Holacracy – Biological Governance and Management 

Think of biology, how the simple biological structure of any living being, how cells, particles and molecules all work together to make any living organism function? Well, we can actually imitate that very natural way of organising life to  how we organise companies, bodies and organisations. After all, this has worked for millions of years and worked for billions of organisms. One of the proposed systems is called holacracy, a management system without assigned roles, and the workers are flexible and mobile, can join different teams and carry out different tasks, a very limited hierarchy and fairly linear and horizontal structures across the organisation. 

The peculiar and interesting aspect is that everyone is CEO of themselves, or at least of their own roles and tasks, instead of the common pyramid management and leadership structures, and those roles and tasks are shaped by their contribution rather than by a limiting terms of reference. 

The way we do management today is a result of the industrial revolution, and its purpose was to run factories, and back then it delivered efficiency, enabled constant production and planning. Today seemingly we are still using this. There are approaches such as Holacracy, and others like Agile or Sociocracy which understand that this does not work anymore and wish to apply a more human oriented management style. Today’s economy is much more complex than the XIX century supply-demand-production, and the expected contribution of individual workers is much greater than that of workers in chain-production factories, skills like creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and adaptation can be required today from workers at any level, which makes work indeed more human and less mechanical, and yet presents new sets of challenges. 

Therefore, want it or not, today’s companies, corporations and organisations are the result of the individuals who work there, their specifics, competences, skills, knowledge and attitudes, and the quest now is to identify a system that fits the maximisation of that potential, growing individuality and specific organisational culture, rather than one-size-fits-all. 

The focus is increasing the level of ownership and engagement, belongingness is recently being studied and identified as one of the key factors to a person’s wellbeing, and considering the how much of our lifespan we actually spend at work, it is important for the personal and mental wellbeing to enable belonging, ownership, engagement in a very important aspect of life that is work, and not mere material sustainment.  Holacracy is one of the proposed methods to do so.

Published by Lorenzo Nava

Consultant, Trainer and Coach, on participatory learning processes, experiential learning dynamics, non formal education and NLP certified practitioner

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