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The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair Paperback – Mar 12 2010
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“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
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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Instead of a facilitator, these authors suggest three rotating leadership roles: the host, the guardian, and the scribe. The guardian is like what we used to call "vibes watcher" or "keeper of the heart." This person rings the bell when she senses a pause is needed. The authors use talking pieces when appropriate. (We used a talking stick or a rock. They suggest a feather for some processes and tossing a Koosh ball to pick up the pace.) A thumbs vote is suggested for straw polls: thumbs up for "I'm in favor;" thumbs down for "I don't think this is the right way to go;" or thumbs sideways for "I still have a question." Three practices are recommended for verbal interaction: Attentive listening (we called it "listening from the heart"); Intentional Speaking (our phrase was "speak from the heart, saying as much as needed and no more than necessary"); and Attending to the Well-being of the Group.
The book underlines the importance of opening up to conflictual issues that often are swept under the table. These authors call those issues the "Shadow." In his work with groups, Arnold Mindell refers to the "Ghosts," while Block simply calls them "dissent." Each of these authors has different methods but all agree, as Baldwin and Linnea say: "The only way `out' is `through,'" and that collective healing can result.
This book offers further tools to transform the world, one small group at a time.
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