Holacracy – the universal answer to the challenges of tomorrow´s working world – hype or myth?
With Gerhard Andrey of LIIP
As an answer to rapidly changing business environments and employee expectations in the last two decades, new models of organizational structures have been emerging. One of these models is Holacracy, a decentralized approach to governing and operating organizations that is celebrated by its advocates for its agility, effectiveness, and ability to adapt.
According to HolacracyOne, a company helping organizations implement this structure, Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest number of organizations using Holacracy. While interest in the model continues to grow, discussions have also started around its limitations and relation to concepts like authority, culture, and diversity.
My guest today is Gerhard Andrey, co-founder of the digital agency Liip, one of the earliest adopters of Holacracy in Switzerland.
In our conversation, we go deep into why their decision to shift from a hierarchical structure was made, what challenges they faced both on a personal level and as a company during the process, and what organizations should expect if they wish to start on a similar path.
Gerhard also shares how practicing Holacracy at Liip has created more equal opportunities for women, and how this structure can become a vehicle for diversity and personal flourishing at work.
There’s a new generation coming that will join companies and they’re going to challenge authorities, they’re going to challenge purpose, they’re going to challenge impact. […] And as a company, if you can’t offer purpose and contribution on an eye to eye level to young people that are talented, you’re going to have a hard time actually welcoming them because they’re going to just say, ’I don’t want to work in the past, I’m more interested in the current and the future.
What you will learn
- Traditional hierarchies in organizations weren’t created for the world we live in today. Even if you don’t adapt all aspects of Holacracy, assessing where structural change is necessary can help your organization stay relevant.
- The strict structures of Holacracy make it more difficult for personal relationships and biases to affect the decision-making process. This can lead to safer spaces for people with different identities.
- Holacracy can support diversity, but it can’t create it on its own. You still need the right mindset and organizational culture if you want to foster DE&I.
- Holacracy is not a quick fix for all your organizational problems. Examine your reasons for wanting to adapt it and make sure the top management is ready for the change of power dynamics.
- When hiring new talent, don’t just look at how someone fits a narrowly defined role. Take the whole human into account and consider all the ways they could contribute to the organization.
- Instead of changing the structure of the whole company all at once, start with one team or one set of approaches, then evolve from there.
- HolacracyOne – Open Source und eigentlich alles, was es braucht wenn man das ohne Hilfe anwenden will: https://www.holacracy.org/constitution/5
- Liip Blogpost: The 5 Most Common Questions I Hear About Self-Organization : https://www.liip.ch/de/blog/5-common-questions-hear-self-organization
- Liip culture: https://www.liip.ch/en/culture
Gerhard ANDREY , National Councillor GREENS & Entrepreneur
Gerhard Andrey (46) is a trained carpenter, wood engineer and postgraduate computer scientist. Gehrard Andrey is co-founder of the digital agency Liip, with over 200 employees in six locations in Switzerland. Among other things, he is a member of the board of directors at the Alternative Bank Switzerland. Since 2019, he has been a member of the National Council of the Green Party of Fribourg and is politically committed in particular to more sovereignty in the digital space and a sustainable finance sector.
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