Rotterdam company starts with Holacracy
Orga manufactures helideck lighting, obstruction marking for wind turbines, aids to navigation and remote power supply systems. Operating from eight different countries, its team of 175 employees develops high-quality and technologically advanced products for the protection of people, assets and the environment. Patricia Voorwald-Snijder has worked at Orga for thirty years, honing her skills as the organisation developed, and now plays an active role in the implementation of Holacracy. Step by step, over a period of eleven months, the organisation learnt to operate in accordance with this governance model, an intense process that was at first uncomfortable for everyone.
“During our first meeting we thought ‘surely this can’t be more efficient?’ The tight format took some getting used to. But when you then get exactly what you need, meeting after meeting, and you also know what to expect from each person, you begin to realise that it’s working out well. Speaking from different roles brought us a reassuring clarity. The fact that Holacracy was introduced step-by-step was also highly beneficial. We had heard that a big bang was needed, and we dreaded this. By learning in stages, it became perfectly manageable.”
Jasper Rienstra and Nick Osborne have been coaches to Orga in their modular adoption of Holacracy. Through a series of readiness surveys they first explored which sections of Orga are ready to start with Holacracy.
The adoption process is then divided into three-month periods, in each of which a new segment of Holacracy is introduced. In the first three-month period, the emphasis is on role-clarity and on forming circles, while tracking and processing tensions. The structure of the tactical meeting is dealt with later, in the fourth month. The services offered by the Holacracy coaches consists of:
- Self-organisation adoption
- direct coaching of the internal Self-Organisation Coach of each circle
- a monthly workshop for each circle
- facilitation of Holacracy meetings
- progress monitoring
- dynamic steering of the self-organisation adoption planning for each circle
- open Q&As
- Professional development of the employees
- online training for core roles
- online training for new Holacracy articles and habits
- internal Holacracy Practitioner Training
- powershift coaching
- workshops where needed
Jasper and Nick also share the Holacracy Roadmap, charting the ups-and-downs that are to be expected during the adoption process. – Holacracy Roadmap
As an organisation, Orga is now better equipped to adapt to developments in the market. Its employees have become more autonomous and the corporate culture more open, with increasing space for each person’s professionalism and talent.
“There has been a real powershift. Employees now have authority, we have shifted from being managers to being coaches. It was challenging to let go of our old patterns, as we’d been working with a close-knit team for years, accustomed to making decisions on the basis of consensus. Without external coaches we would never have managed the change. Despite all this new knowledge and the workshops, there are plenty of moments when you think: ‘How should I approach this? I’ve been given many new tools, but which one do I apply?’ We took our time finding external coaches, and our collaboration with Jasper and Nick worked out very well. They helped us to practice, step by step.”
Not everyone within Orga already speaks the Holacracy language, since the adoption began with a small group. Patricia is herself active as a coach, organising internal Q&A sessions in order to change this, and steps are now in place to involve all 175 employees. As a result of corona, the adoption took place mainly online, but this turned out to be an advantage. Employees in Malesia are now also participating in the workshops and tribe space sessions.
Holacracy was also immediately applied for the purchase of the IP (design rights and intellectual property rights) of an American company. A new role, Integration, researched the possibilities. What does the knowledge we now have enable us to do? By now, Orga is producing aids to navigation from Houston, using local resources and people. The new role will be deleted when the integration has been completed.
Meanwhile the clients have not been affected by the adoption process and the many internal changes at Orga. Patricia feels they have in fact benefited directly from the greater internal clarity and calm, which has further enhanced the company’s focus on quality and relationships.