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The Evolving Roles of Leaders and Revisiting Holacracy

May 26, 2022

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

The Evolving Roles of Leaders and Revisiting Holacracy

The Evolving Roles of Leaders and Revisiting Holacracy

Pascal Dulex, Culture Coach and Creative Director at Freitag in Switzerland, has been one of the people instrumental in implementing holacracy—a “self-management practice for organizations”—within the company. Pascal discusses the essence of leadership, provides insights about the role of managers, and explains how work processes were affected as the company prepared for and adopted holacracy. He also describes their ongoing internal discussions as he facilitates and supports continuing integration.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[03:19] Pascal’s core connections to the field of creativity.

[04:50] Pascal is less enamored with the traditional communications career.

[06:55] Stumbling upon a job description at Freitag that was different.

[08:28] Pascal finds one of the founder brothers very authentic when interviewed.

[10:54] The company is navigating a turbulent period when he joins.

[12:39] Pascal changes from communications to become Head of Innovation.

[13:37] A fundamental shift in the leadership role to becoming an enabler.

[14:48] The close link between product development and communications at Freitag.

[16:43] Working with “circle materials”.

[18:27] Over extension was a key trigger leading to holacracy’s implementation.

[19:15] The second trigger was reassessing leadership and decision-making.

[19:56] How hierarchy and conflict between departments was undermining outputs.

[21:29] The first step in the process was to “kill the management”!

[22:03] Organizing like a city at first—as senior leadership needed to make space for others.

[22:49] They develop a vision of their ideal organization.

[24:00] Discovering holacracy and getting expert help to explain it and support execution.

[25:55] How is leadership linked to hierarchy?

[27:07] Initial efforts were focused on understanding exactly what managers “do”.

[29:30] “Organizing away” managers’ roles.

[31:20] Clarifying roles and updating processes.

[33:13] Self-organizing companies need to communicate more.

[33:50] Decision-making driven by responsibility not consensus.

[35:27] Holacracy allows for continuous improvement.

[37:52] How do they explain the organization and management system when recruiting?

[40:29] Are there really no job titles?

[43:04] What holacracy does not address that Freitag has to work on.

[44:46] What does leadership mean? How do I want to be led? How do I want to lead myself?

[47:35] The struggles of self-organization.

[50:06] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Trust is fundamental in every organization in the way you approach others. Starting with trust, people feel better because they realize you believe in them—and their positive intentions—and that’s a good starting point wherever you work.

QUOTES

“The first step we made was making space for others to unfold their potential that was by getting rid of management.”

“You should feel like investing your time for a purpose that you believe in.”

“It [holacracy] has a radically different way of approaching power or authority hierarchy.”

“Managing is a very unclear term, right? If I say I’m a manager, what does that mean?”

“One of the fundamental things in every organization is trust—the way you approach others.”

“I firmly believe that every person who shows up for work is actually here to do something good, to achieve something.”

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