Lastly, holacracy empowers employees and allows them to be re- sponsible (Russo, 2014). Empowered and responsible employees are more productive employ- ees. If employees do not feel as if they are adequately equipped to do the job, then they are less likely to give their best effort. If they are made to feel they are supported and have the ability to do their work, they will be more productive. With all of the advantages, come disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages, is that holacracy is not feasible or applicable for larger companies (Russo, 2014). Holacracy requires that leadership give up its authority and responsibility and turn it over to a circle. A CEO of a large company such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, will almost certainly not want to give up his author- ity over a company that he started from the ground up. On top of that, Amazon is one of the largest and most successful companies in the world right now, and it would be incredibly difficult for a company of their size or larger to implement holacracy. Humans lack the self-discipline to self-manage or regulate themselves all of the time (Russo, 2014). One of holacracy’s core prin- ciples is self-management. Humans by nature lack the discipline to regulate themselves. By na- ture, humans need someone to lead and guide them in the right direction. Included in that guid-
HOLACRACY: LESSONS LEARNED 4 ance is mentoring and even discipline when needed. For this reason, it is difficult to implement holacracy. Holacracy is not cheap by any means to implement. Consulting services alone from the parent company HolacracyOne range from $50,000 to $500,000 depending on how long it takes the company to achieve self-sufficiency (Greenfield, 2015). On top of it being incredibly difficult to implement, the cost alone would be enough to give companies pause when consider- ing holacracy. The amount needed to be spent to implement holacracy at a smaller company would be huge and it would be astronomical for a larger company like Boeing or Amazon. Lastly, holacracy has a steep learning curve (Russo, 2014). It is not just as simple as the old adage of plug and play. It takes work, often years of effort to make it successful. To be success- ful, every single employee has to buy into the change to make it work. That is not to say that if only a couple of employees do not like the change to holacracy that it cannot work. Rather that is to say that the majority of employees have to buy into the policy shift. Human nature does not allow for responsibility and authority up easily. It is going to take a completely humble leader to give up that absolute authority to make the shift to holacracy successful. If they do not or are not willing to, it will fail. Medium: Case Study Did Medium fail when it abandoned holacracy in 2016? Medium is an online publishing platform that was started by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams in 2012. At the onset Medium used holacracy as its system of governance but decided to move away from it in March of 2016.
- Fall '14
- Management, 2010s, holacracy. Holacracy