10. Who, “We”?

This page is part of the Holacracy Habits series.

Last time, you learned why clarifying the word “we” is so important. “We” can't process tensions. “We” doesn't get much done.

Imagine, you're at a meeting. Someone says: “What are we going to do about this issue?” How do you respond?

Option 1: Jump on your chair. Point mockingly at the person and say: “Ha ha! You said ‘we’! Now, of course, you will be shunned.”Or...

Option 2: Simply ask non-judgmentally: “Who do you mean by 'we'?”

Maybe they already know which role is responsible. Maybe they need help figuring it out. The point of this habit isn't to banish the word “we” from the office. It’s often natural to use the word “we”. Especially when you're feeling a strong emotional connection with your team.

The habit is actually about helping each other, specifically, helping each other understand who is doing what. So, when someone says, “What do we think?” get curious.

Do they mean...“I want to gather thoughts and reactions from the group, so what do you all think?”


“I’m not sure who is responsible for making this decision, so please help me figure it out!”


“I secretly have an idea, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be popular.”

It's not clear what they want. So, ask. “Who do you mean by ‘ we’?—do you have a role in mind?”

If everyone gets into the habit of clarifying “we” then it gets less and less awkward.

Eventually, you won't even have to think about it.

Remember, “we” isn't a very good worker. “We” can't do anything by itself. You do things. I do things. If something needs to get done, clarify who needs to do it.