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#Permaculture as a form of #governance: initial ideas

I’ve been circling (!) into governance ideas (Holacracy, Sociocracy and Sociocracy 3.0) and Permaculture, recently. My takes on these are:

  • Holacracy is well structured but quite complicated to implement
  • Sociocracy is way simpler but leaves initial practitioner with a blank page syndrom making them needing to reinvent most of their work
  • Sociocracy 3.0 is modulable but complex to start with

And then I pondered recently on permaculture and management, and then onto governance and sociocracy, and discovered that you could use permaculture for governance (with bits of consent and circles inside, and double-linking and elections without candidates being nice additions). I still haven’t had the time to detail my ideas, but it mostly goes like this:

  • planning could use the OBREDIM (observation, borders, resources, evaluation, design, implementation, maintenance) permaculture design approach to structure issues
  • the circles (and sub-circles) are thought along the line of permaculture zoning like below. This also goes for analyzing issues and ensuring they’re properly contributing to the organizational ecosystem they belong to:

    • 0 = you,
    • 1 = the circle
    • 2 = the community/organization
    • 3 = the wider environment/ecosystem/bioregion where the organization resides
    • 4 = the nation
    • 5 = the world/Earth
  • governance could benefit from the seven levels, with the following correspondance :
    1. canopy: strategy definition
    2. low trees: roadmaps, tactics, policies
    3. shrubs: operational stuff: projects and actions
    4. herbaceous: nutrients: what are the recurring resources that will feed the circle?
    5. rhizosphere (roots): digestion: how can learning be reinjected into the organizational culture?
    6. soil surface (ground cover): protection: how can we maintain and preserve our culture (all the while nourishing it)?
    7. vertical layer (vines): interconnections with other levels and circles
  • and synchronization meetings (triage in Holacracy) or action planning benefit from the 12 principles to ensure the actions contribute the most effectively to the organization (do you create no waste? do you tap into renewable energy from people (ie in their strengths, not aside from then, etc. See my other posts on that)

That’s mostly it! When decisions need to be taken, you resort to consent after having clarified the issue using OBREDIM at all relevant levels (plants don’t achieve consensus, their behaviors mostly resemble consent to me). Elections are without candidates (plants don’t propose themselves, they each interact and structural coupling make some stand up given the local conditions). Circles are double-linked because it increases the communication channel variety through which complexity can express itself (the complexity is at most that of the communication channel). And of course a circle is the local ecosystem around a specific topic.

That way of organizing stuff also embeds elements from Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. But I’ll let that proof as an exercise for the reader 😉

Do Elinor Olström’s principles to manage #Commons apply to Social Systems as well?

While reading this article here: I wondered if, just like I (and others) did with Permaculture principles, her 8 core principles could be used in social systems as well (if we consider that, today, mental energy in organizations might be considered as a commons and is in danger of disappearing because of “overgrazzing”):

  1. Clearly defined boundaries;
  2. Proportional equivalence between benefits and costs;
  3. Collective choice arrangements;
  4. Monitoring;
  5. Graduated sanctions;
  6. Fast and fair conflict resolution;
  7. Local autonomy;
  8. Appropriate relations with other tiers of rule-making authority (polycentric governance)

Well, it doesn’t seem as clear cut as with permaculture. We could make the following parallels (sorry for the  crude images in what follows. Union representatives, please stay away from this unsafe zone 😉

  • workers’ mental energy is the field
  • managers are the villagers
  • work is the cows who graze in the field

There’s a first difference in that managers are both members of the group of cows and the field being grazed.

I can see how it could work to manage that (I mean, in an artificial, rigid, way with committees to monitor metrics, assemblies of managers studying the work and the health of the workforce), but nothing plausible seems to emerge.

And yet, with governance approaches (eg Sociocracy 3.0 or Holacracy or Reinvented Organizations), the problem seems to be addressed. But the distinction between cows and field has vanished (something not possible in the example of Olstrom of course). Which might have all to do with the difference between real, physical world (Olstrom) and virtual, services, mental world.

Reblog: #Holacracy : et l’humain dans tout ça ? | IN EXCELSIS via @RomainBisseret

Voici un excellent article sur l’Holacracy vue de l’intĂ©rieur. À lire en ce dĂ©but d’annĂ©e !

La plupart des commentaires Ă  charge contre l’holacratie mentionne un caractĂšre “non humain”. Or, les rapports humains n’ont rien Ă  voir avec la façon de travailler ensemble. Voyons pourquoi.

Source: Holacratie : et l’humain dans tout ça ? | IN EXCELSIS

Reblog: #Holacracy, une rÚgle du jeu pour jouer la partie, différemment. par @ppinault

July 11th, 2016 Posted in Change Tags: , , , ,

Parlons Sport, c’est d’actualitĂ© 🙂

Source: Holacracy, une rĂšgle du jeu pour jouer la partie, diffĂ©remment — Medium

Rien d’autre Ă  ajouter Ă  cette comparaison Holacracy / Foot. Je ne pratique pas le foot, mais la comparaison fait incroyablement mouche. À lire !


