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Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World

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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,114 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Holacracy is a revolutionary management system that redefines management and turns everyone into a leader.

Holacracy distributes authority and decision-making throughout an organization, and defines people not by hierarchy and titles, but by roles. Holacracy creates organizations that are fast, agile, and that succeed by pursuing their purpose, not following a dated and art
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Emma Sea
Aug 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Holacracy is a system for structuring a business through "peer-to-peer self-organization and distributed control," in which "we all get to be adults together."

okay, so 1) Holacracy doesn't stand up under Marxian analysis. Power is not actually being distributed when workers are still selling their labor and the value of their efforts is taken as profit by the business owner.

2) Holacracy is designed for the perfect rational human, without personality, relationships, or ego. It is deliberately des
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Derk de Geus
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
It is well written and persuasive. It is also a dangerous management system that can undermine a company, as it did with mine when we tried to implement it. It nearly brought us down.

My takeaway is that there is no system that can replace solid leadership. If you're the CEO, you need to own it and get to work. It's super tempting to abdicate responsibility but it is simply the wrong path to take.

Yes, people make mistakes, but applying a straightjacket for decision making process is not the ans
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Jurgen Appelo
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
A process-heavy straightjacket for organizations that can't figure out how to delegate the rules of communication.
Jan
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holacracy® is a governance system and a registered trademark owned by HolacracyOne. The word Holacracy is very easy to confuse with holocracy (with an o), which means universal democracy. Robertson's aim with the system is to "harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations" (p. 7). This harnessing is done by "a set of core rules" (p. 12). The Holacracy constitution acts as "the core rule book for the organization" (p. 21). Robertson hopes that his ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Before I start - I don't think I'm able to properly review this book with reviewing the concept of Holocracy itself. It's technically possible, but it doesn't make (IMHO) much sense.

The overall concept of Holocracy (to replace inefficient & troublesome mgmt hierarchies with system of nested circles governed by process itself) sounds very crazy, but actually the 'city metaphore' made me give it a deeper thought. Anyway even if I agree with many statements, even if I've made plenty of bookmarks &
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Olivier Compagne
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in business
This book does a great job at showcasing Holacracy, a new management system that distributes authority and accountability throughout an organization, instead of relying on managers to guide employees. What makes this book successful is that it includes both the "why" and the "how to" use Holacracy, all in a digestible read.

An aspect of Holacracy dear to me is that unlike current discourse on the matter, it doesn't put employees' and companies' interests back to back. Instead it proposes a system
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Guillaume Belanger
I read this book because it was discussed in Reinventing Organizations as a complete system for running things under self-organising principles. Unlike Reinventing Organizations, this book is not intended to be an inspirational guide, at least I don't think so. Instead, it is meant to present the management system that is Holocracy, walk us through its elements, its processes, its systems, and help us in deciding if we want to adopt it. The great advantage of adopting this management system is t ...more
Linh
Mar 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was reading a short stories science fiction anthology at the same time; and the two books felt interchangeable. I had always been interested in aspects of holacracy, and reading this book in its entirety demonstrated how off-base I was with my assumptions.

For starters, most of the world's religions allow you to practice said faith with more flexility. Robertson is so rigid in his "it's 110% holacracy or it just won't work", that it felt like I was reading a cult's doctrine. This is where the s
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Bjoern Rochel
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, eng-mgmt
Many good ideas, but for my taste too extreme and too process heavy. I like the idea of circles and roles and how autonomy and accountability is shifted. I also appreciate the separation of meta level from the operations.

What I have a hard time with is imagining adults liking being put into a strict process straightjacket. I just don't think that process alone will magically cure all problems of modern organizations.

Holacracy feels to me like its to teal organization what Scrum is for Agile.

Ove
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Michal Wesolowski
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great example of how self-managing organizations can work successfully. As a person interested in particular in practical implementations, over theoretical possibilities, I found the book a great combination of both. Even if Holacracy does not fit your organization, I recommend the book to everyone who believe in the idea of self-managing organizations.
Jyri-Matti Lähteenmäki
First part had great thoughts and a nice vibe. But the second part was mainly about organizing meetings, which I consider a separate subject. The third part felt like a desperate attempt to make anyone atleast try holocracy.

Read the first part and pick the good stuff.
Mike
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Takeaways:
1. Top down management is the same concept as a 5 year planned economy - it doesn't work, but it anchors you to a projected outcome -- think about Mao's Great Leap Forward famine and its roots.
2. Decisions made by boots on the ground who know the general strategy has long been best plan.
3. Modern corp structure doesn't provide authority to make the decisions at the ground level.
4. You need a different structure to be self-organizing / self-healing
5. This mindshift needs to be inside t
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Richard Newton
I started this book expecting to hate it, but I actually enjoyed it. (It's a good question why I would read a book I expected to hate, but that's another topic!). It's probably the cover which I found off putting which makes the book look like another over-confident, but basically vacuous business nonsense. In reality this is a well thought through and genuinely innovative set of thinking about organizations. It is also well written, being an easy read, which is a good trick to pull off for nove ...more
Adi
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept is interesting, the presentation of the concept of Holacracy is detailed, but unfortunately not exciting enough. I was dragging myself through the chapters. It is clearly an important experiment and step towards new ways of working together as opposed to working for and under/over, etc. I need to experience Holacracy for giving it a fair review. On paper it appears to be a replacement of old structures that were becoming inefficient and rather an obstacle with a new structure that pr ...more
Jason Dunn
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the idea of roles, along with their responsibilities and accountabilities, versus job titles. My criticism of circles is that they are just another way to draw a tree hierarchy. (Try and see). The “lead link” is still a supervisor role despite what the Holocracy training states.

