Holacracy Training Report Day One

This week I’m attending the Holacracy “Practitioner Certification Training” conducted by HolacracyOne in San Francisco.  It is a four and a half day class.  Each day I will write up a bit about what we covered, so welcome to my first post!

This morning I sat at a table with 6 other people, and one of those happened to be Mark Ward from ArcherPoint, which is an IT consulting company with 100 employees. They are a recent ESOP (24%) and Holacracy adopter. They also recently did a book study of GGOB and are considering adopting that. Also at my table is Leona, who is from Beijing. She works for Baidu, which is a Chinese company with 50,000 employees. They are in the process of adopting Holacracy.

Soon after the meeting kicked-off we went around the room and everyone got to introduce themselves. It seemed like we might be the smallest company here. It is a very diverse and international group to all be gathered together in one room. Here’s a sampling of who’s here: American Express Global Business Travel Services; a game developer from South Korea with 3,000 employees; A software company with 400 employees in Canada; The Executive Office of Dubai; An insurance company from Louisiana; A healthcare company from the Netherlands; and one gentleman from Iceland who is doing his graduate thesis on Holacracy.

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A view from my seat as we formed a circle around the room and all introduced ourselves.

Brian Robertson started the educational portion of the day with an extensive explanation of the whys and hows of Holacracy. I had seen his Ted talk and read his book, but this 90 minute presentation had a ton of additional information and we were able to ask questions to get clarity around things. It was very helpful and I wrote a ton of notes that I will be sharing over the coming months as we implement the system.

After the general session we broke into 5 groups of 8 people and we were all given the same task – we were all working for a training company that recently expanded. Holacracy is partially implemented, and the company is having financial issues and will go under in 2 months if things don’t change. We got $120k in monopoly money and were randomly assigned roles in the company and given some basic information. We then went into 5 separate rooms and had to operate for a month – consolidated into 90 minutes. We had a tactical meeting to get status reports and assign projects and tasks, and then went about doing the work. Every 10 minutes or so someone would open the door and yell out “It’s January 10th!”. Days were ticking by and we had events to plan, book and sell, and bills to pay. When the end of the month rolled around we had missed deadlines and were in disarray. It was very stressful, and felt very real.

 

Our group then held our first Holacracy governance meeting where we figured out what tensions existed, what accountabilities needed to be assigned, what roles were missing, etc. It was a great way to step back and work ON the business, instead of IN the business and figure out what wasn’t working and how to fix it.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow already!

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Class began on Monday, but I arrived on Sunday and got a chance to checkout the Golden Gate Bridge.

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