The Brainquil Blog

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015


The industrial age is no longer here, nor rotary phones do exist anymore, so why are so many organizations still stuck in the classical hierarchical systems that hinder progress and growth?


Work has changed, the classical management model was built on the concept of predict and control, where people on top develop strategies that are implemented through the pyramid structure of the top down hierarchy, where workers have no agility nor the flexibility to change preset procedures and strategies.


It’s like a chess player; who’s instructed to play certain moves, regardless of what his opponent’s moves. It may have worked in a certain time, though; most certainly it’s proving to fail today more than ever.


Peter Ducker, the famous Entrepreneurship author calls this generation of workers, the knowledge workers. Knowledge work revolves around information and knowledge. The world has never seen this abundance of information before; knowledge and experience are no longer dependent on age, but rather the effort in seeking and growing one’s skills. Although, people with more experience in the field of business can offer much perspective for those with less, it’s a game of letting go of how these subordinates can realize those goals.


Furthermore, when organizations look at people as gears, doing only one job, entailed in a job description, they are locking too much potential that can be of humongous benefit for business if unleashed. Employees in the knowledge work era, are more capable and knowledgeable than ever, why not capitalize on their skills and give them the ownership to pursue their decisions in the areas where they would excel across the company? Of course under a system that allows this from being a complete anarchy.


What organizations need, is mixture of both the perspective of the top-down structure of hierarchy and the agility of a flat organizations.



That is why today, many of the innovative and successful companies are inheriting Holacary. Zappos is One of the leading online shoe stores, who is championing Holacracy. In a Holacracy, executives feel less burdened and their subordinates are given more ownership and feel more autonomous with their work. Top management now can have more clarity and their subordinates are much more engaged, geared towards their strengths and given full authority of their work. It’s a win-win deal!



In a previous post, I mentioned how Classical Models of Management, are causing businesses valuable growth opportunities and disengaging invaluable human talents. How many of the most innovative companies, such as Zappos are adopting Holacracy, to accommodate to the modern business dynamic.


In their book Teams of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal ,Tantum Coolins and David Sillverman, they gave two organizational examples that elaborate more on how stagnant structures could cause disasters. In 1978, a plane crashed at Portland, resulting in the unfortunate loss of 10 people. After a minor error, the pilot took a long safety procedure till the plane was out of fuel; despite the warnings the crewmembers gave him that the fuel is depleting.


Following the accident, United Airlines introduced the Crew Management System as way to train teams to react to malfunctions autonomously, rather than relying on only one person. In 2009, another plane had only a few minutes to land the plane, each team member knew exactly what should be done, reacted accordingly without awaiting approvals and ensured a safe landing on the Hudson River. This is a natural result on what happens when you trust that your talents are capable to take decisions and react to the different stimuli independently. This is exactly what Holacracy is about.



Then again, What is Holacracy exactly?


Holacracy comes from the words Holons, which is a complete entity in itself and a part of a larger whole, and Cracy, is the power to rule. The Human cell is a perfect example of a Holon, it’s a complete functional microorganism that is part of a bigger whole, that is the human body.


In Holacracy, the company is systematized around the work that needs to be done, rather than the people who do it. So you don’t have a job description, rather you have one or multiple Roles with a defined purpose and accountabilities, in which you have FULL authority over the properties and domains, which that role controls.


Your roles are distributed amongst and within different “Circles”, the alternatives to departments, which are the core of the holacratic system. Circles are meant to be the key to flexibility. They’re self-organizing: They can define and redefine their purposes as needed. As jobs are no longer defined by titles, but rather by the work required, The best person to do a particular task will do it. These roles are basically the work that needs to be done within the circle, for it to achieve its goals.


You can be managing the payables and receivables accounts in the finance circle, managing the social media role in the Marketing Circle and Proposal writing in the sales one. Certainly, you are assigned to these roles based on your strengths, passions, and CHOICE! Of course under a preset constitution.


Restructuring happens in a matter of minutes. Problems are resolved and customer needs are met in a fraction of the time they previously needed. More than ever, pupils feel ownership and are recognized for their individual strengths, which by turn, positively affects engagement and boosts productivity.

We at brainquil are adopting Holacracy, willing to be of the pioneers and early ambassadors of the practice. We have already started our series of Governance meetings & we will be keeping you posted of our Holacratization.

If you need to know more on Holacracy, click here..

Got feedback? I'd love to hear it..Mail me at

Written by:
Ahmed Abaza
Curious Brain