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What is this HOLACRACY

The Holacracy® system was incubated at Ternary Software, an Exton, PA, company that was noted for experimenting with more democratic forms of organizational governance. Ternary founder Brian Robertson distilled the best practices into an organizational system that became known as holacracy in 2007

Holacracy is a fundamentally different “operating system” for organizations — it revolutionizes how a company is structured, how decisions are made, and how power is distributed.
During the 4-hour meeting, Tony Hsieh, founder, talked about how Zappos’ traditional organizational structure is being replaced with Holacracy, a radical “self-governing” operating system where there are no job titles and no managers
The term Holacracy is derived from the Greek word holon, which means a whole that’s part of a greater whole. Instead of a top-down hierarchy, there’s a flatter “holarchy” that distributes power more evenly. 
CEOs who sign on to Holacracy agree to cede some level of power. The advantage is that they get to view their company through an entirely different lens. But it’s an adjustment for both leaders and employees. Zappos, which has 1,500 employees, will be the largest company to date to implement Holacracy.

Twitter Co-Founder Ev Williams is one of the system’s early adopters; he uses Holacracy to run his publishing platform Medium, which has around 50 employees.
Brian Robertson, the founder of the management consultancy HolacracyOne. 
build the healthiest possible system where people thrive”, 

Through Cultural experimentation, it became clear that we needed to focus at a process level as well — we were growing pretty quickly, and the lack of clarity in structure, process, and decision-making was becoming painful.
Through Agile methodology, software companies started seeking novel ways to organize.
Agile calls for self-organizing teams with the power to make decisions about how they’ll work together to deliver results, a structured company as a collection of self-organizing teams and get out of their way as best one could. Agile calls for adaptive planning and responding to change vs. predictive planning and control mechanisms, and it offers lots of concrete processes to enact those principles at a software development level, so we adopted and adapted them for our context. 
Agile calls for visual project boards and information transparency, which we took to heart — our walls were floor-to-ceiling corkboards in some places, covered in useful project data

And agile calls for a feedback-driven evolutionary approach to design and delivery, for providing customers with an empirically-grounded and continuous flow of value, so we integrated that at the process level and instilled it in the culture.
David Allen’s Getting Things Done method (“GTD”)
Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making by Sam Kaner

Source: Medium article by Brian Robertson; Wikipedia, 


  1. Holacracy looks like a revolutionary thought but it is not. It is combination of "entrapreneurship' which means an enterprise within an enterprise. This term (Entrapreneurship) was dealt with by Gary Hammel in 2002, where he talked about the spirit of enterprise than can be infused in employees and groups within the organisation who take ownership and accountability to run the organisation like an entrepreneur. Great thing about holacracy is that it breaks all hierarchical mind-set that leads to creation of a gap (read rift) between people who manage organisation and employees. It believes in participative decision-making, another well developed concept, delegation of power and decision making, nothing new about it as we know it expedites decision-making and instills sense of ownership in employees, transparency in sharing important information, this is also a good practice as it gives people clarity about any situation under which they operate. For leaders, it is great test as it asks for losing control to people and here leaders (maybe just by title) feel insecure or not prepared as it means losing and losing means 'packed up! ' Who would like to dig his own grave and destroy his career. It is always said, that if you have the information, you are powerful. Only those entrepreneurs who have sense of achievement and have no fear of insecurity will adopt Holacracy! Holacracy is optional, so is building a great organisation!


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