What is it like to practice Holacracy? 

Like sports, Holacracy is a practice. And people practice it. That experience is different for every individual.

Every context has a different vibe and dynamic. Holacracy has a different flavor for everybody. This is a collection of personal stories of people practicing it.

What’s your name?

Jos Govaart

What is your life purpose?

I want to be a good father, husband, friend, and colleague who makes the difference.

What is the name of the organization you work for?

Coopr Agency

The purpose of that organization is

We bring people and brands together.

Which roles do you energize?

Business Development, Strategy, People Coach and New Business

Tell something surprising about yourself

Coopr is my second company. A day after I turned 16, I co-founded the Internet agency ‘Netvlies’. I have been part of that for 5.5 years.

What is it like for you to practice Holacracy?

Honestly, it is a continuous search. As the owner of an agency, it is always difficult to determine when you should take the initiative yourself or when you should let others take the initiative and allow it. I think that in recent years we have been increasingly successful in reducing this gray area.

What is nice is that you can address people in their role and it is nice for you that you can quickly see what your most important roles are. I also try to adjust my time allocation accordingly. Certainly in our profession, it is tempting to be guided by all the impulses that come your way. If you work in a role-conscious way, you will probably spend more time on what is important for yourself and the purpose of the company.

Can you share a recent discovery or learning?

Yes, I think that when you practice Holacracy, you have to think very carefully and discuss what you mean when you talk about ‘self-organizing’. The image that sometimes pops up – and isn’t correct – is that you leave all subjects to everyone. In the beginning we did the same with some subjects.

You gradually discover that this is exactly something that makes people nervous and uncertain. This mainly concerns topics such as compensation, dismissal, contract extensions, etc.

Compared to a hierarchical organization, the big advantage now is that the process is more transparent and clearer for everyone. What we have also learned is that it is important that the former management has a voice in a certain number of decisions, not the only one. But the absence of that voice in, for example, a promotion was nevertheless experienced as a loss.

What’s driving about practicing Holacracy?

The transparency about roles and responsibilities. For newcomers, it is fairly quick to grasp which role does what.

What’s restraining about Holacracy?

To keep the system functioning it is necessary that you make sure you do some maintenance. That is important but not always what deserves the most urgent attention.

What is true for Holacracy, as with every organizational form, is that a system can be blamed for things that don’t work. I think that it is ultimately up to people to take action. Attention must be paid to that.

How do you explain ‘Holacracy’ at a party?

I use words like ‘mature behavior’,’clarity about roles ‘and, ‘responsibility’. I avoid terms such as ‘self-management’.

Thank you so much for sharing Jos!

Do you want to share your story too?
Send an email to paula@energized.org. We’d love to hear from you!