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What’s Holacracy and Can a Small Business Pull It Off?

Via All Business Expert : Holacracy is described as the social technology or system of organizational governance in which authority and decision making are distributed evenly throughout groupings of self-organized teams, rather than being vested at the top of a hierarchy. So where a typical office runs with the use of different departments and managers at the top of those departments, Holacracy is a way to run an office through the even distribution of power via a group of fluid department-like groupings.

Holacracy came about when 35-year-old Brian Robertson felt “a burning sense that there has to be a better way to work together,” he told Fast Company in an interview. Robertson was coding by age 6, developing software by 13, and by 17 got a gig with an aerospace company that caused him to realize the pitfalls in traditionally setup companies.

Holacracy is supposed to be complicated. It takes extensive training and immersion to even begin to grasp at the benefits of the program. Such companies as Medium and Zappos are giving Holacracy a try. At this point, Robertson says it’s too early to tell the effects of Holacracy on Medium or Zappos, as they’re both relatively new to the practice. But, as mentioned before, the immersion is supposed to be complicated and chaotic; weeding out employees the initiative isn’t meant for. Robertson has said the journey takes about five years and all the chaos in the beginning is expected. He also feels that “everything that’s going on at Zappos—it’s all a part of the shift.” So it seems Zappos is heading in the right direction. We can only wait and see what it means for them.

So how would Holacracy translate to a small business setting?

First we have to consider the price. To implement Holacracy, the parent company HolacracyOne helps companies convert with consulting services that run from $50,000 to $500,000. Depending on the size and age of your small business, that can be a huge chunk of change. Both Zappos and even Medium, which is smaller, have some cash to risk when it comes to trying new and improved ways to run their businesses.

A small business may simply not be able to afford it. But, say you could. If a small business could cover the consulting cost, I think Holacracy could very much support the small business model. When I look to hire employees for my small business, most importantly, I look to see if they are entrepreneurially minded. Do they want to grow and succeed along with the business? Will they consider this business as their own?

In corporate, it’s common for employees to just be smaller cogs in a bigger machine; they clock in, put in the work, and clock out, never really realizing their bigger picture role. In small business, we all work towards the same goal, a principle celebrated in Holacracy. Yes, you’d have some angry managers when you broke the news that from this day forward there will be no managers or department heads, and you’d be relinquishing your title as CEO, but the outcome of utter teamwork and, hopefully, profit could be very worth the role changes. The question is, are you willing to go through the trouble?

About Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

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