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La révolution Holacracy A great example of how self managing organizations can work successfully As a person interested in particular in practical implementations over theoretical possibilities I found the book a great combination of both Even if Holacracy does not fit your organization I recommend the book to everyone who believe in the idea of self managing organizations Before I start I don't think I'm able to properly review this book with reviewing the concept of Holocracy itself It's technically possible but it doesn't make IMHO much senseThe overall concept of Holocracy to replace inefficient troublesome mgmt hierarchies with system of nested circles governed by process itself sounds very crazy but actually the 'city metaphore' made me give it a deeper thought Anyway even if I agree with many statements even if I've made plenty of bookmarks got inspired to write at least few blog posts I think that YES Holocracy may work but only if you start it from scratch of within a really small company And author did literally nothing to convince me I'm wrong he's uite good in presenting the pros of Holocracy but there's barely any mention of potential risks that can happen decision paralysis within governance process gaps in processes in context of contradicting positions of circle's members potential slowness of decision making progress VETOersetcWhat did I like most? short idea about dealing with compensation in Holocracy powered org sadly there should be many ideas about adapting traditional enterprise mechanics into flat world but they are not here some VERY good points about empowerment in different work scenariosAnyway I think that if you're interested in management you should definitely read this book Not necessarily because it's that good or because everybody will be doing Holocracy by next Tuesday but just to make your own opinion on this interesting topic AVANT PROPOS DE BERNARD MARIE CHIUET IGI PARTNERS Le modèle Holacracy a bouleversé mon univers David Allen Voici enfin un ouvrage du créateur de Holacracy ui montre le fonctionnement et la mise en oeuvre de ce nouveau système révolutionnaire de management des entreprises Holacracy est un système très structuré offrant aux gens le pouvoir de prendre des décisions en fonction de la nature de leur travail leurs rôles et non de leur titre leur poste Il en résulte Le management traditionnel Des réunions pénibles déstructurées ou peu structurées Une structure organisationnelle rigide Une conception organisationnelle axée sur le PDG Les managers sont des freins à la prise de décision L'holacracy Des réunions clairement ciblées et cohérentes Une structure organisationnelle évolutive Une conception locale et distribuée de l'organisation Une structure claire pour une prise de décision distribuée Je vous recommande vivement cet ouvrage comme bible Holacracy si vous recherchez une nouvelle méthode de travail Tony Hsieh Holacracy® is a governance system and a registered trademark owned by HolacracyOne The word Holacracy is very easy to confuse with holocracy with an o which means universal democracy Robertson's aim with the system is to harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations p 7 This harnessing is done by a set of core rules p 12 The Holacracy constitution acts as the core rule book for the organization p 21 Robertson hopes that his readers will approach the book not as a set of ideas principles or philosophies but as a guide to a new practice pp 13—14Brian Robertson's book is very readable and informative I share Robertson's view on the problems associated with predict and control p 7 and his interest in finding better ways to work together p 12 but I can also see problems with heavily rule based approaches I think there's a fundamental difference between following rules and honoring agreements Rules are externally focused while agreements are internal because they are directly linked to will Agreements not rules are the glue that ties commitment to resultsBrian Robertson focuses on practices in his book while my interest primarily is on principles This doesn't mean that I think practices are unimportant I share however Ralph Waldo Emerson's view that The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods The man who tries methods ignoring principles is sure to have trouble To paraphrase Emerson the man who focus on rules and processes ignoring principles is sure to have trouble I also think that processes need to grow or evolve from their specific context Each situation is uniue in some way small or largeFor Brian Robertson it's very important to prevent others from claiming power over you p 21 This is done by establishing a core authority structure and a system that empowers everyone p 21 The power is in the process which is defined in detail p 21 For me harnessing true self organization and agility throughout an enterprise p 20 is an oxymoron a contradiction in terms Harnessing self organization might actually kill it I suspect people might decide to withdraw their engagement if they realize that they are harnessed for the benefit of the organization onlyBrian Robertson defines a circle not as a group of people but as a group of roles p 48 The basic circle structure consists of nested circles p 47 Robertson calls the hierarchy of nested circles a holarchy p 46 Arthur Koestler defines a holon as a whole that is a part of a larger whole and a holarchy as the connection between holons p 38 I'd challenge that a hierarchy of nested circles really is a holarchy A person certainly is a holon but I doubt that a role in itself is a holon What inherent wholeness does a role have if people are needed to energize the role and enact its accountabilities p 43? Having said that I do think that a group of people can become and act as a holon under certain circumstances Maybe Bohmian Dialogue the U process and Open Space Technology are examples when such circumstances can occur?The nested circles in the basic circle structure are linked via two special roles the Lead and Rep Links p 49 The idea behind this interlinking of circles comes from the Sociocratic Circle Organization Method Sociocracy which was invented by Gerard Endenburg in the 1970s Brian Robertson tried to patent the idea Pub No