Self-Managed Teams and Holacracy
Article Index
Self-Managed Teams and Holacracy
1.1 The Truth about Self-Managing Teams
1.2 What Is Holacracy?
1.3 Why Holacracy?
1.4 Holacracy vs. Traditional Structure
1.5 Newest Type of Organisation: The Self-Managed Organisation
1.6 The Holacracy Comic Book
2.1 List of Licensed Holacracy Providers
2.2 Self-Organisation and Holacracy Experts
2.3 The Organisation of the Future
2.4 Who Uses Holacracy?
2.5 Holacracy Founder
3.1 30 Years Without Management
3.2 Holacracy in Zappos: Discover a Better Way of Working
3.3 Voys Learns to Play the Holacracy Game
3.4 An Audacious Org Chart
3.5 A Real Companys Holacracy Journey
3.6 Holacracy at Undercurrent
3.7 Successful Organisations Adopting Holacracy
4.1 Quick Guide to Holacracy
4.2 Exploring Leadership in Self-Managed Project Teams in Malaysia
4.3 Self-Managed Teams Need Self-Managed People
4.4 Leadership Characteristics in Self-Managing Teams
4.5 The Holacracy Influence on Social Sustainability
4.6 Why Should I Care About Holacracy?
4.7 The Holacracy Experiment in the State Government of Washington
5.1 Handbook for New Employees in a Flat Organisation
5.2 Holacracy to Promote Innovation
5.3 Reward and Compensation Systems to Motivate Self-Managed Teams
5.4 Decision-Making Challenges in a Self-Managed Organisation
5.5 The Benefits of Self-Management Without Complete Holacracy
5.6 Fourteen Principles of the Future Organisation
6.1 Measuring the Performance of Virtuous Organisations
6.2 Measuring Success: Making Compensation Work in the New Holacracy
6.3 How to Reward in Self-Managed Teams
6.4 Performance Management Practices in Self-Managing Teams
7. What do business leaders say about about self-managed teams and Holacracy?
8. Conclusion
Self-managed teams are groups of employees who work with minimum supervision. Whereas in a hierarchical organisation employees have to report to managers, self-managed teams are responsible for handling various assignments, solving problems, and making decisions. Holacracy is one of the more recent systems of structuring self-managed teams within an organisation. When fully adopted, there is no conventional management hierarchy; instead, power is fully distributed, giving individuals and teams the freedom to self-manage while staying aligned  to the organisation’s core purpose. Holacracy favours small teams, called circles, with team members holding a number of different roles depending on the assignment. These circles self-organise, make rapid consensus-based decisions, and have the flexibility to adjust roles and solutions effectively to meet organisational goals.

In This Report

  1. What are "self-managed teams" and "Holacracy"?
  2. Which organisations have received recognition for their use of self-managed teams and Holacracy?
  3. How have organisations reached high levels of success through their use of self-managed teams and Holacracy?
  4. What research has been undertaken into self-managed teams and Holacracy?
  5. What tools and methods are used to achieve high levels of success using self-managed teams and Holacracy?
  6. How can success in the use of self-managed teams and Holacracy be measured?
  7. What do business leaders say about self-managed teams and Holacracy?
  8. Conclusion.

The Definition

Self-managed teams are groups of employees who work with minimum supervision. Whereas in a hierarchical organisation employees have to report to managers, self-managed teams are responsible for handling various assignments, solving problems, and making decisions. Holacracy is one of the more recent systems of structuring self-managed teams within an organisation. When fully adopted, there is no conventional management hierarchy; instead, power is fully distributed, giving individuals and teams the freedom to self-manage while staying aligned to the organisation’s core purpose. Holacracy favours small teams, called circles, with team members holding a number of different roles depending on the assignment. These circles self-organise, make rapid consensus-based decisions, and have the flexibility to adjust roles and solutions effectively to meet organisational goals.

The Stage

Customs has the job of protecting the community from risks and facilitating the legitimate movement of items across a national border. These risks may come in the form of prohibited or restricted goods, illegal or illicit items (such as drugs), or even dangerous items (such as weapons).

Today’s complex, dynamic business environment means that organisations are having to reinvent themselves to survive. This can mean they have to redevelop their base organisational structure to be dynamic enough to respond to the challenges they face. Self-managing systems aim to eliminate the problems associated with management- centric systems, in which processes can be too rigid, creativity can be stifled, and decision-making can be too slow or restrictive. Self-managed teams can remove these obstacles, moving faster, operating with greater clarity of purpose, and taking decisions autonomously. Self-managing systems usually include the following five characteristics: distributed control; continuous adaptation to a changing environment; emergent structure based on local interaction (teams); positive and negative feedback; and, resilience (due to the system’s ability to adjust and repair itself). Holacracy is one such self-managing system.

The stand-out quality of Holacracy is increased productivity. The system was developed by Brian Robertson a little over 10 years ago to capitalise on the potential of employees. It distributes power to different circles of employees and empowers them to meet the goals of the organisation. Since Holacracy eliminates a hierarchical structure and the need for managers, it removes communication barriers and impediments associated with working in silos. Employees now have the autonomy they need to be the best they can be, and can take on the multiple roles in their circle to which they are most suited. Employees can work across functional areas, and directly discuss issues with the right person rather than having to go through a manager. Teams are empowered to assign or change roles to adapt to the challenges and opportunities they face on their journey to fulfilling an assignment.

Making a transition to Holacracy is not without challenges. First, you need to overcome the belief that an organisation needs to operate with a hierarchy if it is going to succeed. Another challenge surrounds the idea that positions define your work scope; in the new system you are a person “energising” roles (small subsets of various positions with one person having many different roles across functions or positions). A further big challenge is getting employees used to tactical and governance meetings. There are currently more than 1,000 organisations that profess to be Holacracy-based.

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