holacracy defn

first intro’d to term via the integral center, then zappos, then medium

what is holacracy? collection via medium:

about holacracy on medium


group via spring city, pa – experimenting/facilitating holacracy – holacracy one:

Over seven years, HolacracyOne has developed Holacracy: a real-world tested new social technology for structuring, governing, and running a purpose-driven, agile company. Holacracy is a fundamental change in how we structure, how decisions are made, how power is distributed. It is lean, adaptive and empowering at its core.


holacracy post


more on holacracy:

wikipedia small

The term holacracy is derived from the term holarchy, coined by Arthur Koestler in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine. A holarchy is composed of holons (Greek: ὅλον, holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos “whole”) or units that are autonomous and self-reliant, but also dependent on the greater whole of which they are part. Thus a holarchy is a hierarchy of self-regulating holons that function both as autonomous wholes and as dependent parts.

In its emphasis on iterative governance, adaptive processes, and self-organization, ..

the dance.. ish.. of the self-directed within the self-organizing


Holacracy in contemporary practice

Holacracy has been adopted and practiced by for-profit and not-for-profit organizations in the U.S., including productivity specialists the David Allen Company, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams’ Medium, Precision Nutrition, and Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey’s nonprofit, Conscious Capitalism. Zappos, the online shoe retailer which is part of Amazon, announced its adoption of holacracy.


may 2015 – zappos update:

210 opt out


reminds me of the partialness of prospect ness


jun 2016 – beyond the holacracy hype – fb share by Michel


“Our research and experience tell us that elements of self-organization will become valuable tools for companies of all kinds. Yet we see real challenges in embracing the approach wholesale—Zappos is still grappling with them, even though its holacracy adoption circle has regained its footing. Other organizations have decided it’s just too consuming to go all in. Medium, a social media company that recently dropped holacracy, found that “it was difficult to coordinate efforts at scale,” Andy Doyle, the head of operations, explained in a blog post about the change. Using self-management across an entire enterprise to determine what should be done, who should do it, and how people will be rewarded is hard, uncertain work, and in many environments it won’t pay off. So we’ll also look at circumstances in which it makes sense to blend the newer approaches with traditional models.”

figuring all this changes once you disengage from ie: company ness.. employee ness

so bottom line again – no ones disengaging from part\ial ness

Self-managing systems reinforce this unlearning to a point, through training on how to “work in” and “work on” the structure and through processes and norms that make it difficult for earlier forms of power to reemerge. For instance, 12 months into Zappos’s implementation of holacracy (and just a couple of months before the severance-package offer), 400 employees had completed the three-day holacracy training, and 90 had become “certified facilitators” of governance and working meetings. But trainings don’t in themselves eliminate problematic behavior, such as micromanaging others or infringing on the autonomy of former subordinates. Old power rules can be deeply embedded in culture and institutions and may require continual attention to unravel.

training..? on how to not be trained..?

trainings.. to keep you from micro managing..

can we not see the irony here..?


shared on fb by Michel – holacracy – not safe enough to try


View at Medium.com

“The problem with Holacracy is not so much in the details, but with the apporach to implement an operating model Top-Down. As a “one-size-fits-all approach”, not taking into consideration, that there are humans working in Organizations.
If organizations were machines, Holacracy would work. Organizations can’t be designed, they need to be created, out of a new thinking, a different need and transformational insights.”


people aren’t orgs either.. perhaps we’re not getting rid of the machinery enough..

we’re deciding if holacracy works/doesn’t-work.. by testing it out in a company.. built on money as os.. built on consumerism and sales pitches.. ..? how is that trying it out..?

and how is what we’re doing.. w/o holacracy.. all the manufacturing consent et al.. how is that safe..? people are dying everywhere… craziness.. we are not safe now..

how is what we’re doing now.. new thinking.. diff need and transformational insights.. if we insist on every experiment being founded w/in econ system of measuring transactions..

Holacracy (and also sociocracy) was designed by engineers and this is what it felt like, once I was in it. I felt like being part of a code, operating an and within an algorithm that is optimized for machines, but not for humans. Instead of feeling more whole, self-organized and more powerful, I felt trapped. The circles I was being part of did not feel empowering at all but taking away my natural authenticity as well as my feeling of aliveness. It was fully unnatural and we were disciplined by rigorous protocols and procedures.

is this because of the holacracy.. or because of our assumed os..? so clear to me.. because i’ve watched this scenario play out over and over with ed reform.. ie: why aren’t the kids loving their freedom.. we’ve given them the choice of spinach or rock..

