30. Pitch Your Ideas

This page is part of the Holacracy Habits series.

If you have an idea, don’t sit on it. Pitch it.

There's nothing wrong with using a little persuasion. A pitch is typically used to describe a sales presentation to a customer because when we can’t force someone’s agreement, we must use persuasion. This is relevant in Holacracy because each role-filler has autonomy to make decisions. This is especially true when it comes to practicing the habit of, "taking your tensions seriously", because noticing an opportunity to make something even better is just as much a tension as noticing something going wrong.

Remember you can always just share information. So, if you want to share something, anything, and it’s relevant to the roles in that circle, it’s fair game. The important thing is to be clear about the role structure even (and especially) when you’re not using it.

This is critically important for former managers and executives whose statements may be easily misunderstood as mandates. If that's you, don’t hold back from sharing your wisdom and experience and understand that you’ll have the additional burden of making it 100% clear that your opinions are just that.

For example, a former manager (now Circle Lead) might say something like, “I disagree. I think we should just stop service to them immediately. And, let me be clear here, this is just my opinion. I have 30 years experience with this, so it’s an educated opinion, but it’s not my decision to make. If you want a thought partner let me know. Happy to help.”

Of course, that’s an idealized version, but it’s got all of the important elements: Not holding back and not adding to potential confusion.

And on the other side, what should you do if the former-manager gives you a strong pitch?

Listen and consider it. It’s just an opinion. You could even subtly clarify, “Interesting point. I know you have a lot of experience here. How strong an opinion is this?”

Using phrases like this (or words like, “pitch”) is precisely how we support each other in clarifying when the role structure is or isn't being used. Now that everyone is truly a leader, we all need to get good at harvesting the ideas of others, but we can't do that unless we hear them.