13. Habit #4: Be a Ferrari

This page is part of the Holacracy Habits series.

Starting today, you have a new habit to practice: Be a Ferrari.

In conventional companies, managers treat people like old, beat up cars. They continually try to get them to go faster. In Holacracy, everyone is treated like a new, exotic car. And instead of a manager constantly breathing down your neck, you get miles and miles of open road... with some lines painted on to keep things flowing.

This habit is really about removing self-imposed limitations. It's about taking initiative and proactively responding to issues, without having to get everyone else’s buy-in. In most companies, there is an assumption that you can’t do anything unless you’re given explicit permission. Holacracy-powered companies have the opposite assumption: you can do anything unless it’s been explicitly forbidden. So, everything is oriented toward action. But not just random action. The habit isn't saying "just do whatever you want." Even a Ferrari can't ignore traffic lights without risking serious harm. The habit is about driving fast within the rules. If something has been explicitly forbidden by the constitution or your organization’s governance, you must respect those boundaries (and if they are really in your way, propose revisions to them).

So, quickly, here are a few examples of things you can't do:

• You can't buy a new computer without following the constitution’s guidance on spending.

• You can't change the company webpage if another role has a domain on it (without permission or a policy).

• You can't change one of your role's accountabilities without going to a governance meeting or using asynchronous governance.

Again, these are just basic examples.

With that said, you can do anything else that you determine would express the purpose of your roles, your circles, or the organization. If there is nothing explicitly forbidding it, then it's fair game.

So, try it out. Experiment. Use your judgment and make decisions. That's being a Ferrari. Trust that, if your decisions create tensions for others, they have pathways to resolve them. Driving fast in your lane doesn't prevent them from driving fast in theirs.