Circles vs. Boardroom

I’ve been saying lately that circles can be usefully viewed as a complement to boardroom-style meetings. Consequently I’ve had several conversations that have helped me clarify my thinking on this topic.

Boardroom style meetings are driven by agendas and are oriented to making decisions that effectively support business processes. As such, they are generally not an appropriate venue for doing a lot of soul-searching. Businesses and organizations use retreats at which the “soul” element may have a chance to emerge. When done effectively, the soul can then inform business decisions.

But as we have seen in our society–driven as it is by boardroom concerns–the soul element is vastly underweighted in how decisions are made. We end up with an economy based on greed, unlimited license to degrade our environment, and production of masses of people who are viewed as expendable. It’s not working.

In contrast to boardroom approaches, circles invite the soul element to come forward. As the talking piece makes its rounds, the people in the circle tend to be increasingly personal in their sharing–to “speak from the heart.” Thus, the elements of emotion, spirituality, vision, and connectedness become very apparent.

In other words, circles bring forward exactly what we need for the times we are in.

The circle way is not an option. We must come into right relationship with all of our neighbors, including our animal, plan, and mineral neighbors, if we are to develop a sustainable culture.

I propose this: for every boardroom style meeting that we have, we will also have a meeting done in the circle way. My prediction is that this will help us find better balance in our work, our lives, and our relationships.


One Response

  1. A boardroom implies defined leaders. If the person with the most responsibility in a group wants to bring circle process into the decision making then there is great possibility for more fully developed holistic and deeply powerful decisions.

    We can do this with two separate gatherings. I also propose we practice and learn and share how to do it in one circle meeting, working with the existing distribution of responsibility. My idea of FUN. ross

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