I’d like to see this in action somewhere.
Alejandro Perez
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has some pretty advanced and innovative concepts for running a business. Lots of great ideas to get and implement in the business before making a final call as to moving into this new operating philosophy!
Serge Boucher
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
More or less Getting Things Done for organisations. Worth reading.
Brandy Cross
A mostly decent but far from complete manual for holacracy. This book briefly goes over why, before spending most of its time on "how", with considerable detail put into meeting formats, process frameworks, and "how this actually works". As a result, it's one of the more practical and applicable books of its kind.

Unlike Teal, it also tackles some aspects of goal orienting as a large organization, although not really. This isn't a consensus vote, and someone has to have ownership of it, but whom
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Nourhan Almeldin
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
HOLACRACY: the recognition that when the core authority structure and processes of an organization fundamentally hold space for everyone to have and use power, and do not allow anyone _ even a leader_ to co-opt the power of others, then we no longer need to rely on leaders who empower others. Instead we have something much more powerful: a space where we can all find our own empowerment, and a system that protects that space regardless of the actions of any one individual, whatever his or her po ...more
Tõnu Vahtra
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book sits somewhere between Morningstar approach (there are no managers) and normal leadership innovation. There are some thought provoking ideas, but as a general management system it disregards the sociological/psychological aspects too much and could be fully implemented in organizations without politics (are there such organizations?). According to holacracy you should not focus on the people but the roles needed in the organization and in conversation and plans also refer to different ...more
Mark
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's an amazing set of concepts in which I firmly believe. They will take a LOT of work yet the results should be fantastic. Some will be tempted to think that these ideas are all new. Well, some are, but many are not. These basic concepts have been proven many times through efforts that are often tagged with labels such as Lean, Agile, Self-organizing, and Management 3.0. The software world has embraced many of these concepts, but the rest of the organization has been slow to move, with a few n ...more
Erik Logstrup
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A terrific and very inspiring book, if you want a deep-dive (also detail-wise) into how exactly you can (and can not) implement the modern version of an organic, self-governing organization.

A word of caution: The latter parts of the book are not for the reader just wanting a quick overview of things - it is, as mentioned, a rather detailed (= actually useful :-) ) recipe for introducing - and managing - a Holacracy based organization.
Nicolas Leroy
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
As an entrepreneur, allergic to pyramid hierarchy, it was good to finally read about alternative systems to run a company. Reinventing organisations by F. Laloux showed that new forms of organisation exist. This book described one possible system. Next I will explore sociocracy. I am glad I read this book, but only experience with this system will teach you if it works for you or not.
Sako
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Robertson prescribes a very compelling approach to building an organization that can evolve naturally as it adapts to sensed opportunities for improvement, but it's one that requires a very thorough rethinking of how most organizations are currently structured.
Leah
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Great ideas.
I just got disinterested in "meeting planning 101". Sorry!
Maryanne
Ugh. No due dates? Maybe that's why your real company shut down and you're left telling other people how to business.
Frederico de Araújo Alecrim
Great book with great Ideas.
Joey Tanny
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good primer into good governance and developing innovative operations management.
Tathagat Varma
When I first heard of Holacracy a few years back, I immediately liked the big idea to radically transform organizations. Its approach of distributing the power inside an organization by aligning the three different org structures made lot of sense. It concept of "abolishing" titles and hierarchy by replacing with circles is a great metaphor, and the supporting constructs of link leads and rep links, etc. is a simple and elegant solution to endless meetings and arguments that never seem to get to ...more
Anette
Apr 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: help-and-guides
While I found many ideas in the book interesting and exciting, the entire premise of training people to be emotionless and detached. The entire concept of facilitator interrupting, cutting off and challenging people's perception of the situation in business meetings doesn't seem like a bad idea because I am used to the "old ways" - it sounds bad because there is no way a process that relies on one person always being more grounded in the ways of Holacracy calling other people out for their non-H ...more
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Brian J. Robertson created Holacracy and founded HolacracyOne, the organization that is training people and companies all over the world in this new system. Robertson had previously launched a successful software company, where he first introduced the principles that would become Holacracy, making him not just a management theorist, but someone who has successfully implemented a holacracy-powered ...more

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You’d think that with, well, everything this year has had in store for us, readers would flock to sweet stories with happy endings. But as...
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“Holacracy includes the following elements: • a constitution, which sets out the “rules of the game” and redistributes authority • a new way to structure an organization and define people’s roles and spheres of authority within it • a unique decision-making process for updating those roles and authorities • a meeting process for keeping teams in sync and getting work done together” 4 likes
“There is no freedom without discipline, no vision without a form” 2 likes
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