Don’t Try This At Home

Father and son shouting at each other through megaphoneHave you heard of Holacracy? It’s a business structure that’s pretty much the opposite of corporate America. Instead of having a top-down, hierarchical management structure, with managers who oversee teams of people, Holacracy distributes decision-making across self-organizing teams who do the right thing for the business.

I’ve been thinking about Holacracy for a few years now, ever since I visited Medium in San Francisco and heard their leaders talk about it. As someone who has spent decades working in the traditional business setting, I must admit that I don’t understand the details of how strategy is determined in a holacracy, predictable business results are achieved, or how people are hired, fired, etc. Yet, I appreciate its innovative approach. The top-down structure is far from perfect.

Since I’m always thinking about leadership through the lens of parenting (and vice versa), I’ve wondered what would Holacracy look like when applied to parenting. Could a family survive, or even thrive, by holding everyone accountable to form teams to get chores done? To take care of upholding family values? To create a healthy, nurturing environment for all?

Well, my question has been answered. Check out Everyone’s the Boss, a TIME article by Kristin van Ogtrop who writes about trying Holacracy with her family. The result? Chaos—and hilarity.

My advice? Don’t try this leadership technique at home.

© 2015 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.
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4 thoughts on “Don’t Try This At Home

  1. As long as we don’t take Kristin van Ogtrop’s article seriously, it’s a funny read. But please don’t take it seriously… What she claims trying 1) has nothing to do with Holacracy — she just merely said “nobody can tell anyone anything”, which is not Holacracy; see the article “Holacracy vs. Hierarchy vs. Flat Orgs”

    2) Even if she did apply Holacracy, it would be a mistake. Holacracy is NOT meant to be used with a family; it’s only for organizations. See “What is An Organization?”

    Best 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment, Olivier. Please understand that my blog is about the intersection of parenting and leadership, so I explore how to apply techniques from one area of our life to the other. It’s fun to have a humorous look at things every now and then, and I thought Kristin’s article did just that. I appreciate your links for anyone who wants to explore holacracy and organizational design in more detail. Thanks for including them.

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