We completely got caught up with implementing and learning how to function in and operating with Holacracy. The system is ridiculously complicated without reason, and very challenging to learn.

if so.. then it’s not the holacracy.. or i don’t know what holacracy is.. ie: to me holacracy is complex.. but using it is simple.. ie: deep/simple/open enough… if i’m wrong about the term holacracy here.. fine.. i have no desire to squabble semantics.. but too many are using this to say.. we can’t self-organize..

I felt more disempowered then ever, although I was the Lead Link of the Company Circle, one of the most central positions.

how is that self-organizing..? lead link? most central position…?

not capturing the idea of stigmergy.. self organizing .. at all..

An HBR article by Gary Hamel says: While the goal was laudable — to eliminate managers and organizational politics — the all-or-nothing implementation of this new and mostly untested management model left Zappos in turmoil. Staff turnover jumped to an unprecedented 30%, and many of those who remained were confused and demoralized. In 2016 Zappos fell off Fortune magazine’s Best Places to Work for the first time in eight years.

maybe the holacracy ness isn’t our problem.. maybe the problem is us .. not letting go.. of control/money/power..


dec 2016 – Zappos is struggling with Holacracy because humans aren’t designed to operate like software – via Brené


That Hsieh would tap Brown to rally his troops is out of step with his management philosophy. Hsieh doesn’t believe in vulnerability for himself (“vulnerability implies you’re insecure about something,” he explained to Quartz) and has reorganized his company under a system, Holacracy, that has been criticized for putting a disproportionate focus on process. In fact, the system is pushing Zappos employees to operate in a way that goes against their very human nature.

perhaps it’s more the company ness of zappos.. that goes against human nature.. than the philosophy behind holacracy

biggest complaints, far and away, was around the rigid meeting format, which provides the guardrails for the system. Tactical meetings, as described by the Holacracy Constitution, tightly govern how and when employees can speak up.

again.. would we even need rules of when to speak.. if it was about.. rev of everyday life..? aren’t the rules.. and the not working ness.. about us trying to make a business for profit to fit with a human heart/energy..? ie: nothing will make meetings a good thing..

public consensus always oppresses someone (s)

Years into the experiment, Zappos employees are still unsettled about Holacracy.

again.. about holacracy..? or about meetings.. and a business for profit.. about money as os..

Some are uncomfortable with the way Hsieh has attempted to “gamify” the company. Zappos has explored “badging” (giving employees badges based on their proven skill sets) and “people points,” which is currency that employees use to fill roles within the company.

exactly.. going against.. what i see as holacracy law.. we can’t part\ially trust people.. ie: thinking we have to incentivize.. is a red flag that we aren’t trusting people to do the thing they can’t not do…

holacracy could work if we could let go of profit ness

Medium founder Evan Williams, once among Holacracy’s biggest evangelists, abandoned the system ..

did they ever first embrace it..?

In his piece *“Holacracy Is Fundamentally Broken,” management thinker Jurgen Appelo (also author of the 2016 book **Managing for Happiness) articulated what feels off about the system:

*or is business/**managing.. fundamentally broken… breaking us..?

Most importantly, when I *delegate work to someone, I ask a human being. I

why *delegate… we don’t need to do that today..

Ironically, as it seeks efficiency and attempts to eliminate human emotion, Holacracy imposes layers of bureaucracy and adds unnecessary psychological weight on to employees.

i’m not interested in battling about a defn of a word.. so whatever..

but.. as i see holacracy.. it’s the business/profit/managing/measuring of transaction/et al.. that are B ing people.. not the holacracy part.. we’re blaming h.. because we never gave it a 100% shot.. and that part\ial shot failed..  that doesn’t mean h doesn’t work.. it means .. we didn’t let go enough..

Perhaps the key to making Holacracy work at Zappos is crafting it in such a way that it still retains its bent toward self-organization, but via a more humane, flexible system.

exactly.. ie: a system that does’t measure/validate transactions/people..


from Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms new power:


holacracy is highly structured and directive, perhaps more so than many old power orgs..  restrictions and protocols w a good sprinkle of jargon become the focus under holacracy , not the work itself.. medium abandoned holacracy after initially embracing it w gusto.. saying it was ‘getting in the way of the work’  and jolacracy is partly blamed for the departure of an unprecedented nearly 1/3 of the zappos workforce in just one year, 2015,


holacracy is like a new power for robots..julia culen: it felt like being part of a code, an algo that is optimized for machines, but not for humans. instead of feeling more whole, self org’d and more powerful, i felt trapped. the circles i was being part of did not feel empowering at all but (instead took away) my natural authenticity as well as my feeling of aliveness’


hier archy ness