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Tactical Meetings 101

Surviving your first tactical meeting

What’s a Tactical Meeting?

Tactical meetings are one of two types of meetings within Holacracy (the other is governance meetings). Tactical meetings deal with the day-to-day work of that circle, while governance meetings deal with the structure, roles, and processes of a circle.

Tactical meetings are usually held weekly for each of the circles in which you hold a role, and the meetings are meant to quickly remove blockers of the work that needs to get done. Click on “My Roles” in Glassfrog to check which circles you are in.

What should you expect?

Here are some basic survival tips around the different phases of the meeting:

  • Check-in: Each person gets a bit of time to say how they’re doing. Feel free to provide any context to help people understand where you are coming from that day (maybe you had a particularly stressful morning, or an amazing weekend) or to get something off your chest to help you be more fully present.
  • Checklist, metrics, project updates: These provide some context for the circle. Feel free to ask brief questions or save them for later.
  • Agenda building: The facilitator will go around to room to gather “tensions.” If you don’t have any, just say “pass” whenever it gets to you, or say a brief phrase like “First day” or “bugs” as a placeholder for the issue you’d like to bring up.
  • Triaging issues: Tensions are processed one by one with the original tension-holder in mind, so a good facilitator will prevent rat-holing or derailing into other issues. Once a tension is resolved (whether or not an action is captured), the issue is crossed out, and the facilitator moves on to the next issue. At any time between tensions, you can ask the secretary to add more tensions to the agenda.
  • Closing round: Similar to the check-in round but at the end.

After the meeting

Congrats! You’ve made it through your first tactical meeting. It may have felt unnatural to have a facilitator and constraints, but you probably also noticed that the meeting was very efficient. A few more, and these meetings will feel completely natural.

You’ll probably have questions after the meeting about Holacracy or meeting-specific things. Feel free to bug your onboarding buddy or anyone else to get your questions answered.

For subsequent meetings, if you have tensions you’d like to bring but feel like you don’t know how to raise them in the structure of tactical meetings, also feel free to ask your onboarding buddy.

If you want more specifics about the different phases of a tactical meeting, here is the handout from HolacracyOne.



VP of Engineering at Range. Previously co-founder of Co Leadership, and engineering at @Medium, Pulse, and Google.

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Jean Hsu

VP of Engineering at Range. Previously co-founder of Co Leadership, and engineering at @Medium, Pulse, and Google.