Holacracy: n. system of organizational governance where authority and/or a decision(s) is distributed in selforganizing teams and/or groups rather than a standardized leadership hierarchy but the system is still hierarchical in nature
Excluding micromanaging bosses from an organization seems foolhardy unless rules are established for how to deal with indecisiveness or circumstances where there are two or more alternatives and no one in the group seems to know which the better alternative is. A boss would usually take responsibility for making such a decisive decision but who in a group is the responsible one when decisions are deadlocked?
One possible solution is to elect by popular consensus a deadlock breaker who may have seniority or more experience with similar projects from the group or team itself. Responsibility may be rotated depending on the success or failure of the previous deadlock breaker and a new temporary ultimate decision maker can be once again elected voluntarily by a majority consensus of the team or group.
Within the team or group flexibility is possible and the one with the most successful experience on the assigned task, seniority, or persuasive speech may be the one chosen to break deadlocks where a majority consensus is not always possible.
Zappos is trying a complex holacracy system and I hope that they achieve their goal of better managing the business with such a leadership approach but I doubt it will work because it is too complex and anarchic.
It is organized into a primary authority Anchor circle or group connected to many super circles or groups which in turn are connected to sub circles or groups. The structure seems logical enough because it is based on the set and subset logical structure. The partner or the lead link are in fact team or group leaders with a subset of core circle members with more power than non core circle members. There are further representatives such as the facilitator mainly in charge of elections, a rep link, secretary, and a process auditor.
All of this is terribly confusing and there is no firm standard for hiring or firing personnel. Another major flaw in the system is that there is no clear proposal for satisfying customer needs and wants upon which the whole organization depends financially.
A further flaw is what if two or more super circles need the assistance of the same sub circle or group? Does each super circle form its own sub circle group or do they wind up sharing the services of the sub circle group? And who is in charge of determining who gets priority help from the sub circle group or groups?
To simplify the Zappos structure you essentially need team leaders for each circle or group who determines who does what work and when and keeps communications open between circles or other groups with team leaders. The team leader may also make decisions about the budget of a given project with the assistance of an auditor specialist in charge of how much anything will cost. The team leader would also be in charge of hiring, promoting, and firing personnel based on performance on the task or tasks.
The only difference may be that the team leader may be replaced if he doesn’t do a good job by a consensus election of team members which determines who the next team leader will be either from inside the team or external to the team. Another handicap in consensus leadership is that the meetings are very time consuming and frankly boring to attend where seldom anything of great importance happens.
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