7 Years of Holacracy – Patricia Gomez Takes Stock

Markus HenkelApril 2024

What are my experiences with Holacracy?

The best way to describe my experiences with Holacracy is to compare them with moving out of your parents’ place. At first, you are so excited about your new freedom. But then reality catches up with you: The freedom comes with a host of obligations and responsibilities – cooking, cleaning, groceries – and suddenly, it is up to you to organise your life. This is not an easy transition and is a very intense learning experience.

Markus HenkelApril 2024

7 Years of Holacracy – Martin Kriegler Takes Stock

What does the switch from the hierarchical corporate structure to the autonomous Holacracy organization, in which, as we know, there is no traditional management, actually entail? We asked Martin Kriegler, Expert Application Architect at Unic, what has changed in detail? And where Unic can still be optimized?

7 Years of Holacracy – Martin Kriegler Takes Stock

But as time goes by, you find your own way to master these things. You realise you do not have to do everything the way it was done at home – maybe there is no need to iron your shirts, but some housekeeping like emptying the bins, doing the dishes or vacuuming your flat just have to be done. I set the priorities, usually together with my family. And I go about it the same way at Unic, based on Holacracy.

This gives Unic employees an opportunity to have their voices heard in the company and drive the changes they would like to see. You will not find any major decision-making bodies here. And minor changes that make your day-to-day work easier can be implemented very quickly.

For me personally, Holacracy also stands for a strong community spirit. When the team is successful, I know that I contributed to that. It is that feeling that you are a part of something bigger and that you are achieving things together. The appreciation of every single person is why I value Holacracy so much.

What advantages do I personally see in Holacracy?

Holacracy promotes a high degree of transparency and understanding within an organisation. Clearly defined purposes and strategies of the individual circles illustrate why specific intentions lead to certain decisions. This transparency helps me personally to understand the charted course of the organisation and contribute to important decision-making processes.

Lovey WymannJune 2023

Psychological Security and New Work – or How to Make Shared Governance Work

Experts and interested professionals got together at an after-work event in Berne to talk about psychological security and shared governance. What do employees and (former) managers need when responsibilities are shared in a novel way? Here are a few tips on how to make shared governance work.

Psychological Security and New Work – or How to Make Shared Governance Work

Another key advantage of Holacracy is flexibility: Should the purpose no longer be appropriate or the strategies not yield the intended outcomes, there is an opportunity – and even a necessity – to adapt the course of action regularly. To do that, you review the purpose and the related strategy of the respective team (also called a circle) on a regular basis.

This dynamic approach enables the company to quickly adapt to changes and to keep evolving, just like we do as people in our everyday lives.

Holacracy offers me the transparency that helps me personally to understand the course of the organisation and supports me in participating in important decision-making processes.

Patricia Gomez, Senior Application Architect Unic

What are the biggest challenges for me and for Unic in a Holacratic company?

The implementation of Holacracy comes with a number of challenges for me personally and for Unic as a company.

One major challenge for me is the responsibility that comes with Holacracy. In a Holacratic system, processes and roles are defined clearly, and every employee is aware of how they contribute to success or progress together with the other team members. This means that in a Holacratic organisation, to ensure progress and success, I need to become active and take initiative.

This also applies to the promotion process because there is no line manager to suggest promoting me. Instead, it is up to me to take the initiative and argue for my promotion. This motivates me to keep working on my personal and professional development, attend training sessions and leave my comfort zone.

For Unic as a company, the biggest challenge is to optimise work processes for the employees and make work more efficient. Unic also needs to give employees enough freedom to reach the defined goals. This requires flexibility in terms of the pathway and tools they use.

Since Unic works in different domains and technical disciplines and at different locations, core tasks are distributed to different circles. To outsiders, these circles and how they work can seem like a black box, the inner workings of which are unknown or irrelevant at first. The challenge is to set up and coordinate circles in a way that they can work together effectively and achieve the company goals while at the same time remaining transparent and comprehensible to all stakeholders, including customers.

Based on what I know today, what would I focus on?

Looking back, I would place a special focus on open-mindedness and trust, which are essential for the successful introduction of Holacracy.

Also, some meetings can seem confusing or even unnecessary at the beginning. But if you keep holding them regularly, they show their true value as effective instruments for exchanging information as well as monitoring and resolving tension. The idea that the agenda for a meeting can be created as you go along was almost unheard of before the introduction of Holacracy.

Trust and patience are key elements for that. But the challenge is not entirely new. For instance, when we introduced Scrum as a project management method, we were also sceptical at first: A 15-minute meeting, every day? But just like then, it turns out that the initial scepticism is eventually replaced by the realisation that there is merit to these approaches.

For companies about to embark on that journey, I would recommend...

Don’t be afraid and don’t lose heart. The transition to Holacracy is not a revolution, it is an evolution. It can take a few months until Holacracy is fully integrated and starts to take effect. But this time is an excellent opportunity to analyse the tasks and processes of the company in detail and redefine them as needed. Once you have reached that point, it is hard to imagine returning to a traditional, hierarchical work environment or organisation.

Insights into Unic

Basil BonziMay 2023

Spotlight on – New Technologies, Flexible Working Time and Saying No

Balancing personal and professional life is demanding. Basil tells us his view and how he perceives Unic as an employer.

Spotlight on – New Technologies, Flexible Working Time and Saying No

Basil Bonzi

Nadia MeierJune 2023

Spotlight on – Being There for the Kids Without Having a Guilty Conscience

Spotlight on – Being There for the Kids Without Having a Guilty Conscience
Nadia Meier

Nadia Meier

We look forward to hearing from you!