Building Organizations

Pattern 4.1: Delegate Influence

Decentralize power to influence within defined constraints. Enable people to decide and act for themselves in response to organizational drivers.

The delegator supports people in delivering value by:

  • defining domains of accountability and autonomy clearly
  • ensuring ongoing learning and development
  • providing support as needed

Adjust constraints incrementally, considering capabilities, reliability and outcome.

Decentralize as much as possible, retain as much influence as necessary.

Pattern 4.2: Circle

A circle is an equivalent, semi-autonomous and self-governing group of people collaborating to respond to a driver.

A circle:

  • may be permanent or temporary
  • may be self-organizing
  • is accountable for its own development and its body of agreements

  • semi-autonomous

    • a circle acts within the constraints of their domain
    • each circle can create value autonomously
  • self-governing:
    • a circle continuously decides what to do to account for their domain, and sets constraints on how and when things will be done.

Pattern 4.3: Role

A role is a set of constraints for how an individual can account for a domain.

A role keeper (individual selected into a role) is autonomous to decide and act within these constraints.

  • people can be in more than one role
  • selection is by consent and for a limited term
  • the role keeper leads in creating strategy for how to account for the role’s domain, checking for objections with the parent circle
  • peers support one another to develop in the roles they fulfill

A role keeper may maintain a logbook and a governance backlog to evolve their approach towards delivering value.

Note: In S3, guidelines, processes or protocols created by individuals in roles are treated as agreements.

Role: one way to account for a domain

Pattern 4.4: Linking

Facilitate flow of information and influence between two groups.

A group selects one of its members to represent their interests in the governance decisions of another group.

Pattern 4.5: Double Linking

Facilitate two-way flow of information and influence between two groups.

Two interdependent circles (or teams) each select one of their members to represent their interests in the governance decisions of the other group.

  • creates equivalence between two groups
  • can be used to draw out valuable information in hierarchical structures

Pattern 4.6: Representative

Representatives (a.k.a. links):

  • stand for the interests of a circle (or team) in another circle
  • are selected for a limited term
  • participate as full members in the governance decisions of the circle they are delegated to, and can:
    • raise items for the agenda
    • participate in forming proposals
    • object to agreements and proposals (when there is reason to do so)

Read next: Bringing in S3


© 2017 by B. Bockelbrink, J. Priest and L. David Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0