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Startup life, Holacracy, Participative democracy, …

I’m quite interested in politics these days. Wow, never thought I would ever write that publicly so let me explain a bit and please use this as a disclaimer in case you are asked.

I have always been a dreamer. I dream about a world where people have a safe environment to prosper, create and enjoy their existence. I also have always been disabused with politicians because I strongly feel they don’t strive towards these goals where it’s the mandate given to them when we vote for them. I was quite confortable with my evaluation that politicians are dishonest, this is why they go for politics, and that nothing could be done to improve that situation.

And then my whole world changed because I became a politician… Ouch….

Actually it was not on purpose. I was driven in my job by the responsibility of the large team I was running and this responsibility came with the obligation of defending my vision and the team. So my initial intention when taking the positions that led me there was to make my ideas reality but it forced me to become a politician. That can’t be right, can it?

The worse part of all this is that I’m not good with politics or, for what it’s worth, management or administration. I’m actually not good at anything else than producing product and organisational visions and inspiring people so why should I suddenly need to be on the top of the pyramide to make them happen?

Some months back I saw a post from a friend on Facebook about Holacracy and I felt that this was the answer to my corporate political issue but also – potentially – to the general political issue I’m feeling. In a nutshell Holacracy is about how to build a flat organisation without managers where the people who know best the reality or the organisation run it’s functions. See more on the if you are interested.

I’m trying to apply this model in my new company. I like it, we need more experience to see if it works for everyone and delivers the results we all expect but, meantime, I started again thinking about why I dislike politics and I think it goes as this:

  • Political systems mean hierarchies and hierarchies mean concentration of power towards the top which makes it increasingly difficult for the individuals to not get perverted by power
  • Political systems mean outsourcing the societal responsibility of the bigger groupe to a smaller groupe that is supposedly responsible to fulfil it – responsibility cannot be outsourced, if you outsource it you lose it
  • Outsourcing the societal responsibility breaks the subtle balance that allows healthy communities to run. Most people are not “right wing egoists” or “left wing dreamers” but to get elected a politician needs to do marketing and marketing leads to the need of populism
  • We outsource the societal responsibility without any form of governance (try to get anonymised income statements out of your tax authorities and you will see why I say that) which increases the incentive for our governments not to be representative of our needs

So, can we build a world without management and a world without politics?


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