The company behind this concept that focuses on the systemic aspect of organisations is called Holacracy, which has developed what it calls ‘an upgraded operating system for organisations.’
It has inspired me for a couple of years now, and I managed to implement a little of its approach in Fusion Organic Cafe.
It’s a move away from ‘predict & control’ and ‘hero leadership’ (which I learnt the hard way, is a fast route to burnout) towards being able to ‘dynamically steer’ organisations, with each employee serving as a ‘listening tool’ for the organisation, with the premise that more people’s consciousness on any one topic will achieve far more than one/few person’s ever can, and of course that people who feel listened to will perform far better.
With regards to it’s communication structure, it’s basically an organised way of ensuring everyone in a meeting ‘takes turns’ and don’t hijack each other’s agenda points.
Whilst it completely recognises the need for a hierarchical structure, it also implements a system which ensures that communication flows both ways, with each level of management having representatives in the circle above and below it.
The other aspect it says a lot on, is the importance of accurate & dynamic job and role descriptions, and the importance of developing the role, in tandem, but separate to the person fulfilling it.
It essentially states that by implementing structures that focus on the organisation and its tensions as priority (you are given the space to deal with your own tensions), empowering people to take care of their own areas of work, and ensuring a good flow of communication, organisations can achieve a level of operating that can keep up with today’s fast changing and ever more complex world.
Another way this is said, by Holacracy founder Brian Robertson is:
‘If you jump in and (in effect) violate another’s space by trying to be a good (‘hero’) leader and solve their tensions for them, you are actually shutting down the capacity for the organisation to harness and integrate their tension.’
‘Your job is not to be the hero, not so solve another’s tension for them, but to solve your own tension, and to get out of the way when it’s their turn, allowing them the space to process their tensions.’
It is also a kind of evolved succession plan, that ensures the organisations can be much closer to fulfilling their potential in the future, and be much less dependent on any one (or few) leader(s), however competent they are.