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“The hardest thing I can see about switching to Holacracy…”Logbook of an ex-manager

This article is a message from a CEO to its employees so that they all play the Holacracy game.

Hi Ferraris,

In my role @Holacracy_Implementation, I would like to share my thoughts with everyone following a recent exchange with one of you. The hardest thing I can see about switching to Holacracy is unlearning everything we have learned about normal operations in an organization and switching to a different approach that gives rise to many legitimate questions.

Personally, when I signed the constitution, I still had many questions and I could have said, “Let’s take time to understand all this… we’ll see later on.” I wouldn’t have gotten very far, because holacracy isn’t a theory but rather a practice, and without practicing… I knew what I was doing when I decided to go ahead with it because I had become convinced that holacracy was good for us and, in any case, it wasn’t going to harm anything we had already put in place.

I have been learning how to unlearn over the last few months. I’ve been learning how to see things differently. I can see perspectives and opportunities where, before, certain things or decisions seemed too complicated, risky or hard to me…. I know I can move forward because I have two safety nets. If I make a mistake, my two safety nets will be the tensions you feel, which you are sure to give me feedback on, and our collective intelligence, which will find solution.

Since September, I have also learned that you can’t understand the benefits of Holacracy without playing your roles to the fullest and playing with the rules to the fullest. The risk of not playing to the fullest is that we stick with the idea that “nothing much is going to change”.

I wanted to share these ideas with you to invite you to:

  • Reread your roles and play the role of the boss in your roles, really, don’t hold back, just let yourself go. If it bothers somebody, they’ll let you know.
  • Don’t get stressed out at the idea of doing something without being sure if you are capable of doing it. Just do it. If it bothers somebody, they’ll let you know. That doesn’t keep you from looking in GF [GlassFrog: the software that supports the Holacracy practice] first to see if there isn’t a domain attached to a role for what you are planning to do.
  • Free yourself of anything that might slow you down, starting with your prejudices and unfounded assumptions. Don’t forget that if it is not written in GF it doesn’t exist. We are inventing a new organization based on new rules and new governance. The past is in the past, I want you to write the future by giving yourself all the room you want to take up. And to bring out all your tensions, whatever they may be about, so we can deal with them.
  • Identify the roles in which you think you can produce the most value and which are the most exciting for you. Here again, just because you have a position at talkSpirit doesn’t mean that you won’t have another role tomorrow. The marketplace is there for that. Don’t hold back.

When I chose to adopt Holacracy, I made that choice to give you these possibilities. I have no doubt that this choice is an opportunity for all of us. Now it’s up to you — enjoy yourself and let yourself go!

Have a good weekend,

Philippe Pinault, TalkSpirit CEO

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