Governance Process

Objective of Governance

This process is being offered as a method to increase the processing speed and general awareness of governance-related hot topics as ETG continues to undertake its work in service of its Purpose. This methodology is simply an offering and is designed to be evolved, through the advice process, over time, as needed. What has been proposed has given consideration to multiple Teal-organization practices (e.g. Holacracy, Advice Process, etc.) that, patched together, are a best guess at aligning with ETG’s unique Teal-organization practice and culture.

Core Principles of Process

ETG’s processes are not a democracy or consensus-based, ETG members impart trust in Role-holders to be leaders and decision-makers in the Roles that they hold and trust the overall management system.

Governance hot topics and proposals are grounded in REAL DATA (real experiences that have occurred vs. visions/speculations of what “might” occur or “could be better” unless the anticipated risk is so significant that the whole organization is at risk.

ETG seeks to find solutions that won’t cause ETG substantial harm or move them backwards. This suggests that there will be missteps and mistakes and ETG will learn more, move faster, and hopefully be less vulnerable to groupthink as a way to be the most competitive organization in the industry

Each circle practices and expresses its own governance as that circle needs to given its current context (and within the constraints of available people, monetary resources and Circle Accountabilities).

Governance Items for Consideration

Key ways to sense and process governance-related hot topics are the following:

Creating a Role: A new Role with a new purpose and accountability-set needs to be created. See example in Part 2 below for “ingredients” of a Role.

Amending a Role: An amendment to an existing Role’s purpose and/or accountabilities needs additional clarification.

Destroying a Role: An existing role becomes obsolete and needs to be ended.

Creation of a (sub) Circle: A new Circle (i.e. a collection of Roles) is ready and needed to be created. The “ingredients” of a Circle are the same as that of Role.

Creation of an Operating Agreement: Circles or Roles may create Operating Agreements to grant or limit access to services, systems or other resources over which they have already been granted control by way of Circle Accountabilities. As well, an Operating Agreement can serve as clarifying shared behaviour across all roles in a Circle.

Amending an Operating Agreement: An existing Operating Agreement needs to be revised based on experience (i.e. data).

Governance Process: Generative Decision Making V2.1 (04.2019)

Should any ETG member anywhere in the organization be unclear of what Roles are accountable to undertake/energize work (e.g. projects or actions that fall underneath a Role’s Purpose and/or Accountability set), especially when the lack of clarity effects the noticer’s Role, it is up to them to raise the hot topic at a governance meeting OR advice process that aims to seek clarity. The following is a basic structure that can serve as a means by which to process hot topics related to governance: **below is based on a synchronous meeting of all circle members. If an asynchronous meeting is preferred, please consult the Org Clarifier and Visualizer Role in the Super Circle.

The following is a basic structure that can serve as a means by which to process hot topics related to governance:

Below is based on a synchronous meeting of all circle members. If an asynchronous meeting is preferred, please consult the Org Clarifier and Visualizer Role in the Super Circle.

1. Discuss “Ripeness” of Hot Topic

Is the time ripe for a decision? Is the context clear? Is there information or data that needs to be gathered? Could an open conversation help develop ripeness? An open conversation can be on a topic to help air the complexities underneath it. Eventually, it will be sensed that the time is right (or “ripe”) to create a proposal.

2. A Proposal is Offered

In this section the person making the proposal will state the clarification that they would like to propose and be as specific as possible.

"Given that new inquiries continually come to Team 3 by word of mouth, I propose that we create a “Business Development” (Role title) for Team 3 that has:"

  • Purpose of “Generating Abundance for ETG with Smaller Scale Clients”
  • Accountabilities of:
    • Proactively responding to RFPs for Team 3 (public and private)
    • Cold-calling new prospective clients
    • Attending relevant events that provide good opportunities to advance current leads and/or generate new leads
    • Maintaining a strong relationship with current and former clients
  • Optional with indicators of a role well-stewarded of:
    • New business in excess of $500,000 secured annually.

The proposer can also provide additional background/context for the proposal, their perspective on why they would like to make this change, why they think this proposal best suits their needs, or speaks to anything else they feel is noteworthy.

Each Governance proposal needs to include, at a minimum, a reference to potential cost, revenue and/or efficiency implications of the proposal.

