Holacracy: one of our secret ingredients

Holacracy: the secret of our success

We like to do things a bit differently here at GrantTree. As well as our open culture and our commitment to fairness, we also follow an unusual management structure. It’s called Holacracy. Here’s how it works.

What is Holacracy?

Holacracy is an alternative management structure founded by Brian Robertson. It attempts to find a ‘third way’ of management between hierarchical management structures and flat management structures. Robertson describes holacracy as a way to ‘empower people to make meaningful decisions in pursuit of your organisation’s purpose’.

Robertson initially worked for a company called Ternary Software who were known for experimenting with more democratic forms of management. Robertson distilled these ideas into a set of rules and left the company to form HolacracyOne, a management consultancy that teaches businesses how to implement holacracy. In 2012, Robertson wrote the Holacracy Constitution, formalising the movement’s rules.

Holacracy does away with job descriptions and replaces them with roles. Staff work in circles instead of hierarchies and are able to have a much or as little power as they feel comfortable with. Circles work on projects which they look after themselves, taking complete control of the task they have chosen.  

But what does this mean for GrantTree?

Getting the most out of holacracy is an ongoing process. It wasn’t easy at first. Most of us were used to traditional management structures and felt uneasy at first without a rigid structure to rely on. As operations director Andrew Ormerod puts it:

‘Holacracy feels slightly unnatural at first. But when I was willing to put up with this, and accept a different way of working, I really began to feel the benefit from it.’

At GrantTree we try to stay flexible in all areas of our work. We are always open to changing things is something isn’t working. For example, we recently separated two teams to work more effectively as different entities. In a company with a more traditional structure, such a reorganisation could take months of meetings as it was pushed further and further up the chain for approval. Our fluid structure allowed us to implement this change quickly and easily.

Our staff are able to transition smoothly between roles depending on where they feel they can be of most use. Everyone works to their own abilities rather than being saddled with a job description that may or may not suit them.

Our meetings are also unusual. Rather than setting an agenda in advance, we have ‘tactical meetings’ where we build the agenda as we go. We agree on a problem that needs to be solved and then the floor is given to anyone who wants to speak for as long as is needed to solve the problem.

How we can help you

Holacracy took a bit of getting used to but it has proved hugely successful. To quote Andrew again:

‘Holacracy is an incredibly powerful technology for organisations. It’s helped us bring an enormous amount of clarity to the way we work together. It’s poured rocket fuel in, and allowed us to be even more awesome.’

If you’d like some of that rocket fuel to energise your business too, get in touch with us and ask about R&D Tax Credits. These are available to any UK business dedicating time and money to innovation. The government wants you to take risks and R&D Tax Credits are its way of encouraging you to do so. The application process can seem daunting but that’s where we come in. We have experts on hand who can guide you through the process. We can even advance you 50% of the value of your claim within 48 hours.

Get in touch today and see what GrantTree can do for you.

If you are curious about R&D Tax Credits, Innovation Grants and Open Culture