Holacracy: What does that mean in our daily practice?

**At Ibuildings we work together and organise our work according to the principles of Holacracy. So without a top-down structure. With a working environment in which everyone is responsible for their own work, within appointed roles. In this way we keep our work transparent and it is clear to everyone who is responsible for what. This makes the organisation flexible for changes. But what does Holacracy mean in practice?

“I’m mainly in charge of Ibuildings' bookkeeping and I’ll jump where I can. Figuratively on an island because I carry out this work independently and I only have direct contact with the management. That feels lonely and I don’t like the lack of clarity colleagues have about my work”.

Don’t be alarmed. This is what I would have said for Holacracy. Holacracy has removed the tensions. We now have roles with responsibilities and these are fulfilled by one or more colleagues. This made it very clear what my Finance role was and what I am responsible for. In addition, I started to fulfill more roles, also based on work I already did besides Finance. For example: Onboarding, working on Employee Satisfaction and providing Trips & Gifts.

This immediately solved a number of issues that came up in conversations about my goals. For example: transparency/visibility, self-confidence and diversity in work. Holacracy has brought me a lot personally.

Our work meeting after the arrival of Holacracy

As an organization, we have been working according to the Holacracy method for a year now. This has increased insights and clearly improved the mutual communication. One of the reasons for this is the weekly meeting: the work meeting. This is more or less like this:

  1. We start the work meeting with a Check-in. That’s nice, because that way everyone can say what’s going on in their head. That way you’ll be in the meeting with full attention.
  2. Then follows the Checklist. This may contain one or more questions that can be answered with a yes or no answer.
  3. Then we go on to the Metrics, drawn up by the Leadlink and actually gives a short description of how the Circle is doing. An example of a Metric in my own role Employee Satisfaction: every month we ask employees the question: “How happy are you at work? The results are displayed in a Metric. I give a brief explanation.
  4. Then follow the Project Updates for an overview of the projects per role. The Facilitator reads out the active projects and the role-player gives a short update on what has happened in the last week. Others may ask questions, but without discussion.
  5. We then build up an agenda: anyone can use one or two keywords to mention tensions that need to be discussed. The Secretary writes these down in the system (we use GlassFrog for this). The Facilitator deals with these tensions one by one and asks: “What do you need? It may be that an action is needed from other Roles or help or information from the Circle members. During this round emerging ‘tensions’ can be added to the agenda. When all tensions have been dealt with, the Facilitator asks if there is input for the Role Consultation.
  6. We conclude the work meeting with a Check-out round. We take turns in discussing what we thought of the work meeting.

Sometimes a role meeting is necessary

At Ibuildings we have chosen to have a weekly role meeting. This is always scheduled, but if there is no fuel (read agenda items) then the role meeting is cancelled. The work meeting is about the work that is done in the organization, in the role meeting it is about working on the organization. New Roles can be created here.
For example, if you want to be able to expect recurring work from a role that does not fit under an existing role. Or if you want to adapt a role. It may also be that an election has to be held for the roles Secretary, Facilitator or Rep Link. Because these roles are held for a certain period of time. After this you will be re-elected or someone else will fulfil the role. I’ve been Secretary myself and now Facilitator.

And how do you like Holacracy?

Of course it took quite some getting used to working according to the Holacracy method. Questions arose such as: Isn’t a weekly consultation a bit much? Is there really no manager anymore?

But after a year I can say: I like it very much! For myself and for the organization. The work meeting provides insight into how we are doing, it gives clarity about what is going on and what everyone is working on. I can get rid of ‘tensions’, but I don’t necessarily have to wait until the work meeting. I can also just discuss them outside the work meeting.

And no, there’s not one decision maker. There is, however, a Leadlink, which, among other things, allocates the Circle’s resources to the various projects and roles. But within your role you have the responsibilities and freedom to execute the role. As a result, we can ‘Go like a Ferrari’, as we now often call it.

Want to know more?

Would you like to know more about our work or my experiences with Holacracy? Feel free to mail me your question: sabine@ibuildings.nl.