Do your meetings wear you out?

I was surfing the Internet and stumbled across a really interesting article and idea about a new way to run a meeting. 

In fact, there is apparently an entirely new way to organize your business that is intended to optimize productivity, quality and morale.  (loosely based on the Agile development process)

This new concept is called Holocracy – here’s a definition from  Holocracy.org:

Holacracy is a next step in the evolution of human
organization. It includes a set of interwoven models, principles, practices, and systems that enable
a fundamental transcendence of virtually all aspects of modern organizational dynamics.

Holacracy embraces everything we’ve learned
about organizations so far and at the same time represents a quantum leap to a higher order of organization, one capable of artfully navigating in a world of higher order complexity and increasing
uncertainty.

Whew…a fundamental transcendence!  That’s a mouthful.  That’s from the executive summary on the Holocracy site and it’s actually simple to understand compared to some of the details they describe behind the overall system.

So back to the original article that I found interesting:  cheaprevolution.com/the_cheap_revolution/2007/08/new-technique .  The approach recommended by the blog author Skip Shuda is an introductory technique focused on using the Holocracy Governance Meeting format.  Skip has used this process successfully in at least a couple of situations and is extremely positive on the whole thing.

He does a great job of explaining the new process and using an example to show why it works and what it could do for you.  Just by reading the approach, I can imagine, if facilitated properly, this would be an extremely powerful approach that could save a huge amount of time and energy…!

A couple of the key points that I can imagine being difficult:

  1. As Skip points out, the facilitator has to be empowered to control the meeting and capable of exercising that power.  Not always as easy as it sounds.
  2. Breaking the habit of cross-talk.  My experience in challenging meetings is that people have been trained to weigh in on every significant statement.  In order for this to work, that can’t happen outside of the controlled process.
  3. The power structure has to be open to group decisions.  The whole point of the process is that the autocratic, traditional executive approach of command and control by level doesn’t work efficiently.  However, for this process to work, it doesn’t matter that you’re the CFO of the company, the group can and will override your preferences as long as it’s workable and you need to live with solution the group agrees to.

As a scarred veteran of way too many corporate meetings that went on for hours and never resolved anything, I would be willing to try this in a heartbeat.  Nothing kills morale, productivity and general positive momentum like a really bad meeting. 

So how would this approach fly in your world? 

The folks at Holocracy clearly believe this is an evolutionary approach that will leave the old ways in the dust.  Everyone talks about and is aware of change, technology, marketplace competition, etc.  But there’s not too many organizations/companies/businesses that I’m aware of that are considering a fundamental change to their organizational approach.

If this is the first sample, perhaps they should be.

Weigh in and tell me what you think.

Shawn Kinkade – www.aspirekc.com

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