The Brainquil Blog

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015


In a previous blog, I mentioned how Holacracy is changing how businesses are run, to adapt to the new emerging knowledge workers. Based on Daniel Pink’s research, the three biggest drivers for human motivation in knowledge work; are Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. Holacracy, provides every individual inside an organization these 3 attributes, thus driving engagement and ownership within organizations.


The system is adopted by many of the most influential companies, such as Zappos. Where the company is systematized around the work that needs to be done, rather than the people who do it.


In Holacracy, there are no departments, but rather “Circles”. These circles are derived from the company’s overarching purpose, or why the company exists. Moreover, these circles are composed of “Roles”. Each role is a break down of the circle purpose, fulfilling the work to be done for the circle to achieve its goals. Roles resolve a tension, which is a potential goal for the circle that needs to be realized, which by turn contributes to the company’s Mission. Roles are composed of 3 main constituents, Purpose, Domains and Accountabilities.


  • Purpose: Why the role exists? What is the tension (potential) this role is trying to resolve
  • Domain: The properties which this role has full authority over
  • Accountabilities: The KPI that this role has to fulfill


For example, a marketing circle would have events, promotions and social media as roles within the circle. The social media role would have a purpose of increasing followers on Twitter, a Domain of the company’s twitter account and its Accountabilities would be 2 tweets per day.


Now, the one who holds the social media role can be ANYONE within the company who is most fit to it. The same person can have another role in the Operations circle, which maybe, the Inventory Management role, or a Proposal writing role in the Sales Circle. With this structure, everyone within the company can be geared towards what he’s best at with full ownership and authority according to the Holacratic Constitution, which is more like the federal law of the system.


The Circle that encompasses all Circles is the Anchor Circle. The anchor circle assigns the initial circles with their lead links. A Lead Link’s job is to align the circle he’s linking with the anchor circle, to the company’s vision. When the anchor circle has a change in strategy, the lead link would bring all the roles within his circle to align with this new vision. The lead link acts like a manager for the department, only, he/she has no power over the how the different roles execute their purposes, or manage their domains. Her goal is only to align and communicate updates with other circles, take any of the unattended roles within her circle and hold regular meetings (Governance Meetings) to redefine or redistribute roles.


Certainly, for such a system, good communication is vital for the system’s success, and here comes the Governance Meetings. Governance Meetings is where circles refine their purpose and define their roles. In these meetings, only tensions are discussed,. Tensions are the new challenges or potentials that arise, and need to be attended to through the different roels. Projects or details of assignments, are handled in the Tactical Meetings, which act like performance management meetings. For both the Governance and Tactical Meetings, have a very clear process to avoid prolonged, unnecessary meetings.


In the classical structure, accountabilities and authorities went only one way, Up. In a Holacracy, Accountability travels in all directions, which guarantees efficiency and fires up productivity. Today’s dynamic and fast changing business environment dictates flexibility and agility to rapidly adapt to unpredicted future. Holacracy is no longer looking at people as a gear, but as multi potential, knowledgeable human capacities, that are able to decide and take the necessary actions when needed.


At brainquil, we began our Holacratization. We are very excited and very looking forward to how it would fire up our impact and performance in the market.



If you want to implement Holacracy at your organization, you can go to and you can find all the help you need, they even have an app to aid you in your Holacratic Journey.