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"My calendar is free from meetings"

"My calendar is free from meetings". This is what our community manager told me, shortly after we made a move to define roles for community committees and the board of directors, based on the Holacracy role definitions.

What's the connection you ask? For me the connection is clear.

The very process of defining the roles created significant clarity around these roles. We stopped to observe how each and every one of us understands each of the Committees' roles. The conversation itself helped us produce a common interpretation of these roles and how the work is spread out between us. Also, we understood what aspects of the work is not getting done today by anyone and to set the expectations there. Beyond that, the product of a clear role definition according to the Holocracy format, created a high level of clarity - between the community and the committees, between committees and within the committees themselves. Where there is clarity, it is easier to take responsibility, it is easier to move and fulfill the role.

So what are roles in Holocracy? Roles are one of the cornerstones of the holocratic way of working - the articulate the work which needs to be done and it is spread out in the organization. The idea is to stimulate and "energies" roles so that they are carried out with passion, a mandate for action and responsibility.

The Holocratic Role Definition looks like this:

Role Definition - Holacracy Constitution v5.0

A “Role” is an organizational construct that someone can fill and then energize on

behalf of the Organization. A Role definition consists of a descriptive name and one or

more of the following:

● (a) a “Purpose” , which is a capacity, potential, or goal that the Role will pursue or


● (b) one or more “Domains” , which are assets, processes, or other things the Role

may exclusively control and regulate as its property, for its purpose.

● (c) one or more “Accountabilities” , which are ongoing activities the Role will

manage and enact in service of other Roles or to support its Purpose.

A Role may also hold “Policies” , which are grants or constraints of authority, or special

rules that apply to operations within that Role.

What we did is ask each committee to sit down and build for itself a role definition according to the structure we mentioned. After that, we initiated a meeting for the whole community, where each committee presented its role definition to the people who came to visit its table and collected feedback.

Finally we talked about the insights that came out of the conversations that took place.

Here are some examples of concrete results we got.

For example, the Gardening Committee defined its purpose like this: 1. Cultivating gardening with the help of the community and cultivating the community with the help of gardening (gardening that strives to integrate into the surrounding nature, and preserve the values of environmentalism).

2. The Cultural Committee defined its own -To act to realize a diverse, active and vibrant cultural life in the community, in partnership with the community.

The purpose is an inspiring goal we want to achieve, it is the compass that directs the activity of the entire committee.

Assets or areas of responsibility are actual things that the position supervises and manages, for example - the committee's budget, or the shared drive that holds all the relevant information. Clarity about assets is important, it guarantees that the asset will not be used without consulting with the role who's managing the assest.

And the ongoing commitments define the actual work, in operative language, that we do in order to fulfill the role in the best way.

We did the job definition for Kibbutz Yachad Board of Directors in a similar way:

In the first step, the board defined the role as it understood it, and then shared it with the community. The community sent additions, clarifications, concerns, all of which were documented in one neat document and all of which were addressed.

We completed the approval of the board's role definition, through the process of CDM - the decision-making process by Sociocracy Consent Decision Making (CDM).

Holacracy roles look similar but are are very different from regular job descriptions. Roles are meant to be pieces of the work that needs to get done, so that each person can take up a few roles (sometimes from the same area and sometimes interdisciplinary) based on skills and desire. Also the define the actual work that needs to be done by each roles which creates clarity.

Personally, I can testify that the role definitions of the Board and the various committees I am a member of, supports me a lot. It helps me to remember where my mandate begins and ends and where the mandates that others currently administer begin and end - and actually supports me a lot in terms of decentralizing power and authority in the community. It also allows us to understand better what works and what doesn't, where there are tensions and gaps.

Recently we started implementing this form of roles in HaTribuna as well. We are already feeling a significant impact and it will take a little more time, but we will be able to report later how it works for us in Tribuna.

* The original article was written for the February 2023 newsletter of the Tribune for Participatory Leadership, and also appears here: The theme photo was taken by Tal Baderek, from the tribune.


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