US2009006113 A1 Fig 4 but subseuently abandoned the patent application Other ideas in the patent application similar to Sociocracy are the decision making Fig 6 governance meeting Fig 8 and role election Fig 9 processes A significant difference between Sociocracy and Holacracy is that all roles are elected in Sociocracy while only the Rep Link Facilitator and Secretary are elected roles in Holacracy p 57 Holacracy is also prescriptive The responsibility of people in a Holacracy is to act as role fillers This is a sacred duty and an act of love and service not for your own sake but nonetheless of your own free will p 85 Holacracy empowers you to use your own best judgment to energize your role and do your work p 97 I cannot help but wonder why people can't empower themselves? Why do you need the permission of a system to use your own best judgment in your work?In addition to the basic responsibility as role fillers people also have specific duties in offering transparency processing reuests and accepting certain rules of prioritization p 92 Transparency and effectiveness are important in Sociocracy too However euivalence doesn't seem to be as important in Holacracy as in Sociocracy In Holacracy the process is all that matters and the process will take care of everything else p 111 The rules in Holacracy create a sacred space that frees each of us to act as sensors for the organization without drama getting in the way p 110 As long as the process is honored you really don't care how anyone feels — at least not in your role as facilitator p 110 I ask myself aren't feelings important if people are going to be able to act as sensors? The answer Brian Robertson gives is that it's about processing tensions for the sake of our roles which ultimately serve the organization's purpose p 113 This keeps the organization from being overly influenced by individual feelings and opinions that are not relevant to the work p 116 He assures that No one's voice is silenced yet egos aren't allowed to dominate p 117 Well really? Yes says Robertson Holacracy seeks to process every tension and be truly integrative; it's also a recipe for not letting ego fear or groupthink hinder the organization's purpose p 125 Playing politics loses its utility p 126 I think that the politics of identifying issues and building support that is strong enough to result in action will always be there It's great if the politics can be channeled through Holacracy If not it will go undergroundOne of Brian Robertson's favorite metaphors used to illustrate the dynamic steering and constant weaving is riding a bicycle p 129 Interestingly this is the same metaphor which Gerard Endenburg uses to illustrate the circle process in Sociocracy References G Endenburg Sociocracy The organization of decision making pp 16—18; and G Endenburg Sociocracy As Social Design pp 67—71 Robertson explains that Dynamic steering means constant adjustment in light of real feedback which makes for a organic and emergent path p 129 Dynamic steering done well enables the organization and those within it to stay present and act decisively on whatever arises day to day p 130 The focus is on uickly reaching a workable decision and then let reality inform the next step p 131 As in Sociocracy any decision can be revisited at any time p 131 I think the dynamic steering is a major strength of both Holacracy and SociocracyHolacracy defines the organization as an entity that exists beyond the people with its own purpose to enact and with work to do beyond just serving the people doing that work p 148 This is also why Holacracy isn't a governance process of the people by the people for the people but of the organization through the people for the purpose p 34 Holacracy differentiates between the human community and the organizational entity p 149 and between the role and soul pp 42—46 To summarize Holacracy's systems and processes are about continually helping the organization find its own uniue identity and structure to do its work in the world while protecting it from human agendas egos and politics p 199 Still the organization needs human beings to energize and enact all its rolesHolacracy is a big shift p 145 Brian Robertson emphasizes that you can't really practice Holacracy by adopting only part of the rules but you can take on all of the rules in only part of the company p 147 Holacracy isn't for everyone Robertson has seen organizations where it just didn't stick p 167 The three most common scenarios he has identified are The Reluctant to Let Go Leader The Uncooperative Middle and The Stopping Short Syndrome p 167 The last scenario is perhaps the most insidious p 170 because slowly and almost imperceptibly the change starts to fade p 170 At best the organization ends up with a surface level improvement only p 171 I don't think this is a scenario uniue to Holacracy Regardless Robertson claims that a majority of the Holacracy implementations he has witnessed seems to result in lasting transformation p 173Brian Robertson acknowledges at the end of the book that he is grateful to his mother for her great job in catalyzing the development of his strong and healthy ego p 211 Robertson writes that he has a solid sense of self throughout p 211 Unless he hadn't had such a strong and healthy ego he wouldn't have needed a system capable of protecting others from it p 212 To me this sounds contradictory I can understand if a person with a weak ego seeks protection in rules but not why others would need protection from a person with a solid self and healthy ego Maybe there are some deeply human needs behind Brian Robertson's birthing of Holacracy? For one reason or another Robertson perceives a need for a strong rule based system It's up to you to decide if you need such a system too If so it's called Holacracy® I read this book because it was discussed in Reinventing Organizations as a complete system for running things under self organising principles Unlike Reinventing Organizations this book is not intended to be an inspirational guide at least I don't think so Instead it is meant to present the management system that is Holocracy walk us through its elements its processes its systems and help us in deciding if we want to adopt it The great advantage of adopting this management system is that