2016. május 25., szerda

I do holacracy - after the third year..

Three years ago with two owners of Doctusoft, István and Tamás, we were heading to Vienna lo learn about holacracy from Brian Robertson at a teaser workshop. After three years I just booked my ticket to the holacracy practitioner Forum to be held in Vienna by dwarfs and Giants. I am about to share our story and learn from others.

So many things happened. A major thing was that Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics gained more recognition via Frederic Laloux's famous book Reinventing Organizations. With likeminded friends we founded a learning circle in Budapest to help each other towards both Teal practices and holacracy.  

Fun fact: we named our learning circle Circle43 which is the holon incorporating 42 - a relevant info on Towel Day. Today we provide help and knowledge for other entities and individuals, not just each other. Come to one of our meetups if you are in Budapest!

Meanwhile in Doctusoft Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics helped us to understand why holacracy works and why it is hard to practice. We incrementally learned more and more about the nature of purpose, responsibility accountability, domains, proactivity, empowerment and how these can be integrated in a closed system.

But the most interesting episodes of the story are always those that are not told. The ones in the personal and in the organizational shadow. Classic consulting has no tools where Teal starts and holacracy starts to work seamlessly. The tool and the tool using consultant need to act as one and be continuous. So for the sake of the change – I quote Ghandi here - be the change you want to see in the world. I share these stories personally, like at the Integral European Conference.  

During these three years I failed and we failed several times to practice holacracy properly, and we kind of dropped it. Every time we let it go after these failures, some elements of it crept back under the door and became part of our practice which made us to try it again. Also in every iteration the power shifted a bit more towards those who had less in the beginning.

My key learning of these years is that organizational change has a natural pace. This pace mostly depends on the adaptive capacity of the power holders and the change agent and of course the environment. Holacracy is not just a good system for mature companies already having a culture of self-management. It is also a good measuring tool. It measures the maturity of the culture we have. Are we mature to self-manage and shift power? Are we mature to define our purpose and go for it? Are we mature to be sincere, mindful people and build a culture for wholeness? 

I will be kind of proud in Vienna when I share the Doctusoft story with other practitioners. First of all three years is a long time. Secondly, standing up after each failure proves that we had commitment and character. But most of all, we grew while we walked on paths that very few might walked on before us in Hungary. And that really kicks ass.

2016. április 26., kedd

The story of Doctusoft towards Teal

Teaser to the upcoming presentation at IEC 2016
I rarely have the chance to present our three years long organizational case study towards Teal to integral people. So in this post I use the integral lingo freely without explanation.
I have been living this story as change agent at Doctusoft – a company of 40 in Budapest - and also living the very same change within my life. This entanglement can only be understood through the AQAL framework. And our sometimes progressing, sometimes regressing storyline only gets meaning via the Reinventing Organizations framework.

Our journey at Doctusoft was mostly characterized by our commitment and efforts to adopt holacracy. But soon it turned out that we missed basic cultural integrity. That was when the big picture of Integral and RO helped as a map to see ourselves realistically, not wishfully.
What is Teal in practice in today’s Hungarian, or Central European society? What is Teal practice when talented people who you onboard into your team are socialized in mostly Amber and sometimes Orange systems and practices? What is Teal when you sell, when you lead, when you write code or manage a project to and with these people? What is teal when a partner tries to pull you in their office politics or practices double talk with you and your teammates? What is teal in a culture where the word ‘purpose’ is not understood by many.
Is it realistic to go for Teal when mature Green isn’t in the corner yet? Well, on bad days it seems unrealistic, but on the other hand we believe it is essential to hold that ambition. We keep Teal as a moonshot goal. We have been working for this sustainable integral system and culture for 3 years.
During these 3 years we committed several mistakes. Or in other words we met several learning opportunities. If there are a 100 proper ways to be Teal we may already know a few of these, but we definitely know much more ways to fail. And that has almost the same importance.
All our failures, all our patterns that we have went through heel us and grow us on both a personal and a team level. I work as an organizational developer to turn our organization more and more into a feeling and living organism. My main reason and passion to do this is to experience this healthy growth and transformation with my fellows and within myself.
A change agent’s story is deeply entangled with the story of the organization it works with. In my presentation I will provide three practical insights:
  • How holacracy turned out to be an integral system for us,
  • How have we been identifying its missing but prerequisite intersubjective practices,
  • How have I as change agent gone through the eye of the needle when it was inevitable.
If the story of Doctusoft is relevant to you, I humbly invite you to learn together!

Gergely ORBAN 
manages IT projects, supports organizational change and individuals at Doctusoft.

2015. augusztus 25., kedd

I do holacracy - Reloaded

At Doctusoft we conducted the experiment of deploying holacracy in a Do It Yourself way for 1.5 yrs. The experiment was fruitful, although no one was content with the outcome. I would be easy to say, that we committed mistakes, but we did not. We have learnt about ourselves and each other. Holacracy was a means for that. 

To describe properly the outcome of this learning journey would need a third person point of view that sadly I do not have. But my closest guess is that we are in a seemingly slow, but in reality a normally paced adaptation to a newer paradigm where less of our ego is involved.

