Implementing Holacracy at Intrust IT

holacracyOne of Intrust IT’s company goals for 2017 is to implement Holacracy as our management structure, and I plan on blogging about the entire experience here.  For 2016 we implemented open book management using the Great Game of Business framework (GGOB), but I neglected to fully document what we did to make that successful.  I talk to a lot of other business owners who have questions about how we did that, and I expect there will be even more questions about Holacracy, so I figured this time I would capture my thoughts as we make the transition.

You can see my posts on our transition here:

If you aren’t familiar with Holacracy and you stumbled onto this site hoping to learn the basics, you should probably start on the Holacracy website first because they have a bunch of information, whitepapers, videos and other resources.  You can also buy the book.  If, on the other hand, you know the basics and you want to know why in the world someone would want to implement it, or how the heck a company goes about implementing it, then you’ve come to the right place.

Why implement Holacracy at Intrust IT?

I’m always looking for ways to improve employee engagement in my company.  I strive to have a transparent company culture where everyone is involved and knows what is going on.  I implemented GGOB for this reason and it has made a noticeable difference in our culture and on our bottom line.  GGOB is a way for employees to understand and influence the flow of money through the company, and I find that Holacracy is a way for employees to understand and influence the flow of work through the company. They are also similar in their “gaming” approach.  It just seems like a natural next step.

Our company roadmap includes setting up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and for that to be truly successful all the employees need to think like an owner.  GGOB and Holacracy are two great ways for them to have that mentality.

As an IT service provider to hundreds of companies over the years I’ve been behind the scenes at a lot of those companies and seen a lot of bad managers, dysfunctional management structures and ugly re-organizations.  I’ve always wondered if there could be a better way, and when I first heard about Holacracy I thought it might be that better way. After studying it for a couple of years I became convinced enough that I decided that I wanted to give it a try at my company.  The only question was how and when.

As I mentioned above, after we had GGOB up and running Holacracy seemed to be the next step, but everything was running pretty smooth, so I didn’t have much of a reason to change anything.  Then one day in August of 2016 one of my managers came to me and said that he loved working here, but he just couldn’t handle the commute anymore, and it had come down to either uprooting his family and moving, or for him to get a job closer to home.  He opted for the latter.  So that change was all the catalyst I needed to make the decision to start our Holacracy journey.  In hindsight I think I was just looking for an excuse, and I found it.

I pitched the idea to my leadership team, and they agreed with me that it really fit our culture and how we operate, and that the recent manager departure was good timing.  So I quickly set about scheduling training and finding someone to help implement it.  One of my clients has been practicing Holacracy for a couple of years, so with some arm-twisting I convinced him to come out of retirement to facilitate at least our first three months of meetings and to give us some guidance as we headed down the path.

And that’s where the story begins…..

I hope you enjoy learning from our mistakes!