Reaching Into the Universe

Notes on a Holacracy strategy meeting

plane landing over simpson bayBay Area Integral's strategy meeting (a type of Holacracy meeting) was great to be part of. Of course I think it went better because I was doing it with other skillful, integral people. Perhaps a better test for Holacracy would be to take it offroading into the wilds of the typical workplace, working with a group of more diverse development levels. Even then, I suspect it would work well.

The meeting started with a check in by roles (everyone in a holacracy fills one or more roles). I'm always impressed with how people in the integral community hold sacred space, moving in and out of it as necessary, quickly, with a minimum of fuss.

The bulk of the meeting followed the standard diamond-shaped creative process: a period of divergent brainstorming followed by a focusing convergence toward our meeting outputs. Every Holacracy meeting has well defined, concrete outputs—in this case, a high level theme for the organization for the year, our core value proposition, and our strategic direction for the year.

The last part of the convergence phase involves a proposal being made based on everything that's been brought up at the meeting which is then run through Holacracy's Integrative Decision-Making™ (trademarked, really?) process. This is a highly structured process that seems to have a lot of power: all views get heard and integrated without having to struggle with consensus, and perfectionism never even makes it into the room—the Holacracy definition of an Objection is "a tangible reason why adopting the proposal is not workable… at least for now". When the proposal can make it through an objection round with no objections it is adopted. At which point there was much rejoicing.

We had just made it through 4.5 hours of strategy meeting, finished early, and smoothly landed a plane that looked, for a while, like it had no engines, mangled landing gear, and only one wing. We were excited by the outputs we had developed, and grateful to, and appreciative of, our circle members for being along for the ride together.

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