Circular and Linear Processes

Circular Process

  1. Establish human connection to self and others
    1. Respectful relations lead to authentic sharing.  The group cannot be successful without everyone bringing their opinion to the table.  They need to feel safe and appreciated to do that.  Every member needs to know that their respectful behaviour will create that environment.  Art and culture have the ability to unite a diverse group of people.  It is very important to begin a meeting by sharing food, dancing, expressing gratitude.
    2. Interdependence needs to be recognized for consensus to work.  It keeps people on their best behaviour.
  1. Belonging (vested interest in good of group).  A sense of belonging gives people a prospect beyond their self interest.  They will support things that are good for the group even if it does not maximize their personal benefit because they enjoy belonging to the group.
  1. Container
    1. Time has boundaries and within it we will take the time each needs (each has to be mindful of the needs of others)
    2. Describe the subject to be discussed to set the frame for discussion
  2. Begin with a circle, leading to the left (symbol of the heart) each has a moment to take what they feel about the subject and make it tangible (while also being respectful of need for all to have time). When not speaking each listens carefully to find points of overlap and ways to make it tangible (a resolution wording).
  3. Break and allow spontaneous exchanges where people try to find wording that captures all the significant interests. Include people who agree with you and people who are outliers (complex systems rely on pattern recognition – the wisdom of the group and outliers are often the most important).
  4. Regroup and offer tabling of a solution. If more than one table them both and then facilitator chooses one to start with. Open the floor for comments (how people feel not lobby efforts).
  5. Can break again or vote. Each person must say they agree or agree not to disagree OR they disagree. This transparency is fundamental to the functioning between meetings. People will function within the confines of the decision because they had every opportunity to be heard and do not disagree in the final moment. They can be held to it by the group and will be inclined to live by it in their autonomous decisions.
  6. Close with an expression of gratitude.



Linear Process

  1. The Leader defines the goal and focus of effort to maximize profit/productivity (taking into account the parameters of the environment, experience, trusted advisors).
  2. Leader establish the rules of engagement with buy in from the group (Robert’s Rules, job descriptions, organizational charts) – great value in a charismatic, persuasive leader.
  3. Identify potential obstacles and develop a strategy
  4. Develop an action plan with specific outcomes
  5. Define required skills, resources to do the job, specializations, time lines, costs estimates (break down into manageable bites).
  6. Establish consequences of failure and rewards for success (short and long term)
  7. Regular check ins to monitor progress, track measureable parameters to define progress
  8. Individuals work hard, fix mistakes, overcome obstacles, take stock and see rewards of taking on challenges and living to see another day (builds confidence)
  9. Close with sharing the profits and benefits of success

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