11 common roadblocks and easy resolutions common to implementing non-traditional management systems

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Roadblocks are inevitable in any implementation of a change, especially when you are changing your organization structure. As you will progress with changing your organization structure from Hierarchy to any No Hierarchy structure, you probably going to experience the barriers described below and you probably encounter other roadblocks that are not part of this list yet. I hope that the below roadblocks (learned from some mutation of Holacracy) and their resolutions will help you in your journey. If you find them valuable and you experienced any barriers not mentioned in this post, please send us your experience so we can augment this article for the benefit of others.

Roadblock: Get Board/company owner support

Resolution: Explain how the proposed change is going to resolve known business challenges today.

Roadblock: Most of the people are afraid of changes


  • Repetition of the reasons why we need to make a change or what are the challenges we need to deal with.
  • Invite all group members to find solutions that will address the challenges.
  • Present the chosen solution together with other proposed solutions (if any suggested). Discuss with the group pros/cons of each solution.
  • Include as many people as you can in the decision making. Make it radically transparent.
  • Include the existing management group in the process of adopting the proposed method to your company culture and other people for validation. You had to change all the HR/Management processes as they are now distributing among all group members. Work with current management on the needed adjustment.
  • Education, education, and education. Consider using professional help, games and 1/1 meetings.
  • Start with one group and increase implementation slowly.
  • Set up a process that enables anyone in the group to suggest a change in the new method at any time, and follow it.
  • Be an example of everything you are advocating.
  • Give people at least one year to adjust.

Roadblock: Keeping accountability


  • Define roles with a clear purpose, responsibilities, and assets they are managing. Make sure that each role has at least one people assigned and not more than two.
  • Define metrics for each group to measure progress or problems.
  • Define HR processes that enable group members to hold each other accountable.
  • Check accountability as part of the hiring process.
  • Execute HR processes when needed.

Roadblock: People prefer others to make decisions, or the old structure is running unofficially


  • Promote a culture of learning from mistakes, not blaming.
  • Stick to the culture and create real-life examples of people failing without any other consequences but learning.
  • Set clear expectation of what self-management means to a leader and group member.
  • Add self-management as a key element in feedbacks/reviews.
  • Change the feedback system to be immediate/real-time 360 reviews.

Roadblock: The old silos structure still rules


  • Change seating to break silos.
  • Make sure anyone assigned to different roles in different groups, so all associates are all part of one group.
  • Promote and educate on wholeness.
  • Change the organization structure to promote wholeness and not silos.

Roadblock: We need a leader, we don’t have one


  • Explain what the expectations from a leader in self-management environment as well as what the difference is between leader and manager.
  • Re-educate on the role of a group leader and the distribution of the management role among group members.
  • Make changes when a leader of a group is not demonstrating leadership or distributed management.

Roadblock: People want to change, but they are just complaining


  • Keep on reminding people that they can suggest any change in their groups and there is a process to adopt it. They can do it on their own.
  • During “sync meetings” help people to translate frustration into a proposed change.
  • Promote suggested changes that make a difference.

Roadblock: Too many roles


  • Create a role base review (help people to realize the number of roles and decrease roles by 40%)
  • Remove the assumption that compensation is based on the number of roles one is filling.

Roadblock: Too many meetings


  • Limit meetings after 13:00.
  • Use slack (or any other equivalent tool) to reduce the number of meetings significantly.
  • Promote ongoing validation of sub-groups.

Roadblock: People shy away from pushing other people that are not a fit for No Hierarchy out of the organization


  • Change HR processes to enable a small group to challenge people that are not following purpose, wholeness, and self-manage and separate them from the company if necessary.
  • Remove leads that weren’t able to remove members that are not a fit.

Roadblock: It’s all based on self-awareness and soft skills


  • Create a personal development group and roadmaps.
  • Create a pairing of associates to help each other with self-awareness.

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