Holacracy Book Summary By Brian J. Robertson

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Holacracy (2015) provides a detailed description of the revolutionary new management system which is being adopted by many of today's most progressive companies.

This book explains how authority and responsibility can be allocated efficiently in this structure, and why it leads to an efficient and dynamic organization.

Holacracy outlines a clear set of regulations and rules which govern the way decisions are made within a holacracy - from deciding on goals to achieving them.

Included in this summary is a comprehensive guide to the various roles and duties involved within this system as well as advice on how best to adopt it for your own business or organisation.

Holacracy Book

Book Name: Holacracy (The New Management System that Redefines Management)

Author(s): Brian J. Robertson

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Brian J.

Robertson is the creator of Holacracy – an innovative and transformative organizational system.

By experimenting with various organizational methods and practices during his stint at a software start-up, Brian was inspired to come up with this revolutionary concept.

He then co-founded and led HolacracyOne - a firm dedicated to assisting companies in transitioning to a Holacratic management system.

The company has gained the trust and approval of countless organizations across the globe thanks to their remarkable professional expertise.

How To Implement Holacracy In Your Organization: A Step-By-Step Guide


If you want to see your business productivity skyrocket, implement Holacracy in your organization.

Holacracy is the perfect management system for our current ever-changing business world and it sits between a top-down hierarchy and a flat system.

We here at Sectionist have implemented Holacracy within our own organization and it cannot be overstated how effective it has been – productivity has increased, everyone’s motivation has shot up, and nobody complains about attending too many meetings any more.

These concepts come from the inventor of Holacracy himself, which provide essential steps of implementing it in your organization.

These include learning how to “check in” to all your meetings; splitting your company into circles; as well as understanding how any tension within the business should be resolved efficiently.

Try out Holacracy today and enjoy watching productivity increase!

Abandoning The Predict-And-Control Paradigm: Why Organizations Need To Embrace Holacracy For Success In The 21St Century

In today’s rapidly changing world, traditional management structures simply aren’t cut out for the post-industrial age.

The predict-and-control paradigm of top-down leadership means that businesses miss out on valuable insights and information that come from lower tier employees, which can ultimately limit their ability to respond to changes in their environment or compete with other companies.

No longer is it an effective approach – a new model of management is needed in order to be able to face the challenges of the 21st century business world.

Holacracy is that new model of management: one that acknowledges the importance of every human sensor within a company and encourages collaboration, flexibility and innovation.

It allows individuals at all levels of the organization to share ideas and feedback, leading to better decision-making with more efficient outcomes for the entire company.

In sum, holacracy is exactly what businesses need in order to thrive in today’s unpredictable markets – and it’s absolutely essential if they wish to stay ahead of the competition.

How Holacracy Allows Companies To Reap The Benefits Of Top-Down And Flat Hierarchies

The Holacracy system is an effective alternative to traditional top-down hierarchical structures.

It allows for a more democratic approach to organization, giving every employee equal input in the overall strategy of the company.

But unlike completely flat hierarchies that often lead to anarchy and unproductive meetings, Holacracies strategically distribute authority throughout the organization while also clearly assigning responsibility.

This means that everyone, from CEOs to customer service reps, knows their exact scope of control and responsibilities.

A Holacratic organization operates according to its own governing document, much like how nations are guided by their constitutions.

This ensures that no one can ever claim ignorance when it comes to their individual tasks and duties.

With Holacracy’s clear organizational structure coupled with employees feeling empowered to improve within their range of authority, no wonder companies like Zappos have become champions of this model!

How Holacracy Structures Organizations Around Self-Contained Circles And Roles


In a Holacratic organization, each role has distinct purposes that support the organization’s primary purpose.

Unlike traditional departments, there are circles organized around autonomous systems of roles that work together towards a certain purpose.

For instance, the team at e-learning company sectionist identified their company’s purpose as “transforming all knowledge into something usable”.

From this overarching goal, they structured and divided their organization around interdependent purposes for different circles and roles.

The Content Circle is responsible for “building great processes for engaging, relevant content”, and it’s up to each individual role to fulfil that task by creating pieces of content and publishing them in a timely manner.

Each role then has their own specific purpose within the circle, such as the Publishing Role who have the task to “ensure that content is created and published”.

By having this unified system of interdependent purposes throughout an organization, you can ensure that everything from individual roles to entire circles support your primary mission while also making sure everyone understands exactly what they should be doing.

Holacratic Roles: A Clear Framework For Clear Expected Accountabilities

In a Holacratic organization, roles are clearly defined and accountabilities are more explicit.

This is the cornerstone of running a successful holacratic company – where everyone understands exactly what their role entails, and the boundaries that exist within it.

Roles go beyond traditional job descriptions, which tend to be vague and unclear.

In a Holacratic environment, each role contains a detailed purpose of why the role exists as well as domains which determine what areas of responsibility the holder has exclusive control over.

Additionally, accountabilities define exactly what functions the role must execute in order to be successful.

By having clearly defined roles with explicit expectations, any potential confusion or implied responsibilities become eliminated.

