Holacracy Tactical Meeting Phrase Book

The practice of self-organization is improved or weakened according to how we talk to each other. These phrases are helpful for elected facilitators and secretaries, but really any circle member who wants to improve their circle’s Holacracy practice can use them.

When you want to bring attention to the role structure:

  • Who has the authority to make that decision? (And if you don’t know, how would you find out?)
  • Who has already agreed to tackle issues like this?

When someone “just shares” information:

  • Great, so is this just an FYI, or are you making space for questions and reactions?
  • So, this is just FYI — you don’t care if anyone does anything with this information, correct? (i.e. there are no hidden requests for action).

When you want to clarify your need:

  • This is just a sharing information item — if you have questions or reactions bring your own agenda item.
  • I’d like to share information and make space for any thoughts or questions.

When the discussion feels overdone:

  • What next actions are needed here?
  • To agenda item owner: So, what do you need?

People are seeking consensus or buy-in:

  • What role can we expect to make a decision about this?
  • Do we need to clarify authorities in governance?
  • Remember, you have the full authority to take any action or make any decision to fulfill the purpose of your role…as long as you don’t violate a policy or domain.
  • Are you seeking information just to help you make your decision?

“Leaders” are referenced by name:

  • What role are you engaging here?
  • Are you referencing Karen because she has experience in this area, or did you mean one of her roles?

A broader or recurring pattern is at play:

  • Is this a pattern to address in governance?

Someone is trying to set a new expectation:

  • Is that something you’d like to expect on an ongoing basis?
  • If so, would you like an action to bring that to governance?

When you want to add something, but the item was just checked:

  • To agenda item owner: I have something to add, if you’re still making space?
  • To Secretary: Please add, “Quick” as an agenda item — Facilitator, will you process that item next?

When someone keeps talking after item has been checked:

  • As agenda item owner: OK thanks, but I’m good on my item.
  • Would you like to add your own agenda item?

When considering whether to accept a project or next action:

  • Does it make sense to me according to the purpose or accountabilities of this role to work toward that outcome?
  • If I had no other competing priorities, would it make sense for my role to do that?

When someone wields an implicit expectation:

  • Is that something you’d like to expect on an ongoing basis?

Former power holder (i.e. “manager”) directs you to do something:

  • What role of mine are you engaging?
  • Are you making an official prioritization as Lead Link, or just sharing an opinion?
  • Thanks, I’ll consider that option.

Someone asks you to help with something:

  • Are you asking one of my roles, or just me as a person?
  • I’ll help you this time, if you take an action to bring something to governance.
  • I don’t have any roles concerned with that — but you could ask…

You want to hear others’ opinions:

  • I’d like to poll the group, please raise your hand if you like Option A better?
  • I want to share an idea and I’d love to gather thoughts and reactions…
  • Emily — can I get your personal opinion on this?

You need to clarify an official decision:

  • Heads-up to any impacted roles; in my Pricing role I’ve decided to lower the price of…
  • I need an official decision in your role about…
  • As Website, do you have any plans for updating the website graphics?

You need to clarify an intent:

  • Hey everyone, I intend to change prices for services and I just wanted to make everyone aware. If you have a tension, bring an agenda item.
  • Are you just sharing an intent, or are you looking for approval?

You want permission for something:

  • You have the domain on sales presentations, may I impact it to adjust some content?
  • Remember, you have the full authority to take any action or make any decision to fulfill the purpose of your role…as long as you don’t violate a policy or domain.
  • [To the role with the authority to dispose of resources] May I spend $250/year on a Adobe subscription?

As former power holder (and current Lead Link):

You want a specific outcome:

  • Since your role is accountable for “Scheduling conferences,” I’d like to request a project like, “New technology conference is a wild success.”

You want someone to prioritize something:

  • As Lead Link, I want you to prioritize this project over any other work in this circle.

You just want to share an opinion:

  • I’d like to share an opinion, not from a role, but just from me as a person…
  • I trust your judgement on this, but I’d like to pitch you on changing the website layout because…

When someone wants your “blessing:”

  • I don’t have the authority to make that decision for you…if you want my opinion, I can share it, but it’s your decision to make.
  • What role of mine are you engaging here? Lead Link isn’t accountable for making those decisions.

You need to direct someone to do something:

  • Let’s make sure we get that sales report out…well, what I mean is…I’d like Kevin to prioritize the sales report project. And Kevin, can you give me a projection on when you think you’ll get it out?