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The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair [Paperback]

Christina Baldwin , Ann Linnea , Margaret Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 12 2010 BK Business

All modern group processes that are open to collaboration or to flattening the hierarchy are based in some way on circle practices. As organizations of all kinds move increasingly toward shared and rotating leadership, they are calling on the circle model to form sustainable teams and adopt circle-driven group processes such as World Café, Open Space, and Art of Hosting. Meetings in the round have become the preferred tool for moving individual commitment into group action.

This book lays out the structure of circle conversation, based on the original work of the co-authors who have studied and standardized the essential elements that constitute circle practice. It takes readers through a circle visual (the Components of Circle) and presents both structure and story so that readers understand how these elements come into play and how they interrelate and interact.  It also embeds circle process experience in stories and examples drawing on the authors’ 15 years of experience as global thought leaders and originators of this form, and it presents detailed instructions and suggestions for getting started, setting goals, and solving conflicts.
 


Frequently Bought Together

The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair + Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture + Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.13


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Review

“A perfect travel guide for all who are committed to making the world a better place. The circle deserves to become an independent field of study, and this book gets that going. Read it.’
—Peter Block, author of Stewardship, Flawless Consulting, and Community



“This superb book, put into practice, can transform the way you work and live.”

—Parker J. Palmer, founder, Center for Courage & Renewal, and author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach

Book Description


This book lays out the structure of circle conversation, based on the original work of the co-authors who have studied and standardized the essential elements that constitute circle practice. It takes readers through a circle visual (the Components of Circle) and presents both structure and story so that readers understand how these elements come into play and how they interrelate and interact.  It also embeds circle process experience in stories and examples drawing on the authors’ 15 years of experience as global thought leaders and originators of this form, and it presents detailed instructions and suggestions for getting started, setting goals, and solving conflicts. Meetings in the round have become the preferred tool for moving individual commitment into group action.
 


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased for someone else, but when it arrived I so wanted to read it, so it will eventually wind its way back to me.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding addition to a leader's library April 4 2010
By P. J. Sampel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Baldwin and Linnea have created a masterpiece in detailing and explaining how to use "The Circle Way" as a means of collaborative decision-making, structure and process. Any business leader, HR professional, or individual working to bring diverse groups of people together to work collaboratively should have multiple copies of this book to use/refer to/give away. The Circle Way provides the reader with real-life examples and stories of how this deceptively simple, yet very successful process and structure works to bring people together to create and build healthy organizations and communities of all types. An outstanding choice for your own library.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Needs This Book!! March 11 2010
By Sarah N. MacDougall Ed.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Circle Way is an easy read, full of stories about how circle has transformed individual lives and organizational culture. There are many methods used to help people communicate more effectively. The circle process as beautifully described and documented in this book brings ancient knowledge back into today's world and provides the means to be more fully human with one another. As we search for ways to have meaningful conversations in all areas of life, using the invaluable and detailed information in this book can only enhance our efforts. I highly recommend this book to every human on the planet!!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading for All Change-Makers April 6 2010
By Marilyn J. Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Circle Way is a profound description of the components of creating circles that enable deep listening, and building respectful structures for resolution of problem areas in all communications....business and personal. The work that the authors have done over the past 20 years has clearly been distilled into the wisdom about caring for ourselves and our earth. All people interested in working to change any structure that is unproductive will welcome this information. If you are serious about loving the Earth and envisioning a healthier place to live, this book contains maps to achieve these visions. I highly recommend this book to professional and non professional alike. The stories offered within the book will touch a wide range of people and emotions. It is a great read and you will be armed with new tools for handling communication.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Circle: A Sound Process for Progress April 20 2010
By G. W. Guzzeau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of all the books in my burgeoning leadership & entrepreneurship library, The Circle Way stands out. This book is crisp and clear in its balanced presentation of theory and guidance for facilitating circle discussion. The use of anecdotes and examples from across fields and disciplines illuminates the power of circle and the soundness of this practice for leaders or practitioners seeking to energize and engage their respective colleagues/clients/peers. I especially like the description of the conversation between the authors and the Iraqi war veteran about the huddle in circle on the battlefield as something that does and can occur within and along side the chain of command...in any organization.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Most Ancient Social Process: The Circle Nov. 28 2010
By Story Circle Book Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is a simple methodology for meeting in groups so that every voice is heard and information and stories are shared in a conscious way. It's been around for thousands of years; the methodology is called the circle.

Christina Baldwin studied the structure of the circle and developed guidelines and principles that she outlined in her first book about the circle, Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture (Bantam books 1994, 1998). In this new book, there are many more stories about the people and organizations who have used the model of the circle for meeting. Baldwin and Ann Linnea, cofounders of PeerSpirit, Inc., an educational company that teaches circle practice, have travelled the world to sit in circle with people and show how this ancient form can be used in modern meetings. The two have been to the United States (they live on Whidbey Island), Canada, Europe, Southern Africa and, most recently, Australia and New Zealand.

A ring of chairs in a circle activates an archetype and, as the authors say, "People who have experienced circle often refer to this archetypal energy as the 'magic of circle' that occurs when the best (or sometimes the worst) comes out of us and we find ourselves capable of responding with a level of creativity, innovation, problem solving, and visioning that astound us."

I have experienced that "magic" in circles in various settings, following PeerSpirit guidelines, with writers, the mental health community, the women of a First Nations community, the gay community, seniors, and teenagers. The circle aids communication and builds community. I can't say enough about the value of the circle and the importance of the work of Baldwin and Linnea in sharing these tools through their books and their training programs.

The Circle Way describes the personal preparation required for a circle (especially if you are acting as host), the invitation to others, and the hosting. I've always called myself a circle facilitator (especially since being trained at a PeerSpirt circle practicum). The authors, though, use the term "host," which they say "is more integrated than that of a facilitator." They say a facilitator conducts a meeting by staying outside the process. "A host sits within the process." I've always sat inside the process as a facilitator of writing circles, answering the same questions I pose to others. Now I'll have to rethink the term!

Whatever the term used for the person guiding the circle, there are internal components of circle structure that are key to equal participation: having a centre (a candle or something to represent your focus); a start-point (such as a poem to shift from social time to more focused listening and speaking); circle agreements (which can be added to by the members of the circle); check-in (at which time each person can respond to a question); intention; three principles; and three practices.

All of these components, and many more, are described in detail in the book. If it all seems overwhelming at first, choose a couple of aspects to introduce at your next meeting. Begin with a poem or an inspirational reading. Pass a talking piece so each person has a chance to speak and be heard.

As the authors of the book say, "Circle gives us space to sit down in our not knowing, to hear each other out, and to hold on to the story while taking the next step forward."

by Mary Ann Moore
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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