Note that a proposal should, ideally, come from a real experience/opportunity sensed in one of the PROPOSER’S roles in the group. This proposal creates a new role that is not currently in existence at ET Group. Prior conversations with the Lead Link suggest that, if adopted, this role will likely result in the additional cost of hiring a new team member.

3. Clarifying Questions

Open conversation directed by a governance-meeting Facilitator, adhering to the following tenets:

  • Participants ask the Proposer questions to better understand the proposal. This is significantly different than offering suggestions and/or reactions to the proposal. Typically, a clarifying question seeks to understand data or facts (e.g. “what is a situation that led to the creation of this proposal?,” “to what extent has the proposal considered the impact to X role?,” etc.)

4. Reaction Round

In this section everybody in the meeting has a time to share their reactions to what is proposed. This could be feelings, suggestions, for improvement, etc. Anything goes. There will NOT be dialogue or discussion in this round, however, the Proposer is advised to listen deeply and take notes as they will have an opportunity to integrate the feedback of their colleagues in the next round. Should participants feel that the proposal would cause ETG harm or move it backwards (step 6), they should offer a suggestion for what could be amended to this proposal to reconcile that.

5. Proposal Amendments (or not)

The Proposer has an opportunity to amend the original proposal or not. The proposal, whether amended or not, will be made clear before moving to the next step. There is also no dialogue or discussion in this round.

6. Objection & Integration Round(s)

Integration occurs when another person in the group senses that they have a perspective that needs to be integrated, and that not integrating their perspective would cause the organization harm or move it backwards.

The governance meeting facilitator will start this section by asking each person to indicate if this proposal is “safe enough to try” (thumbs up) or “would cause us harm or move us backwards” (thumbs down). If any participant is really torn, then they can indicate “thumbs medium/middle.”

The facilitator will ask those with a thumbs down and thumbs medium to state their perspective on why the proposal is not safe enough to try.

The facilitator may accept the petition for integration or ask the petitioner to provide justification. Justification requires the petitioner to show impact by the proposal in two specific areas:

  • Does the proposal impact the PETITIONER’S role?
  • Does the proposal have a perceived impact that would cause SUBSTANTIAL harm to ETG such that it could not reasonably adapt? Will this cause IRREPARABLE harm and/or MOVE ETG BACKWARDS?
    • Or, is this proposal safe enough to try knowing we can revisit it at any time?


Note: A proposal shouldn’t be blocked just because it isn’t ‘liked,’ or because others think they have a better idea. Again, the litmus test here is “is this proposal safe enough to try” (seeking trust and emphasizing meaningful action over perfection) which is different than “does everybody like this” (seeking consensus and, in turn, compromise) If the petitioner cannot provide reasonable answers to these questions, the petition could be deemed as not *not valid* and the facilitator moves on to other items that require integration.

If the petition is valid, the proposer and petitioner will work together to try to find a proposal that integrates the perspectives of the petition AND the original proposal (note: advice from other Circle members can be solicited, if desired). It’s the duty of the petitioner to initiate this process and propose a solution.

If all attempts to integrate fail (at the discretion of the Facilitator in light of time, emotional hostility, etc.), the proposer and the petitioner will engage in a conflict resolution process outside of the current governance meeting, the process of which is determined by the ETG Way (example process is below). If integration remains unagreeable, the proposal won’t be allowed to pass.

Once an integrated proposal has been found, the facilitator will move on to other integration items and repeat this process until no perspectives to be integrated remain.

7. Confirmation Round (or Surfacing Additional Integrations)

All participants will review the updated proposal and, again, signal “thumbs up,” “thumbs down” or “thumbs middle” to indicate that the proposal is safe enough try (or not). Should there still be “thumbs down” and/or “thumbs medium” then the Facilitator will circle back to step 6 and repeat Step 7 until all are “thumbs up.” At this time the proposal is adopted.

8. Proposal Accepted & ETG’s Governance Updated

After a proposal is adopted, a representative from the Circle will update Sobol to reflect the accepted change. At this point, it is up to all ETG members to practice the updated governance and be prepared to seek further clarity in the future, when and if needed.

9. Option of Tracking Decision Impact

At the end of the GDM process, the facilitator asks the group if anyone would like to proactively request a review of the decision in 3, 6 or 9 months. If a request is made, the facilitator is responsible for ensuring a review is scheduled as part of a future Governance meeting or other meeting format.