Before the wheel was invented, motion could be seen by observing everyday life. Curious by nature, we all, willingly or not, seek to better our immediate environment through change. This being said, we are also creatures of habit and find ourselves more easily accepting our environment by avoiding questions and the effort required to make and implement change.
What has Holacracy done for me? 6 months in to this change, nothing really other than a heightened sense of ownership. I take my service role seriously; a few believe that I take it a bit too far. My take however is that service is an attitude, not simply a job and therefore I am probably on the far end of the scale of service-mindedness. Although our students, faculty and staff truly appreciate the above & beyond (and to new galaxies), of the service that I provide, Holacracy is helping me better define and weigh the time spent vs. benefit to the organization algorithm that is required from us. Are my efforts best placed here or is there somewhere else that I could/should be focusing on? Under the Holacracy umbrella, all decisions taken, and therefore reflected upon, must be “for the benefit of the organization”. This may seem all too obvious to those who wish to retain their current employment but when you drill down further and make this previous statement the forefront of your daily decision making process, you can’t help but wonder what would happen if you changed your habits.
Holacracy is daring. Remove the hierarchy, empower the personnel and drive speaking outside the box. If you don’t like something, propose something new. If someone doesn’t like the sound of your proposal (there is a more than likely chance that even though any opposition’s voice must be heard and that if no immediate harm is to be done to the organization) then this proposal should be tested. Think with what we have today, propose a change and develop it as you go. Think of it this way – Water can be bland tasting. To spruce it up, someone suggests that we add olive oil to it as it adds flavors to foods we eat. One person opposes and says this is silly. However, knowing that oil doesn’t harm us, we try and add it to water. Clearly, this may not have been the right choice as the oil remains at the brim of the contained water mass. In the interim, outside of meetings and perhaps in simple conversation and brainstorming sessions, someone suggests adding some sugar, someone else suggests adding fruit, and another person suggests blending it all together – low and behold, we’ve created a delicious tasting smoothie out of a few ingredients and simple knowledge from others around us.
Albeit a company’s issues are more complicated than this, but the fact remains the same: encouraging change, perhaps even to the point of failure for all to learn from (and not be punished for), will shake the tree and bring people together and better trust one another. But in order for trust to truly be instilled, a personal humbling also must occur. We must be able to feel comfortable with the people we work with through the multitude of characters, personal stories and perhaps even intelligence levels; yet each person must be able to have their say in a “sanctuary” of trust. Removing prejudice, preconceptions, labeling and closed box thinking is where the effort needs to be in my opinion. We do our jobs, and we do them well. We have all learned to be team players outside of Holacracy and we have all learned to support one another. We must now all learn to break through social layers, find the preconceived beliefs that we have and in essence rethink our outlook on societal mis- and pre-conceptions. This is where the change truly happens, from within.
Where I personally fall short in the area of Holacracy is not in accepting added responsibilities, new roles or trying out new challenges, but rather in the area where I let people’s frustrations, unease, difficulties (or better known under Holacracy as “tensions”) creep into my working world. I find myself wanting to bring up issues or start discussions about areas of tension wherein I am actually not the owner of such emotion/issue. I have had to learn in my roles at BSL to step back and let people openly discuss their own tensions with others. I remain a confidante and one who is willing to listen, but I have learned to refrain from giving advice on how best to solve issues. If one asks, this is an invitation to start dialogue, but it is not an invitation to take over and help and manage issues for the other person.
What I am trying to get at here is that Holacracy is a Framework, it won’t replace your job functions, it doesn’t affect what needs to get done, it’s rather a change in the way of thinking by accepting that we are not perfect, that we need to take a look at ourselves and even personal issues and that ultimately we may even find out that we are not the best person for a specific role. Ultimately, at the pinnacle of how I see Holacracy evolving, we shall all “carry our heart on our sleeve”. The wheel will continue to turn for both the company and each employee, no matter what, and may at times hit a hole big enough in the road to cause a puncture. It’s simply up to you to decide whether you want to continue rolling along with that puncture or if you want to find a solution on how to re-inflate the tire.
Author: David Kibbe, Pro-actively providing the highest quality support services to students within their educational habitat at Business School Lausanne