The failings-to-date of holacracy have to do with career growth, compensation, and capacity (in the sense of codification and deployment group knowledge). This is exciting news for learnings in prototyping decentralized flat governance models in groups. After the fact, it is quite obvious that career growth and compensation would need to be redefined in a holacratic model since they are still in the mode of the old structure. The needs behind these areas need to be elicited and addressed via other means. For example, the needs behind career growth could be learning, variety, and contribution, where previously career progression was a strategy for meeting these needs. Now, the needs are still there, but different strategies for meeting them in decentralized models need to be innovated, such as switching responsibilities with some frequency and the ability to learn about and contribute in new ways. Similarly with compensation; the underlying needs could be financial security, status, and being acknowledged, and now in holacractic models, these would need to be met differently. This would also be trued for the codification and deployment of new capacities emerging from the group operations.
Group Needs registered as Blockchain Smart Assets
One great benefit of blockchains is their potential agility in coordinating soft processes like ongoing group orchestration in a flat collaborative model. Blockchains can be a heightened level of holacratic operation that attends to the fundamental needs underlying group operations. Once elicited, registering group needs as blockchain-based smart assets can be a way of keeping the needs of the group alive on an ongoing basis. Participants could anonymously vote community token as to what group needs are being met/unmet and these addressed in the community meeting. Each group need, (like autonomy, collaboration, agreeing to the same rules, privacy, and creativity), could be registered as its own smart asset, with an address, thus community token could be anonymously voted to this address to indicate groups needs met/unmet.
Group needs as blockchain-based smart assets is an outgrowth of the Convergent Facilitation model for effective group operation. Convergent facilitation is a model for collaborative decision-making, a way to correct the paradigm of ‘no one makes a decision’ or ‘someone makes a decision for everyone else.’ The reason that convergent facilitation can an effective means of collaborative decision-making is both 1) quick and efficient use of everyone’s time in making initial decisions and 2) the quality of buy-in that keeps decisions sustainably alive in facilitating the group’s operations after the decision is made. This is because each person is encouraged and empowered to take stewardship and ownership of ‘our needs as a group.’ Instead of a begrudging compromise (‘it wasn’t really my decision’), this leads to a willingness to stretch to meet our group needs in empowerment because ‘it was my decision.’ Convergent facilitation helps us as a group to get into the highest mode of why we are here, to create something together that matters to all of us. It is a process based on principles that allows groups to make decisions together in cooperative manner, not win-lose, majority wins, or unwilling consensus.
One part of convergent facilitation is transparent decision-making. Probably not everyone wants to participate in every decision, but everyone might want to know what is going on. Thus, all decisions that need to be made can be listed, and community members can indicate their interest in leading, participating, and not hearing about different decisions (Figure 1). In this way, transparency, and trust in community decision-making are created. Everyone knows what is happening.