I disagree: self-organization is NOT hard (reply to @bud_caddell)

This is a reply to Bud Caddell‘s article here.

First, I’d like to say that I agree with most of the content of the article, especially the stuff on Holacracy being complicated stuff. I come from Lean management coaching, and I can say that Lean is complex too. Indeed, we see similar problems: some companies succeed in implementing it, some don’t. Most don’t by the way. Read more »

Reblog: Book Review: Beyond Majority Rule #sociocracy

Very good review of a book about Quakers decision-making. Even the review goes to great lengths at describing the requirements of participants to successfully achieve decision-making.

This stuff is at the origin of Sociocracy, Holacracy and then Sociocracy 3.0.

Here’s the review.

ArrĂȘtez l’hypocrisie, on arrĂȘtera le cynisme ! #management #teal #entrepriselibĂ©rĂ©e

Je ne compte plus le nombre de fois oĂč j’ai entendu un manager dire “ça ne marchera pas, ils (les employĂ©s) n’accepteront jamais” ? Ou “les employĂ©s ont besoin d’un cadre pour travailler”.

Mais avez-vous seulement essayé autrechose ? Je veux dire, vraiment essayé.

Le fait est que les managers se contentent (au mieux) ou se gargarisent (au pire) des libertĂ©s qu’ils laissent aux employĂ©s. Mais ces libertĂ©s ne peuvent s’exercer que dans le cadre de pĂ©rimĂštres parfaitement dĂ©limitĂ©s par ces mĂȘmes managers. Tant que l’intelligence et la libertĂ© du collaborateur s’expriment dans ce cadre (restreint), tout va bien (pour le manager). Mais dĂšs qu’elles essayent d’en sortir elles ne sont plus reconnue comme telle : elles se transforment en prĂ©tentions mal placĂ©es ou, pire, en arrogance.

Le fait est que l’expertise peut amener Ă  tourner le miroir du cĂŽtĂ© du manager, qui n’aime alors pas ce qu’il y voit et en blĂąme le collaborateur. Lorsque cela arrive, de nouvelles rĂšgles et structures sont dĂ©finies, qui enferment les collaborateurs dans de nouvelles contraintes… lui laissant toujours une petite place pour dĂ©velopper la seule facette de son intelligence nĂ©cessaire Ă  la rĂ©alisation du travail qu’on lui demande. L’honneur et le statu quo sont saufs.

Et quand les contraintes posĂ©es autours de plein de petites boĂźtes (qu’on appelle alors “silos”) empĂȘchent l’entreprise d’avancer de maniĂšre satisfaisante, on met en place… des chefs de projets. C’est Ă  dire que le management va payer des gens Ă  forcer le travail au travers de murs qu’il a lui-mĂȘme mis en place. LĂ  est l’hypocrisie ! Et lorsque cela Ă©choue (c’est Ă  dire que dans 90% des cas, l’avancement n’est pas assez rapide et efficace), on blĂąme… les chefs de projets (lesquels blĂąment les collaborateurs, ayant bien compris qu’il n’est pas bon de critiquer le management) !

Et lorsqu’on est obligĂ© de gĂ©rer trop de projets parce qu’il y a trop de contraintes qui empĂȘchent le travail de se faire seul, on met en place… une gestion de portefeuille de projets !

Et enfin, lorsque plus rien ne fonctionne que fait-on ? On demande de l’aide Ă  des consultants, lesquels vont alors proposer des solutions que les collaborateurs avaient dĂ©jĂ  imaginĂ©es. Et lĂ , soit cela se fait (violemment et donc augmente le cynisme des collaborateurs), soit ne se fait pas parce que les managers n’aiment pas le ton des consultants (pour ceux qui osent tourner le miroir de leur cĂŽtĂ©), et le rapport finit dans un tiroir (augmentant donc ainsi Ă©galement le cynisme des collaborateurs).

Au final, les managers demandent Ă  d’autres personnes de forcer les contraintes qu’ils ont eux-mĂȘmes mises en place, situation dont ils nient la responsabilitĂ©, tout en refusant les marques d’expertises qui chercheraient Ă  dĂ©montrer l’inanitĂ© de ces contraintes et les supprimer.

Managers: arrĂȘtez de pensez que vous ĂȘtes meilleurs que vos employĂ©s pour arranger le travail. C’est rarement le cas puisque dans la majoritĂ© des situations, vous ne pratiquez plus ce travail !

Vous avez un rĂŽle Ă  jouer dans l’entreprise, et un rĂŽle important : celui de collecter une vision plus globale et systĂ©mique que celle de vos collaborateurs (occupĂ©s qu’ils sont sur leur travail), et leur en faire bĂ©nĂ©ficier, en toute transparence.

Votre rĂŽle n’est pas de mettre des frontiĂšres autour des gens pour qu’ils restent dans leurs boĂźtes et de continuer Ă  avoir une vision globale dont vous ne savez que faire parce qu’elle ne rentre Ă©videmment pas dans les boĂźtes que vous avez Ă©rigĂ©es.

