Basic Holacracy Principles
Holacracy® offers an alternative to the traditional management hierarchy. Using a structure of roles and circles it hands people autonomy over work and empowers them to collectively shape the organization.
Holacracy explained in <2 minutes.
Holacracy replaces the traditional management hierarchy with a new peer-to-peer “operating system” that increases transparency, accountability, and organizational agility. Through a transparent rule set and a tested meeting process, Holacracy allows businesses to distribute authority, powering all employees to take a leadership role and make meaningful decisions.
What sets Holacracy apart to other self-organization approach is that it is a complete operating system that is a full replacement of the current management hierarchy and doesn’t require to be designed upfront. Just like you don’t tailor the operating system on your phone. Its much more effective to focus on installing the right apps you want to use and adjust those right at the moment it is relevant.
The following illustrate the differences between Holacracy and a traditional management hierarchy. The resulting, organic evolution of an organization is also visualized.
1. What is the main difference between a hierarchical organization and an organization based on Holacracy?
Traditional organizations are defined by rigid hierarchy and a strict chain of command through which decisions and information is passed from the top to bottom.
And this is how things change when you move on to Holacracy. The hierarchical structure disappears and you end up with a formal structure that is fully focused on getting the job done.
2. How does the core idea of Roles and Circles look when it’s put into practice? What does that mean for the people inside the organization?
This is when everything gets a little more fluid. Instead of job titles, people take on flexible, ever-changing roles according to their skill sets and the current demands of the company.
3. What does it look like when a company evolves and changes within the Holacracy framework?
Over time, an organization's structure and circles change as the organization believes it is best suited for the overall purpose. This is a continuous process where everyone can suggest smaller and larger changes at regular meetings. Here’s an example of how the organizational structure at Berlin-based startup Blinkist evolved over time.
Some other helpful resources
Special thanks to Blinkist for sharing their animations.
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