong to the “Stomach” circle.
- The stomach would belong to the “Digestive System” circle.
- The digestive system would belong to the “Body” circle.
- If nobody is telling a circle how to do its job, how does it know?
- If a role in a circle isn’t performing as it should (or not at all), who is responsible for either correcting that, or stepping up and taking over that role?
- If circles are dependent on one another (in many cases), how do they communicate with one another in order to make sure that everyone’s needs are being met?
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