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How to Get Your Presentation on Time in a Self-Organized Company?

19/ 03/ 2018
  Author: Artem Serdyuk, Certified Holacracy Facilitator, Agile coach Holacracy is the operating system of a company that allows you to move towards company’s purpose giving the employees the widest possible authority. Holacratic company is based on roles which have certain purposes and accountabilities, energized by employees (who in Holacracy are called Partners). Roles are gathered in Circles which also have their purpose and accountabilities, they are united in Super-Circles, and so on up to the main circle of the company. In each circle there is a special Lead Link role that assigns partners to roles in the circle and releases them from roles. For example, Im filling a “Sales” role in “Marketing and Sales circle”. I have a meeting with a customer on Monday at 11 a.m., for which I need a presentation that Designer role promised me to draw. It’s already almost 10 a.m. and I still haven’t seen my presentation. What should I do? How can I make sure that my presentation will be ready on time, and that the designer is really going to draw it? The need to make sure comes from the fact that often our work depends on promises of other people, so we want to MAKE them take our needs seriously. But in Holacracy there are no coercion tools. This is pretty logical: you should not be able to force someone in a self-organized company without managers. Instead, in Holacracy every Partner (including you) have some certain fundamental rights. One of those rights is a Partner’s right to decide independently and using his or her best judgement which task to do next, taking into account circumstances, rules and agreements. But how to work in a company where I cannot make a partner fulfill the agreement even if my job depends on it? Management 3.0 (https://management30.com/) (management approach developed by Jürgen Appelo) suggests the idea of 7 ​​levels of delegation. It says that authority can be given to employees gradually according to these levels: Tell: You make a decision for others and you may explain your motivation. A discussion about it is neither desired nor assumed. Sell: You make a decision for others but try to convince them that you made the right choice, and you help them feel involved. Consult: You ask for input first, which you take it into consideration before making a decision that respects people’s opinions. Agree: You enter into a discussion with everyone involved, and as a group you reach consensus about the decision. Advise: You will offer others your opinion and hope they listen to your wise words, but it will be their decision, not yours. Inquire: You first leave it to the others to decide, and afterwards, you ask them to convince you of the wisdom of their decision. Delegate: You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain. In the Holacracy you are not allowed to make decisions for another partner. Therefore, you have to use “Advise” or “Inquire” levels of delegation. For example, look at Just Ask policy adopted at Zappos. Want to know something? Just ask. Want to know what a partner is working at? Just ask. Want to know about her priorities? Just ask. In Holacracy partners must determine the priorities of their tasks and on demand explain them. Want to know when she will finish your task? Just ask. Want the partner to do what you need? Just ask. Holacracy prioritizes colleagues requests higher than regular tasks so you will get a quick answer if she takes it into work, or if she won’t do it and why. Nevertheless, if you haven’t received your presentation on Monday, Holacracy has tools to fix the issue. Those situations are called Tensions, and you can fix them by: Changing the “Designer” Role, e.g. by adding “Preparing Presentations for Sales” Accountability to it. Notice that Accountability is not an obligation. Accountability only requires that a partner deliberately considers this task and makes a well-thought decision. Ask the Lead Link change partner in a “Designer” role. But you should know that if no one fills a role, it is filled in by the Lead Link. That’s why the Lead Links do not hurry to release Partners from Roles in their circle. So, in order to get the presentation on time in a self-organized company, you have to explain to a partner in a “Design” role why it is important to you. This is a more humane and honest way to get what you need than pushing out any promises and coercing partners to fulfill them.

Author: Artem Serdyuk, Certified Holacracy Facilitator, Agile coach

Holacracy is the “operating system” of a company that allows you to move towards company’s purpose giving the employees the widest possible authority. Holacratic company is based on roles which have certain purposes and accountabilities, energized by employees (who in Holacracy are called Partners). Roles are gathered in Circles which also have their purpose and accountabilities, they are united in Super-Circles, and so on up to the main circle of the company. In each circle there is a special Lead Link role that assigns partners to roles in the circle and releases them from roles. For example, I’m filling a “Sales” role in “Marketing and Sales circle”. I have a meeting with a customer on Monday at 11 a.m., for which I need a presentation that “Designer” role promised me to draw. It’s already almost 10 a.m. and I still haven’t seen my presentation. What should I do? How can I make sure that my presentation will be ready on time, and that the designer is really going to draw it? The need to “make sure” comes from the fact that often our work depends on promises of other people, so we want to MAKE them take our needs seriously. But in Holacracy there are no coercion tools. This is pretty logical: you should not be able to force someone in a self-organized company without managers. Instead, in Holacracy every Partner (including you) have some certain fundamental rights. One of those rights is a Partner’s right to decide independently and using his or her best judgement which task to do next, taking into account circumstances, rules and agreements. But how to work in a company where I cannot make a partner fulfill the agreement even if my job depends on it? Management 3.0 (https://management30.com/) (management approach developed by Jürgen Appelo) suggests the idea of 7 ​​levels of delegation. It says that authority can be given to employees gradually according to these levels:

  1. Tell: You make a decision for others and you may explain your motivation. A discussion about it is neither desired nor assumed.
  2. Sell: You make a decision for others but try to convince them that you made the right choice, and you help them feel involved.
  3. Consult: You ask for input first, which you take it into consideration before making a decision that respects people’s opinions.
  4. Agree: You enter into a discussion with everyone involved, and as a group you reach consensus about the decision.
  5. Advise: You will offer others your opinion and hope they listen to your wise words, but it will be their decision, not yours.
  6. Inquire: You first leave it to the others to decide, and afterwards, you ask them to convince you of the wisdom of their decision.
  7. Delegate: You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain.

In the Holacracy you are not allowed to make decisions for another partner. Therefore, you have to use “Advise” or “Inquire” levels of delegation. For example, look at “Just Ask” policy adopted at Zappos.

  • Want to know something? Just ask.
  • Want to know what a partner is working at? Just ask.
  • Want to know about her priorities? Just ask. In Holacracy partners must determine the priorities of their tasks and on demand explain them.
  • Want to know when she will finish your task? Just ask.
  • Want the partner to do what you need? Just ask. Holacracy prioritizes colleagues’ requests higher than regular tasks so you will get a quick answer if she takes it into work, or if she won’t do it and why.

Nevertheless, if you haven’t received your presentation on Monday, Holacracy has tools to fix the issue. Those situations are called Tensions, and you can fix them by:

  • Changing the “Designer” Role, e.g. by adding “Preparing Presentations for Sales” Accountability to it.

Notice that Accountability is not an obligation. Accountability only requires that a partner deliberately considers this task and makes a well-thought decision.

  • Ask the Lead Link change partner in a “Designer” role.

But you should know that if no one fills a role, it is filled in by the Lead Link. That’s why the Lead Links do not hurry to release Partners from Roles in their circle. So, in order to get the presentation on time in a self-organized company, you have to explain to a partner in a “Design” role why it is important to you. This is a more humane and honest way to get what you need than pushing out any promises and coercing partners to fulfill them.

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