I think your thoughtful critique prevented a lot of that. You were pretty measured in your review, and it came from personal experience which is hard to argue with. Holacracy isn’t nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. But it’s not as good as the hype either. The funny thing is if you actually spell out the core ideas, they sound totally rational: Everyone should have a voice and a forum for improving the organization itself. Individuals should manage their own workflow. Teams should meet regularly. Meetings benefit from a thoughtful process, a facilitator, and someone to take notes. Steer continuously, not once a year. Etc.

That’s not crazy, right? That doesn’t sound dehumanizing. That doesn’t sound like some programmatic hippy voodoo. That’s just a smart way to work.

I think the specific implementation of those ideas is what is at odds here. Some people only experience the “wrapper” that is Holacracy and if it doesn’t resonate (or the org isn’t ready) they may miss the good stuff inside. Others seem to get both, and as their awareness grows they often evolve beyond Holacracy as their need for “a prepackaged system” is reduced and they take ownership of their way of working.

I agree with you that a gradual and organic approach can be better. In fact I wrote a whole piece about this recently: https://medium.com/the-ready/the-os-canvas-8253ac249f53#.ji9t0gffq

My biggest hope is that all the debate leads to more attempts at self-organization and self-management, not fewer. What is definitely not safe to try is working like most people work today. The costs of that are great and we are so numb to them that we think status quo work is normal. It’s not. We can do better.

Founder @theready and @murmur, investor, friend to misfit toys. Author of Brave New Work and co-host of the Brave New Work podcast.

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