This open letter springs from our Skype catch up on how our lives are going, especially the bit about house/flat shares and holacracy (in the context of U.Lab, Teal, your Meditation Group and more).
I’ve been thinking about the ideas we tossed around relating to holacracy as an operating system for house/flat/apartment shares, and the chicken-and-egg conundrum of which comes first (in your case sharing the accommodation or agreeing the holacracy). I’ve also been thinking how the chicken-and-egg conundrum applies to my current challenge of drawing the boundary around my imminent Dadamac holacracy project (i.e. defining what is “in” and what is “out”).
Starting with the people
I think it’s probably best if we start with the people who are holacracy minded, and then find out who wants to energise what roles in what circles. In your case that would be finding holacracy-minded people to energise the roles that will need to be filled in order for your “house-share holacracy” to come into being. In my case it would be finding holacracy-minded people whose interests and practical projects have some overlap with mine and who would be interested in taking something forward together in a collaborative, holacratic way.
Of course it’s easiest to start the conversation and invitation if people are already steeped in some key ideas of holacracy – and some Teal ones too – relating to roles, accountabilities, freedom to make decisions, addressing tensions, procedures, organisational structures and so on. However, not everyone wants to get deeply involved in the theory before deciding if they might want to be included in or not. They just need a taster of the benefits. If those appeal, then more organisational theory and practical details can follow on a need-to-know basis.
A somewhat silly simple introduction
I wondered the simplest way to make the offering of inclusion. I wanted, a simple, easy-to-remember invitation to collaborate using holacracy, highlighting the main benefits. This is my first attempt – sung to the tune of Peggy Lee’s classic “I don’t wanna play in your yard” but faster and with a more positive flavour:
I don’t wanna play without rules,
I want less uncertainty.
I’d prefer collaboration,
I seek clarity of purpose,
Clear procedures we agree,
Freedom, structure, transformation,
Through a shared holacracy.
I realise the above isn’t just an invitation. It’s equally a statement of exclusion, but the exclusion is the choice of the person who’s been invited. The song is offering an initial simple decision point.
If the invitee is interested in collaboration using holacracy then more details need to follow.
If the offer in the simple song doesn’t appeal to the invitee then there’s no need for more details and no-one has to waste time digging deeper into any real or imagined benefits and disadvantages.
What do you think? Have you sung along yet?
Getting picky about the words
I’m not sure about the “transformation” word, as that’s not exactly part of the “standard holacracy offering” – but it is a useful aspirational word.
If holacracy works as a way to help people agree who does what, and to “process tensions” in a way that keeps “personalities” out of it then that is transformational in its own right.
Anything that enables better collaboration is transformational, even if it’s about routine practicalities like how people share a kitchen. On another level there are people with transformational ideas who who might actually achieve them if they could find effective ways to work together – and holacracy might help.
So, thinking about it, “transformation” probably is a good word to include for the kind of collaborations we’d want to invite people to do as a holacracy – partly for the process and partly for the purpose.
I’ve mentioned the relevant book titles to you before but I’ll add them here for easy reference:
- HOLACRACY the revolutionary management system that abolishes hierarchy by Brian J. Robertson
- Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux – the book that introduces Teal organisations.
I know the accommodation hunt is a serious one and hope you’ll find a good solution.
As ever, I look forward to more in your next open letter or when we Skype.