This agreement was last updated in September 2021, after having run the following experiment.
Context & Intention of this Agreement
The intention of our People Agreement is to make explicit the differing levels of involvement, commitment and power that people can have with respect to Greaterthan (GT) and articulate how people can move between those levels. Since it’s first version, this agreement has gone through various significant iterations, which will likely continue as the organization and its members develop.
This agreement has been designed to recognize and accommodate for different types and levels of involvement, contribution and commitment. It aims to enable people to scale their involvement and commitment up and down in a dynamic, organic way, to adapt to different professional priorities and life phases. The intention behind this is for GT to be an organisation that people align themselves with for the long term - evolving their relationship with it over time as both they and GT change.
Levels of involvement
There are three explicit levels of involvement in GT: “Partners”, “Associates” and “Ecosystem”. An explicit commitment to Greaterthan as a whole (outside individual projects) takes place when stepping across the threshold from Ecosystem into “Membership”. Greaterthan Members, constituted of Associates and Partners, are collectively responsible for stewarding and developing Greaterthan. The Partners additionally hold the accountabilities of keeping our strategic focus and ensuring coherence between our activities and long-term vision.
To understand these levels better, let’s look at how each relates to Greaterthan:
Partners: ‘Greaterthan is my professional home, or, if this is not the case yet, I am actively working towards it.’ The majority of their work is in and through GT. Equal shareholders in GTs UK "mother" company, Greaterthan Collective Ltd (1 share per person).
Associates: ‘Greaterthan is one of the places for my professional activity, or, if this is not the case yet, this is something I am actively working towards.’
Ecosystem: ‘Greaterthan is a professional network I am part of (and potentially want to get more involved in)’. In many cases, GT members are already doing a project with potential ecosystem members, or are interested in doing work together in the future.
None of these levels have a nominal limit to how many people can be in them -- but to ensure our system is healthy, it’s important that they maintain a certain proportionality. In comparison to the other levels, the ways in which someone shows up as an associate are the broadest, an ambiguity which we are embracing and looking to navigate by making everyone’s specific commitments explicit (see below).
Rights & Responsibilities
Ecosystem: no specific rights or obligations other than to adhere to our values & show good conduct. This is a springboard for involvement in projects, new initiatives, etc.
Members (Associates + Partners)
Invite in new people (to the ecosystem and as associates)
Priority on paid GT projects
Use the GT brand and entity for billing work
Represent GT publicly
Access to the GT knowledge commons & communication channels
Participate in org wide, strategic decision-making (in addition to projects, see decision-making agreement)
Access to professional/personal development support initiatives (e.g. personal dev bucket for trainings & retreats) - covering 25% of costs.
Minimum participation and consent needed from partners on significant decisions (details, see decisions agreement)
Access to professional/personal development support initiatives (e.g. personal dev bucket for trainings & retreats) - covering 50% of costs.
Access to long term financial benefits, which we intend to develop (e.g. partners savings pool).
Attend quarterly all-members meetings
Create and keep updated a ‘commitment statement’, shared with other members, that makes explicit how you currently intend to contribute to Greaterthan (more info below).
Participate in an accountability process, to check in on those commitments regularly and be held to account. The current proposed experiment is accountability triads.
Join an annual “opt-in” ritual, where changes in the system are acknowledged (or if attendance is not possible, share an update with the group)
Run all your work that is related to GT’s areas of focus (as defined on our website), through GT.
Attend regular partners meetings
Participate in ‘significant decisions’
Commitment Statement | Details
Here are examples of what types of contributions the commitment statement can refer to, which are important for developing and maintaining GT as a thriving business:
Bringing in projects (leads, sales)
Developing new GT products and services
Working on the organization, for example participation in heart beat teams, care work
Building thought leadership and recognition of GT
Current experiment is of Accountability Triads | Details (running from Sept 2021 - March 2022)
Groups of 3
Meet at least every 6 weeks (can be more if desired)
Reflect, review and update accountability statements
Optional, but encouraged: can also be used as a peer support or personal/professional development triad, to help check in on how everyone is doing and make sure key needs are not falling through the cracks.
Joining & Leaving Greaterthan
Can be independently invited by any member
Invite follows the advice process, with a small extra:
Posting in the slack channel ‘inviting-ecosystem’, where members post the name of the person they want to invite in with a 3 day ‘advise process’ so that anyone with concerns can get in touch. They also need to @mention anyone they think/know also knows the new invite.
If a person feels unsure whether it’s ok or not to invite someone, they can put up an optional temperature check on loomio.
The person who invites them in has the responsibility to 1) welcome them on slack and inform GT members they have joined 2) onboard them
Invited by associates and partners, OR through proactive request by ecosystem member
Agreed by consensus of GT members on loomio.
Invited by any partner OR through proactive request by associate
Agreed by consensus of Partners and with advice from Associates.
Partners have been an associate for at least 1 year.
Ecosystem members can choose to leave at any time, by informing the person who invited them, or any other GT member. The member who is informed is responsible for the offboarding. We hold an ecosystem opt-in once a year to check that each person still wants to stay on slack.
Associates can opt out any time, but it is considered adequate to give at least 3 months notice. Every September, there is also an “opt-in” ritual, as a natural opportunity for members to change their role in GT.
If they are working on an ongoing project, it is considered adequate to give due notice of the intention to leave
Partners can resign or change their status to member at any time, (but if the circumstances allow) it is considered adequate to give notice of at least 3 months.
When a partners leaves, a closing meeting is held in person with at least 75% of all partners, to:
hold a dialog and reflection circle about their time at Greaterthan
discuss and agree on fair terms of leaving that take into account personal investments made in the business. Such terms could be: allowing the person to participate in decision-making on how annual surplus is spent for a set amount of years; a capped return on future surplus generated, etc.
This meeting is to be held as early as possible, but latest within one year after the person’s intention to leave has been expressed
After this meeting has taken place, that person’s shares are sold back to Greaterthan for £0.01 per share
General principle for all roles
Any member can call an emergency meeting pursuant to unacceptable behavior of an ecosystem member, associate or partner which may lead to their removal.
Minimum Viable Board
Compliance and legal responsibility is held by a “Minimum Viable Board”, composed of two partners and (optionally) one external person or associate.
The MVB will:
ensure that Greaterthan Collective Ltd is fully compliant with United Kingdom laws and regulations, and its company constitution
maintain an overview of current finances, long term financial view, and adequate reserves
Any associate or partner can can initiate a conversation at any time to discuss directorship with the members, and may nominate a director (including themselves). The final decision about directorship is made by partners.