The issue of subsidiarity relationship remains a major topic, and an obsession for all those interested in the issue of corporate regulation. Undoubtedly, piracy has led to a certain number of advances in this topic. It makes it possible to get out of “control” in the operational sphere but it does not make it possible, on its own, to eliminate all forms of domination.
Under these circumstances, how do we finally get rid of this dominance that deeply characterizes relationships between men? With Holacracy, we move from being ‘in control’ – of something or a team – to being ‘in service’ of power. Power is no longer attributed to people but to roles. In fact, there can be no power relationship between people. Everyone now has not “power” but “authority”. Everyone has the freedom to act and make a decision within the frame of reference that he has chosen and known to all. Nor is it a matter of sharing or distributing power, but rather of disabling it. Thus, we are moving from a hierarchical authority to a constitutional authority for everything related to operational work.
But there is always an ‘authority over’ which flows from the labor contract and which in fact gives rise to the subordination bond. Hence the need to explore the possibilities of liberation in the short term from what remains of this bond of dependence.
Dependency link: what are we talking about?
To define the bond of subordination, there is nothing simpler than using the definition given in the Labor Code: “Whatever type of employment contract it is, it is the bond by which the employer exercises his power over the employee: the power to issue orders, to control their execution and to punish for misperformance…”
Therefore, if you have employment contracts in your company, even if you choose to change the form and nature of your organization’s authority, the dependency link continues through this interface with the existing legal systems (legal status and employment contracts). If matters of legal status can be dealt with by hacking, this is different from an employment contract.
Labor law and overall structure
However the role is defined, the law still applies. However, the idea of a dependency relationship thus induced runs counter to the accountability of all. How do you account for a role knowing we have a line manager? How can we merge these two poles and make them coexist? How can a dependency bond be recognized by making it explicit while allowing the creation of enabling contexts for each?
Let’s face it, the first thing to avoid, which is nonetheless a great classic in most companies that have adopted Holacrys, is burying the topic… An explanation of this dependency relationship is thus an urgent necessity for anyone wishing to deal with this issue. . In short, it is a matter of making the hierarchy explicit in order to transcend it, so that a distinction can be made between hierarchical authority and constitutional authority and, above all, coexistence. By itself, things are simple. The dependency relationship must be explicit and restrictive. Thus, there is an employment contract between the employer and the employee. This means creating the Employer role to manage the employment contract over time. This is called the hierarchical or line manager. Hence the idea of naming them, distinguishing them, and keeping them as far away as possible from operational circles. The creation of roles, in addition to the protection mechanisms in the hacker constitution – implicit expectations have no weight – is a huge improvement.
In short, hollyaxes change the situation as they conform to the wage system, i.e. the labor contract. Progress became possible through the structural distinction between what is operational and related to business and what is related to the employment contract and thus human resources on the other hand. Thus, the dependency relationship is clarified and restricted. In such a way that the HR department covers personnel management for all relevant topics: recruitment, appraisal, expense reports, etc. As a result, the HR department is different from all other departments. The hierarchy thus made can be bypassed. Constitutional authority and hierarchical authority can now coexist.
the ideal solution
Of course, to advance your logic of disrupting the organization, the ideal solution would be to replace the employment contract with something else. However, can we really envision this in the short term?
The employment contract itself is like the application. An application created and designed to run the “operating system” designed by Fayol and Taylor at the beginning of the 20th century. An employment contract designed to ensure that employees obey management. An essential application for the hope of making hierarchical management work. A system designed to serve as an “operating system” which, if replaced by new technology, means the emergence of hitherto unpublished or even unimaginable new applications. This is exactly what happens to hackers that actually come with their own apps. To make it clear, we can say that hacking is to a hierarchical system what a smartphone is to a wired phone. Of course, for many today it is still difficult to imagine changing the “operating system” to abandon the working decade, but with the advent of a new model? In any case, this is our conviction. Holacracy can be thought of as this new managerial technique which brings this ‘upgrade’ to the power function within the organization. “Control” becomes de facto obsolete.
Likewise, new implementations have emerged with holacra: declaring a color rather than asking for permission; decision making process. Role definition including but not limited to source principles. In fact, the dependency relationship has already disappeared, as has the employment contract. In this respect the application of the labor contract with the dependency bond does not appear in the Holacris Constitution but must be dealt with deterministically. At least, so long as alternatives are not drawn up: the replacement of the employment contract with a formal obligation based on the constitution, for example, at least for the partners (the signatories of the constitution), the employment contract that can last for a period of time for others.
But for all of these companies that have yet to get rid of the business contract, how can we do better than what has been the case so far?
Once the human resources department is established with the line manager, we end up with the role of the company administrator as well. Her responsibility is to manage the employment contract in all its aspects: leave, increments, expense reports, etc. A big role if any, at least if we leave it as it is. The idea here is to bring as many hierarchical functions as possible through processes rather than through roles. Take, for example, expense reports. Instead of asking someone to control them, let’s ask everyone to get them into a program that’s transparent to everyone. Same for paid holidays or other. No need to rally people for this.
Likewise, sometimes it is necessary to reduce the “fear of the leader”. Let’s take the example of the punishment role assigned to a company administrator. As in this firm where employees, besides the agent, are elected and appointed to this same role. All are complemented by a clear process and rules, known to everyone in the organisation. In short, the leader’s authority is replaced by a clear process. As in this other company to manage salary increase envelopes. The operation replaces the truth of the prince.
The idea behind this burning vessel metaphor is that everyone should forget about hierarchical reactions. Like the warlord in ancient Greece who decided to burn his ships so that his troops would realize that there is no turning back, and that only the success of the campaign or battle is their way out. Therefore, the intention in the company is to ensure that everyone puts their energy at the service of the success of the change.
And this happens especially through simple things. As in this distribution company where there are no more parking spaces allocated to management. Where this is other than where salaries are completely transparent. A collection of things that come to erase the hierarchical gap that has been created in reality.
Hierarchical power, “control”, is legally maintained in two places: in the company’s legal systems (through company officials) and in the employment contract. In this context, the “hacking drive” through the anchor circle changes the form and exercise of power for all that is effective. It remains to manage the “authority”, the bond of subordination inherent in the employment contract. To move forward, it is necessary to make it clear, to confine it to a circle strictly devoted to relations with employees; to shift hierarchical powers from male hands to explicit processes; and finally helping men to forget and leave the hierarchical model by burning ships. Meanwhile, at last, a new contract in the working relationship, at least for all the constitutional partners.
We have just learned of the disappearance of Bernard Marie Chiquet and pay tribute to him with this latest post. Find here all his articles for Forbes.fr.