Posted by & filed under Open Letters.

Hi Gavin,

This is the what I’ve been thinking since our conversation yesterday about the holacracy launch, the challenge of defining the boundary, and who/what is inside. We’ve done diagrams together of the boundary. We’ve agreed that “what comes first is the people”. Where does that leave us?

Given it’s “my holacracy experiment” I shouldn’t be surprised if the easiest, tightest, clearest boundary is one with only me inside it – so I’ve stopped angsting about that and I’m moving on. I’ll even accept that I don’t know what to call it – other than the description that it is an experiment or “learning journey” (with me currently at the centre  because the starting point is my learning journey) and it’s about using holacracy for collaboration. For now let’s just call it “Pamela in holacracy mode”.

Starting with the people: Are they “in”?

What happens if I simply start by thinking of the people I’m currently involved with, and then I start to consider how they would fit regarding the diagrams  about the “holacracy experiment” that you and I drew?

  • Are they “in”?
    • Do we have an existing or potential collaboration that is/will be using the procedures of holacracy?
  • Are they “on the boundary”?
    • Do we have a shared interest in holacracy (but no current collaborative project)?
    • Do we have a current collaborative project (but no shared agreement/interest in applying the procedures of holacracy)?
  • Are they “out”?
    • Have they been invited to join in but have declined the invitation?

The grid

At this point obviously I should do one of those neat little ‘four square grid’ diagrams to express the above, but  thinking it through by writing about it , so the diagram will have to wait until later.

Top Left – “in”

Project/person/organisation working as a holacracy and in collaboration with “Pamela in holacracy mode”.

Top Right – “boundary position” – holacracy connection

Project/person/organisation working as a holacracy but not in collaboration with “Pamela in holacracy mode”

Bottom Left – “boundary position”- collaboration connection

Project/person/organisation working in collaboration with “Pamela in holacracy mode” but not working as a holacracy themselves.

Bottom Right – “out”

Project/person/organisation that has declined the invitation to join “Pamela in holacracy mode”

The invitation to collaborate using holacracy

Ref the invitation – The best invitation I have at present is the “somewhat silly simple introduction” to holacracy that I wrote in my open letter to Brian yesterday

I’ll quote from the post, including the explanation:

I wondered the simplest way to make the offering of inclusion. I wanted, a simple, easy-to-remember invitation to collaborate using holacrcacy, 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,
With accountability.
I seek clarity of purpose,
Clear procedures we agree,
Freedom, structure, transformation,
Through a shared holacracy.

Next step –  preparing the reverse task list.

I guess what I do next is revisit the task that Sally set me for my holacracy launch prep. It’s the “reverse task list”.

The “reverse task list” is a list of recent tasks within the organisation – so you (i.e. the people involved) “don’t project what you think might or should happen, you just make a list of what actually has happened”.

The reverse task list sounds simple enough, and it would be if “Pamela in holacracy mode”related to an existing, tightly defined organisation or project. However, it isn’t that straightforward. “Pamela in holacracy mode” is something that’s emerging from a number of loosely connected projects linked through a large network of people – which brings me back to the original problem of drawing the boundary, and perhaps having no-one but me inside it for now.

If I do only include me, then I only have to list tasks that I’ve done. That sounds simple enough but in fact it presents another similar problem. Of all the tasks I’m doing, and have done, which ones are relevant to “Pamela in holacracy mode”? What are the links?

Obvious and less obvious links to “Pamela in holacracy mode”

Perhaps the best way to address the reverse task list will be to focus mainly on the people that I’ve been connecting with. If some  connections with organisations and ideas slide in as well, that’s understandable. Ideas are important in the framing of this learning. Organisations are important too as subjects of study, and as places where you find people. However for inclusion in the “entity” that will emerge through “Pamela in holacracy mode” there will need to be named people – because it is people who “energise roles”.

I could start with the reverse task list by checking how I’ve spent my time and the people I have spent it with with – either face to face, or online, either in real time or is some asynchronous way.

As I work through the “people list” I can check them against the questions in the section above called “Starting with the people: Are they “in”?”.

As I do that, i.e.  sort people into the categories of “in”, “out” or “on the boundary” then the people who are on the boundary will emerge, and that will help to clarify where the boundary really is, what it encompasses  and how to define it.

My people list as prep

I’m thinking back from where I am today. I guess you will be top of my people list, because writing this is what I have spent my time on most recently. I’ll press send before I do any more on the list.

I look forward to exploring with you what you think of the ideas here, and the categories – and with a practical applications spin – where would you fit in the categorisation and what does that teach me about the boundary?