The following is an excerpt from Cultural Brilliance Radio with guest Gary Baron giving some insight to his holacracy journey.
Claudette: Gary Baron is a successful entrepreneur and he has more than 30 years of experience starting and building businesses. He is a partner in multiple purpose driven enterprises and he’s going to talk today about those enterprises and what makes them purpose driven. He also believes that personal development and growth are actually just as important as the work that we do in our organizations. He’s a holacracy practitioner and a capital investor, and he’s working to decouple decision making and ownership rights in organizations while broadening access the organizations have to distributed authority ecosystems and our systems of governance in organizations. For those of us that aren’t as familiar with olacracy, would you mind defining it? What does it really mean?
Gary: Sure. Holacracy is an operating system for organizations. Traditional organizations might have management hierarchy and titles, and job descriptions, things of that nature. Holacracy is sort of like what you would get when you get a new computer with a clean operating system, nothing on it at all, no apps, and no special configurations. It allows you to build the organization and let it evolve organically. It has all kinds of roles rather than job titles or individuals with work through the organization. It’s a hierarchy of work not of people. That work comes up in the form of roles and they have accountabilities, and then people fill those roles.
Claudette: How did you start your journey into holacracy?
Gary: I was looking for holacracy about 20 years, unfortunately, it just wasn’t invented yet. It was showing up in some of the reading that I was doing around organizations, ideas and concepts like agile and responsive work environments. I made many attempts studying the different organizations that were working this way. Then, in 2007, Holacracy One, LLC was launched. Brian Robertson, the founder of holacracy designed an operating system with rules and best practices. It was almost a cookbook of how to do it and that evolved over a number of years. I didn’t actually discover that this was available until 2014. It has been through much iteration and had matured a bit by the time I got to it. But it was exactly what I’ve been looking for and there’s somebody that can operationalize it and help bring it into an organization that could follow a blueprint.
Claudette: That’s really interesting. What does it feel like in some of your companies that have now embraced holacracy? What does it feel like to be there from a cultural perspective?
Gary: It’s sometimes a rollercoaster ride because you’ve got the work to get done but then, one of the challenges of holacracy is the idea of role and soul. As much as holacracy would like it to just be work, there’s a person inside that role doing it. And so, there are definitely some challenges around how to manage that. And for a lot of people, it’s a lot of personal reflection and thinking. There is a large investment in holacracy and it must be taken seriously. You have to unlearn what you already know…