Our current stage of cooperative intelligence, our surrounding culture, our concepts about trust, change, risk, security have all limited us to dive fully into the experiment. And this is not bad. This is information to process. I intend to go deeper into that episode if there is a need to tell that story, but right now, what I want to share is our decision to go on.

Doctusoft decided to retry the experiment of running one single circle completely alligned to the rules of the constitution (4.1). In this project I lead an internal communication training focusing on assertivity, non-viloent communication, and something I call role-based communication. This aims to raise consciousness about our cooperative situations.

Further on I do 1on1 mentoring for the circle members on the basic concepts of holacracy and lead discussions on what have we done differently. After this assessment we sign the Holcaracy Constitution and just do it. Luckily we have all records in sheets for that circle and I can simply put that in Glassfrog and Asana.

Now with the experience of the past two years and seeing how others do efforts, seeing clearly own motives I am very calm and confident that we will learn and grow again.

2015. május 18., hétfő

Holacracy and empowerment

I had several exciting conversations over empowerment lately. Here is what I have learnt in relation with holacracy.

Empowerment is a magnet for talent and ambition, therefore it strengthens the competitiveness of the organization by bringing those in who have intrinsic motivation. The same time I see negative consequences in empowerment done inconsistently and without system. At times the expected motivation does not evolve or drops, people leave or stay and become resigned. Why does that happen? Leaders and followers are people, people are complex and extremely different. Agreeing in values, principles is a solid basis, but we also need practices to be consistent. So how could we do it better?

When I argue pro holacracy I always highlight that in holacracy empowerment happens a structured and balanced way at the same time to everybody when the Ratifiers (legacy leaders) sign the constitution. No misunderstandings, nothing like "I meant it the other way". Empowerment happens equally and at once with every Partner. (Partner is the term used for people working in a holacratic organization).

But equality stops here. The real measure of power, influence and accountability a Partner may have depends on the number and type of roles he or she holds in the organization.

Empowerment in holacracy is written in concrete terms in the form of specific actionable practices for every Partner:
- Generally held accountable over a domain for a purpose aligned to a greater purpose.
- Duties regarding operative work: planning, prioritization, cooperative decision making, respecting policies of domains and other circles
- Duties regarding governance as a Core Circle Member
- Duties when holding Elected roles
- Duties when elected or appointed lead Link
- Duties as Ratifiers, former legacy leaders
- Duties after proactively taking on an individual action 

The most unusual part happens with legacy leaders. Holacracy empowers the subordinates to be peers to the former legacy leaders. To give them feedback, to raise their awareness about their compliance to the shared understanding of the rules. Meanwhile holacracy empowers the legacy leaders to be simple humans again instead of being a savior, a superhero or an infallible icon.

Empowerment is sustainable in holacracy because 
- It effectively eliminates micromanagement, that could weaken empowerment. Roles do their own job. Roles are home only in one circle, elected roles have accountabilities in two circles. 
- It decomposes traditional leadership, so there is no chance to concentrate all power in one hand to weaken systemic empowerment.
- It defines 'Individual Action' as a way to act for the good of the organization, that may be a seed for later governance 

The bottom line is. Empowerment is effective because it builds on intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from purposeful work, achievable challenges, and learning. In my opinion this is exactly what you may experience when you hold and energize roles in a holarchy. 

2015. február 6., péntek

Holacracy Kormányzási meeting - Governance meeting

Belépő kör (Check-in Round)
Célja: Vedd észre, hogy mire irányul a figyelmed és engedd el.
Fontos: Légy jelen és figyelj! Ekkor alapozódik meg a meeting.

Adminisztratív lépések
Célja: Tisztázni a rendelkezésre álló időt. (Pl.: befejezés időpontja, logisztika, szünet)

Napirend összeírása (Agenda Building)
Célja: Napirend összeírása címszavakban.
A résztvevők feszültségeiből a Facilitátor összeírja a napirendet. A feszültség nem kerül bemutatásra. Nincs vita, megbeszélés. 

A napirendi pontok feldolgozása
Célja: Valamennyi feszültség feldolgozása a rendelkezésre álló időben
A facilitátor a rendelkezésre álló időt arra használja, hogy lehetőleg minden napirendi pontot fel tudjanak dolgozni. Minden egyes napirendi pont egy feszültség, ami az Integratív Döntéshozási Folyamattal kerül feldolgozásra.

Záró kör:
Célja: A meeting tanulságainak az összegyűjtése
Minden résztvevő megoszthatja a meetingel kapcsolatos meglátásait. Nincsen vita, megbeszélés

Holacracy taktikai meeting - Tactical meeting process

Belépő kör (Check-in Round)
Célja: Vedd észre, hogy mire irányul a figyelmed és engedd el!
Fontos: Légy jelen és figyelj! Ekkor alapozódik meg a meeting.

Mérőszám ellenőrző kör (Metrics)
Célja: Számszerűsíthető képet alkotni a jelen helyzetről.
Minden egyes szerep, amelyhez van mérőszám rendelve, beszámol a legfrissebb adatokról.