it is fully developed tried testing and mature Attempting to redo this from scratch I think would be ludicrous Then again some aspects of the system may not be appealing to someIn essence it is a management system that replaces the traditional tree like hierarchical structure that is so limiting and stifling by a network of roles and circles of connected roles that continuously evolve under the natural forces at play in the organisation Roles have specific authorities and accountabilities and have full control and authority of them Circles also have specific authorities and accountabilities and have connections to the parent or sibling circles through links Everything is stirred through two types of meetings tactical meetings for processes and operations and governance meetings to discuss evolve and change roles and accountabilities All tensions are processed during meetings and nothing that needs to be dealt with is left out either on purpose or accidentally The system itself regardless of the individuals involved makes sure of thatThe most important strengths of the system are that is it is evolutionary and focused on the organisation and its purpose; not on people likes and dislikes egos and insecurities Through this focus every person filling every role is allowed the freedom and creativity to do whatever they can think of to further the organisation's purpose This makes people owners of their accountabilities and the evolutionary nature of the dynamic process allows them to grow develop their skills and evolve into different roles to which they are either suited or in which they fell useful and fulfilled It does to me seem very appealing as a management system in which people can learn to fully express themselves and mature into autonomous productive creative fulfilled free thinkers no matter what their roles and accountabilities are This book does a great job at showcasing Holacracy a new management system that distributes authority and accountability throughout an organization instead of relying on managers to guide employees What makes this book successful is that it includes both the why and the how to use Holacracy all in a digestible readAn aspect of Holacracy dear to me is that unlike current discourse on the matter it doesn't put employees' and companies' interests back to back Instead it proposes a system in which both personal autonomy and a fierce focus on the company's success are part of the same euationAfter years of hearing about Holacracy and reading bits and pieces about this rich model here and there I can't recommend this book enough for anyone who wants the full story in one packageDisclaimer I work with HolacracyOne the company developing the Holacracy model I was reading a short stories science fiction anthology at the same time; and the two books felt interchangeable I had always been interested in aspects of holacracy and reading this book in its entirety demonstrated how off base I was with my assumptionsFor starters most of the world's religions allow you to practice said faith with flexility Robertson is so rigid in his it's 110% holacracy or it just won't work that it felt like I was reading a cult's doctrine This is where the science fiction aspects come in because much of the book is actually detailing the robotic interactions that holacracy dictates you have to practice It's not that different from when fiction authors delve into a lot of detail to describe a completely different worldIt's hard to take much away from the book because there doesn't seem to be a lot of substance or evidence to substantiate why the world needs to reorganise in this model You can describe any assortment of interactions but that doesn't make it the right choiceIn the closing chapter Robertson says that it's a natural evolution for organisations to deploy holacracy However unlike biomimicry or another emerging trend there's nothing to indicate that humans behave like this I would only suggest holacracy to organisations that have no altruistic purpose in actuality or for social capital purposes who's sole aim is profit above all else This book details the coming together of utilitarianism with capitalism In it's focus about the organisation and not people it is at least explicit that all sources of labor are just cogs in a bigger machine Many good ideas but for my taste too extreme and too process heavy I like the idea of circles and roles and how autonomy and accountability is shifted I also appreciate the separation of meta level from the operations What I have a hard time with is imagining adults liking being put into a strict process straightjacket I just don't think that process alone will magically cure all problems of modern organizationsHolacracy feels to me like its to teal organization what Scrum is for AgileOverall a decent 35 It is well written and persuasive It is also a dangerous management system that can undermine a company as it did with mine when we tried to implement it It nearly brought us down My takeaway is that there is no system that can replace solid leadership If you're the CEO you need to own it and get to work It's super tempting to abdicate responsibility but it is simply the wrong path to take Yes people make mistakes but applying a straightjacket for decision making process is not the answer The answer is reflection continuous improvement clear roles and autonomy Yes signals might get lost but the answer is not allowing all the noise to go through the same process The answer is to cultivate better signalling and better filters to reduce the noise Yes we sometimes get lost in endless debate but the answer is not to force decisions The answer is to take ownership as the leader to make sensible decisions Yes people need authority in their role But the answer is not to formalize this to a degree that even governments would find cumbersome The answer is to define the role create space within that role for authority and accountability and to keep monitoring performance Instead of this book consider the following High Output Management by Andrew Grove Turn The Ship Around by L david Maruet Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif BabinGood luck A process heavy straightjacket for organizations that can't figure out how to delegate the rules of communication