With Tensions, one can share sentiment, propose improvements and make better decisions on every team, role and goal.
Frustrations, challenges and ideas are flying around in your organization and in your roles everyday. How we feel is an incredible signal for positive change. When opportunity emerges, Holaspirit people can easily share their “tension” and engage the right people to make a great decision together. They can either discuss it during the circle's meeting or seamlessly submit their proposals.
In Holacracy-speak, a “tension” is a gap between the current reality and the potential you sense for one of your roles. Basically, a tension is an opportunity to improve, a feeling that something could be different. For example, maybe we need a new Role for something; maybe you would like to improve a current process..
When you sense a tension in one of your roles, it is your responsibility to “process” it. It means that it’s your job to raise the concern with the appropriate people and to offer solutions. Use the Tensions module as a list of ideas, improvements and proposals for your roles and organization.
Let’s say you need something as part of your work, like, you need to get an NDA signed. You look around in your organization chart, and you don’t find any role that is responsible for signing NDAs. That means no one is responsible for signing a NDA on your company’s behalf. You don’t feel comfortable just signing it yourself, because it seems kind of official so you think there should be some sort of official recognition of the importance of this action in Holacracy. That’s a tension that can be easily solved by a governance proposal to create a role responsible for signing NDAs.
Every time you feel one of those tensions as part of a role, you should consider, and almost always carry out, making a proposal.
In Holaspirit, decision-making is highly distributed. Decisions do not need to be validated by the hierarchy nor by consensus of the community. Any person can make any decision after seeking advice from 1) everyone who will be meaningfully affected (circle members), and 2) people with expertise in the matter.
People in the organization can take new decisions when processing tension and submitting proposals. This can be done in the circle’s meeting or through a governance proposal outside of meetings when the organization is working with consent decision making process.
Some tensions are best resolved by taking action, others require changing the pattern or structure of how we work together (what we call governance), and others lead to adjustments in our broader strategic direction.
There are a number of steps people can take to suggest an improvement for the organization or a new project even:
React: Someone notices a problem or opportunity and takes the initiative, or alerts someone better placed to create a tension for that in Holaspirit
Discuss: The decision-maker may seek input to sound out perspectives before proposing an evolution.
Propose: The initiator makes a proposal and seeks advice from those affected or those with expertise. Taking this advice into account, the decision-maker decides on an action.
They are different pathways to process tensions:
During the circle’s meeting: tensions can be imported by the member or the secretary in the Agenda of the meeting. The tension and the proposal are tested according to the integrative decision making process (for Holacracy practitioners)
With a governance proposal outside of meetings: the initiator can submit their proposal to other circle members and ask for their consent. If no circle members have objections, the proposal will be validated in the organization (available only when consent mode is on)
Best practices tips ⭐: Write down all your tensions. Be aware of what you sense during the day and record your ideas and opportunities in your Tension list. Working with Tensions is an innovative and efficient way of organizing. It changes the structure of your organization, the way in which you make decisions and the distribution of authority. It provides you with the opportunity and the tools to really use every tension as fuel.
Tension statuses: a tension has its own life cycle in Holaspirit and different status throughout its life.
Draft: this is a private tension. It is not visible by the secretary during a meeting. Only the member who created the tension can import it during the meeting.
Ready: the tension is ready to be submitted or imported in the meeting. All tensions are saved as Ready by default. Note that if you link the tension to a meeting template, you’ll only be able to open it in the corresponding meeting.
Invalid: when the tension has an evolution that is impossible to deal with (if the role you want to edit does not exist anymore), it is considered invalid.
In progress: the tension has been submitted as a proposal to the circle's members. They can add their objections to the proposal. The tension's owner can follow the process in the view "My Proposals", see how many members have voted and the number of days remaining before the proposal is validated. They can also revoke the proposal and stop the validation process.
Rejected: tension was objected by a circle member in the validation process or rejected in a meeting. It gets back to the owner's list who can edit the tension and submit it again.
Holaspirit is open by default for frictionless change, but a change log is captured on every single item to sustain accountability.
When a proposal is validated, one can find what has changed and who initiated the change in the Activity tab of the circle or the role.
Change happens fast in an agile organization. Holaspirit notifications ensure accountable parties are kept informed and send notification whenever a change applies.