Vous avez bien de la chance quand vos collaborateurs acceptent encore de travailler sous les contraintes que vous leurs imposez. Et tous vos programmes de motivation n’y changeront rien si vous ne changez pas le problĂšme de fond : votre mode de management. Au contraire : un programme de remotivation qui n’adresserait pas les causes profondes ne ferait qu’augmenter, Ă  terme, le dĂ©sengagement.

Quelle légitimité puis-je avoir à dire cela ?

Quelles solutions ? Elles sont nombreuses mais je n’en citerai que deux. Attention, c’est violent. Mais je crois que ce sont les plus valables. Plus simple et plus timide, ce ne serait que cautĂšre sur jambe de bois. Il faut ĂȘtre plus radical pour ĂȘtre efficace.

  • Lancer des transformations de l’entreprise oĂč le collaborateur et le client sont vraiment mis au centre (avec des bĂ©nĂ©fices en consĂ©quence, et non l’inverse) au travers, par exemple, de programmes Lean. Pas de fausses amĂ©liorations : par pitiĂ©, laissez faire les experts et acceptez de tester, Ă  fond, leurs prĂ©conisations, si radicales qu’elles soient (ou si proches que vous pensiez qu’elles soient de vos pratiques actuelles : vous verrez qu’en fait vous vous trompez)
  • LibĂ©rer votre entreprise en donnant vraiment les clĂ©s de l’organisation Ă  l’ensemble des collaborateurs et supprimez les postes de manager hiĂ©rarchique pour les remplacer par des managers Ă©lus d’activitĂ© prĂ©cises. Allez lire la BD sur l’Holacracy, tentez une approche plus progressive avec la Socicoracy 3.0 ou lisez le livre plus gĂ©nĂ©rique de FrĂ©dĂ©ric Laloux : Reinventing Organizations. Y’a mĂȘme un Wiki en cours d’Ă©laboration ou des vidĂ©os.

Sinon, arrĂȘtez de vous plaindre de vos entreprises qui dysfonctionnent, laissez-nous faire notre boulot, mais ne nous demandez pas le bonheur au travail, tant que vous n’aurez pas changĂ©.

#Nomadisme #digital et Ă©mancipation par #Holacracy

July 10th, 2015 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , , ,



Article sympathique sur ces deux sujets ici :

Un nombre croissant d’entrepreneurs et de start-up s’affranchissent des structures managĂ©riales archaĂŻques. Le nomadisme numĂ©rique et l’holacratie Ă©mergent. Toujours plus de sociĂ©tĂ©s mais Ă©galement de services publics cherchent de nouvelles façons de travailler. DĂ©couverte en cinq Ă©pisodes

Source: Des entreprises sans chefs et sans bureaux –

#Sociocracy and #Holacracy

May 27th, 2015 Posted in Change Tags: , , , ,

I’ve happily discovered the “new version” of Sociocracy as 3.0. Please go check there; the link with Holacracy as a past dissidence is explicited, but seems to have been integrated in the new sociocracy. I love this new version (much clearer) and probably more than Holacracy because I find it simpler to understand. I’ll seriously consider using it especially after having read that “undercover guerilla” Sociocracy for One.

Of course, version 4.x of Holacracy is just around the corner (in open-source, on Github, whoohoo!) so I’ll have to check that one too!

Connecting #Holacracy with #VSM (Viable System Model) – there’s hope yet!

I’ve been reading quite some stuff recently on Holacracy, and I think it would make for a very nice mashup with the Viable System Model. Here’s how:

  • The circles look a lot to me like Systems 1 and a hierarchy of them (super-circles, sub-circles) smells like VSM recursive levels to me. If you add that you can have Cross Link representatives (connecting circles that are not hierarchically connected), that starts to looks like true recursivity to me.
  • Then, you have the “process breakdown” part of the constitution that, to me again, is a way to detect unmatched variety at some level and pass it up the hierarchy/recursivity for managing (System 2)
  • And of course, the Lead Link/Rep Link roles match somewhat naturally with the vertical channels: the ones going down from system 3 to System 1 and up through System 2 as well.
  • Separation between operational meetings and governance meetings would fit well with an S3/S1 separation as well
  • Holacracy incorporates some features of the personal productivity method “Getting Things Done” (GTD) from David Allen, and this obviously would make for a very nice addition to a VSM-based organization (or any other one for that matter).

Indeed, Holacracy looks like a very nice way of running a VSM at whatever level you consider it. Where people might mismatch a VSM organization for a hierarchical one, having circles one inside another as a way to feature the recursive nature of VSM and at the same time having each circle functioning as a viably entity in its own would be a great addition. Holacracy doesn’t address the viability of circles explicitly, yet it provides for some nice alerting mechanisms (algedonic signals in VSM terms) that would allow to bootstrap viability.

Where VSM brings a bit more to the picture, to me, is with its specific focus on the Environment (bringing the outside in, something that Steve Denning identified on Forbes) and the explicit focus on the Future and Ethos through System 4 and 5.

What do you think?

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