Your ultimate guide to Agile lingo

Circle rep


Holacracy is a collaborative governance model alternative to the traditional top-down pyramid.

It was Brian Robertson, head of an American software publisher, who conceptualized Holacracy in the early 2000s.

This agile method of governance, which is similar to but not identified with the sociocratic model, reorganizes completely the way an organization is managed.

Distributed Authority

Holacracy deconstructs the notion of hierarchy and the pyramid scheme of the traditional organization.

In a holacratic organization, the decision-making process is completely redesigned and shortened. It erases the principle of subordination that is central to traditional management.

Indeed, Holacracy ensures that those responsible for completing the work have the authority to decide how that work should be carried out.

Multiple Roles

In the Holacracy model, the company's activities are divided into work units, each of which corresponds to a role.

Each employee is assigned several different roles, depending on their skills, expertise, and workload.

Organizational Structure in Nested Circles

Finally, roles with similar tasks are grouped into circles that will sometimes correspond to traditional teams (marketing, accounting, etc.) or geographical locations or product lines.

This org chart model calls for the deconstruction of the historical idea of unique leadership.

Power is no longer concentrated, held by one or a few thinkers in the company's management. It is distributed and equally shared across the whole enterprise.

Organizational Governance

In the context of his own role, the employee is indeed fully empowered and acts as a referent.

The governance process designates the employee as legitimate, and responsible for implementing this new responsibility.

The underlying fundamental principle is to enable each employee to express his or her full potential and talents within the scope of their area of expertise (i.e. roles).

As you can imagine, employee engagement runs high.

The Governance Process

In this model, everything is rigorously organized through a highly codified governance process.

The Holacracy constitution governs the protocol for creating circles, the distribution of roles and the administration of these new teams.

Each circle functions as an autonomous entity, both as a whole and as part of a whole (this is the etymological meaning of holos, while kratos means power).

The coordination of these entities requires the existence of operating rules that are sufficiently effective to prevent any friction.

This is the entire principle of Holacracy: to establish a precise framework in which all the creativity of employees can be freely expressed.


This aggregation is subject to one essential condition: the certainty that all these teams are working together towards a common goal or purpose.

In Holacracy, the definition, adoption, and integration of the long-term strategic vision of a company is a responsibility for all the members of the company.

It is no longer the privilege of a couple of managers.

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