Ellenőrző lista kör (Checklist Round)
Célja: A rendszeres feladatok áttekintése.
A Facilitátor Szerepenként felolvassa az ellenőrző listákat.
A Szerepek viselői tételesen reagálnak, miszerint ellenőrizték, és megtették a kötelességük, vagy nem ellenőrizték azokat.

Projekt frissítések (Project updates)
Célja: Lekövetni a kör kulcs projektjeinek az állását.
A Facilitátor felolvassa a Kör “projekt listájának/táblájának” a tételeit és rákérdez, hogy van-e előrelépés. A projekt tulajdonosa vagy azt mondja, hogy nincs előrelépés, vagy röviden ismerteti, hogy mi történt az utóbbi alkalom óta. Kérdéseket van lehetőség feltenni, vita, egyeztetés nincsen.

Napirend összeírása (Agenda Building)
Célja: Napirend összeírása címszavakban.
A résztvevők feszültségeiből a Facilitátor összeírja a napirendet. A feszültség nem kerül bemutatásra. Nincs vita, megbeszélés. 

Témák feldolgozása
Célja: A felsorolt feszültségek feldolgozása a rendelkezésre álló időben
Az egyes témák feldolgozásához: 
- A Facilitátor megkérdezi: Mire van szükséged?
- A napirendi pont tulajdonosa elmondja, más reagálhat
- A Titkár leírja a kért és elfogadott feladatokat
- A Facilitátor megkérdezi: Megkaptad, amire szükséged volt?

Záró kör:
Célja: A meeting tanulságainak az összegyűjtése
Minden résztvevő megoszthatja a meetingel kapcsolatos meglátásait. Nincsen vita, megbeszélés

2015. január 6., kedd

I do holacracy - 2014 retro

I let myself to enjoy the online Holacracy Practitioner Certification Assessment during the Christmas Holidays. I was excited in a positive way to take this test. My first try in the beginning of December resulted in 69%. I did not prepare since I wanted to have a clear picture about my level. After waiting two weeks and learning from my mistakes I finished the test with 97%. This was a perfect way to close my 2014 holacracy efforts.

This blog is only one part of my holacracy journey. I started it because I desperately needed something like this. To be accurate, I wished for some other guy's report on holacracy. I wanted to learn, to try, to do holacracy following someone else's real life guidance. I believed and still believe that holacracy is something that will slowly bring a paradigm shift in organizational cooperation. So I chose to become the other guy and started reporting to you.

First I had no clue where to start. The few holacracy stories, rare case studies lacked in depth information to start building on. My employers were not fully convinced and both of us had higher priorities to spend our money on than to finance a holacracy training. So we chose an introductory event in Vienna held by Brian Robertson. That was the starting point.

We are currently experimenting in two organizations. Doctusoft has grown from 25 to 40 employees during this year. One third of the company runs on holacracy in a more or less orderly way. The rest of the company is mixed: partly agile, partly self governing, partly waterfall project management. We did not sign the constitution but the CEO, István is holding the space for us. Great guy! Respect for that! Also respect to my collagues who undertook the pain of facing themselves in governance and tactical meetings. I received and learnt a lot from them! Thank you guys!

The other organization was founded in 2013 September. With some friends and colleagues in Budapest we started a group to share best practices in the field of organizational and personal development and leadership. It is not surprising that the group - called Circle43 - now runs on holacracy as well. First it was just a practice to talk about, but soon it became the operating system. First I held the role of the Facilitator in the anchor circle, currently I serve as Lead Link. My colleagues supported me a lot and we grew together personally and as a group as well. Thanks Fellows!

I read several books this year but two of them helped me significantly to put holacracy in a more understandable context. Getting to know Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, the concept and the nature of holon and holarchy enlightened several aspects of holacracy. Also Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations was a revelation for me. He drew a roadmap for every organizational developer, and also drew a detailed picture of the major paradigm shift we live in today. Great books! Great authors!

Several communities provided me valuable inspiration and feedback such as the Holacracy groups on facebook and Linkedin. I have also found help and inspiration in John Kellden's Conversation g+ community and George Pór's Mindful Together facebook group.

I want to express special thanks to Bence Ganti who helped me to overcome hardships in my role as a change agent. Also to Mieke Byerley who is my New Zealander conversation partner with whom we had deep discussions on several not so obvious issues of holacracy. 

In 2013 q3 I believed that I deploy holacracy alone in 6 months. By the end of 2013 I had learnt that it might take the whole of 2014 with the help of some colleagues. Now I see that we made a tremendous job by continuously transforming our culture while growing the company and delivering the projects. I don not set deadlines anymore because I only focus on the next horizon. I have a transformation program in my mind and some fantastic friends and colleagues to collaborate with. I believe there is a lean way to build up transformational capacities for the organization, so the transformational leaps may need less effort and pain even if it is necessary.

Finally I would like to thank the Partners of HolacracyOne for being stewards of this elegant and powerful organizational concept. Guys, thank You for providing all the materials and resources for free, for taking the time and answering my questions and now for the new online practitioner assessment.

The show will go on! :)