During our last IT team meeting we presented the suggested groups and roles that we see as needed in order to reach our IT purpose. At the same meeting we also introduced the concept of Group Leads and Group Representatives.
I can write extensively about our groups and roles, but essentially they are set up to support our unique needs so to do so wouldn’t help for you to define and refine your own.
The following picture will give you a better understanding of the number of groups and roles (current team member names have been redacted):
The introduction of Lead and Representative roles proved to be the more challenging aspect of the meeting. Though we used Holacracy as a reference, we landed with a different definition of Lead and Representative. In our definition Lead has the accountabilities of nominating associates to roles, assigning roles to projects, defining group metrics, filling unassigned roles, removing obstacles and releasing associates from a role (within their group). Leads cannot tell someone how to do his or her work, nor can they dictate to a sub-group how it is supposed to operate. Leads cannot hire, fire, review or impact the compensation of an associate filling a role within a group – those daily processes are done differently and have been defined as well
Representatives have two main accountabilities. First they represent the group in different types of meetings which are taking place within the Super-Group. They also represent the Super-Group in sub-group meetings. In our implementation, Representatives are also responsible for running the Governance meetings where all group members can resolve tensions between roles by adding, changing or removing accountabilities, domains, roles and sub-groups. Representatives are also charged with resolving misunderstandings of the XOIT guide.
In our implementation Group Leads are nominated by the Super-Group Leads while Representatives are elected by all associates that fill roles within a group.
As we have already experienced with our current leadership team, this concept raised a lot of smiles as well as skepticism. It will take some time to get comfortable with the concept, but through practice I am confident that the team see and believe that it’s a better way to operate any group than how we are currently operating today.
After one gets the concept of self-management, they understand that this concept requires everyone to be a leader, which is different from today’s hierarchical world. A hierarchical structure works well with two major personality types: task oriented and relationship oriented people. Hierarchy enables task oriented people to take the lead which fits their task-oriented behavior and focus less on relationships. On the other hand, hierarchy enables relationship-oriented people to focus on what they like and skip tasks that they dislike. XOIT challenging because it requires people to adopt behaviors that they tend to leave to other personalities.