This leads to smoother operations throughout an organization as everyone knows exactly what their duties are and how they fit into structure of things as a whole.

Holacracy is not a strict hierarchical system; rather, roles are organized within a continuous series of circles, from the smallest to the largest—called the anchor circle.

For example, a social media marketing role would be grouped together with other roles in the marketing circle, which could then be part of an even bigger circle such as growth.

This enables organizations to have better control over their operations and ensures that all circles are aligned.

To further facilitate communication between all parties, Holacratic companies rely on two ‘links’ which connect each circle to another one.

The lead link takes direction from the larger circle and aligns sub-circle activities according to guidance provided by the mother circle.

The representative link communicates findings from the bottom up and helps ensure that strategical shifts coming from above can be comprehended at every level down.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that thanks to these overlapping links, information can be easily passed up and down a Holacracy organization; this means improved operational performance across the board!

The Integrative Decision-Making Process Is Key To A Successful Holacracy Governance Meeting

Decision-Making Process

Circles in holacratic companies use governance meetings to refine their purposes and roles.

In the meeting, any roles that are no longer needed can be removed, while new roles to better support the company’s broader purpose can be added.

This way, each circle’s purpose stays aligned with the organisation’s main objective.

It’s important to mention that these governance meetings are not used for operational discussions like how a particular candidate is doing in recruitment process.

But they are instead used to determine what needs to be achieved and make sure that there are enough roles present to address it successfully.

In order to ensure that each meeting runs smoothly without any disruptions, a facilitator needs to be present as well as a secretary who documents the discussion for future reference.

Additionally, each meeting should start off with a check-in where everyone provides an update on their current status and any administrative concerns such as someone needing to leave early need addressing at this point.

After this, an agenda of items needing discussion is created before delving deeper into the same with follow-up actions defined – all according to the Integrative Decision-Making Process outlined in such meetings.

How Holacracy’s Integrative Decision-Making Process Streamlines Meetings And Creates More Efficient Teams

In Holacratic organisations, governance meetings are conducted with a clearly defined process in place to efficiently address proposals, tensions and roadblocks.

This process is called the Integrative Decision-Making Process and it begins when someone raises a tension or presents a proposal to the circle.

It is then followed by clarifying questions from other members of the meeting, allowing everyone to understand the proposal better.

Next comes the reaction round, where all present give their personal feedback regarding the presented proposal.

The original proposer is then given an opportunity to either amend or clarify their initial idea depending on any questions that were asked.

Following this everyone has the chance to object if they think any harm could come of accepting the proposition, followed by an integration round.

If agreement cannot be reached during this round, then any valid objections must be addressed before it can be accepted into practice.

However, once all parties involved have agreed on something that meets everyone’s needs, only then can changes be implemented in accordance with their proposed solution.

Using Tactical Meetings To Aid Holacratic Project Management And Operations

In order to maximize operational productivity, circles must take initiative and hold weekly tactical meetings.

During these meetings, each role must talk about their specific projects and discuss their progress.

Projects consist of a desired outcome that the circle wants to achieve, broken down into concrete next actions that bring them one step closer to the goal.

For instance, if a marketing circle wants to set up content marketing, they should have a project called “Set up functioning content marketing process”.

This goal clearly articulates the desired outcome of this project.

Once setup is complete, every role needs to populate their project with concrete next actions such as creating an editorial calendar for marketing or researching ideas for articles.

Additionally, a checklist will be created each week by the facilitator so that all participants in the circle receive an overview of how operations are progressing.

Troubles faced by roles can also be discussed during these meetings; any assistance from the rest of the circle in regard to fulfilling their goals and completing projects can be requested here too.

This allows Holacratic organizations to run smoothly and efficiently!

Holacratic Organizations Use Dynamic Steering To Respond To Volatile Markets

Holacratic Organizations

Holacratic organizations are equipped to handle the many changes happening in today’s fast-paced business landscape thanks to their dynamic approach to strategy.

Rather than sticking stubbornly to a single rigid plan, Holacratic organizations operate with a flexible and responsive attitude that adjusts and refines its strategy in response to feedback and new input.

This is made possible through the human sensor network created by each member of the organization, which functions as a source for new insight.

Furthermore, the strength of Holacracy lies in its ability to turn tension into meaningful change, allowing for an ever-evolving outlook on strategies.

This dynamic approach gives companies more freedom over their decisions – no matter how volatile their situation might be – by giving them simple rules of thumb (or heuristics) that they can adjust depending on market conditions and the strength of their own company.

In this way, strategic flexibility becomes both achievable and easily sustained.

Wrap Up

The Holacracy Book is a must-read for any organization looking to stay competitive in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

It discusses how traditional predict-and-control management approaches are no longer suitable for the modern business landscape and why organizations should turn to an innovative organizational structure, holacracy, to remain flexible and responsive.

The book’s actionable advice is simple yet powerful: Start with a guinea pig!

Have one of your teams adopt this new system first and see how it works.

If it’s successful, chances are that other parts of the company will be eager to follow suit, allowing for a company-wide adoption of holacracy.

In short, businesses that want to succeed need to embrace this game-changing approach.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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