Collaboration and group cohesion are vital to any healthy enterprise. In collaborative environments, good ideas can come from everywhere. Today’s thoughtful leaders support interpersonal experiences that ensure clear speaking, open-minded listening, and well-grounded decision making. Reintroducing our most ancient social process, the circle, welcomes everyone to equal participation. Here, two international leaders of circle as a modern methodology offer a comprehensive guide to this foundational human interaction.
The Circle Way lays out the basics of circle conversation based on the authors’ nearly two decades of experience implementing circle practice in organizations. Through illustrative stories that show the circle in action and delve into its deepest aspects, Baldwin and Linnea provide detailed instructions for getting started, setting intention, and resolving conflicts. Their work illuminates the profound impact of circle on people who participate in it.
““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 “Practical and poetic, The Circle Way guides us to the heart of hosting conversations that make a difference. It is a terrific contribution to increasing conversational literacy for addressing today’s complex and challenging issues.” —Peggy Holman, coeditor and coauthor of The Change Handbook “In this beautifully written book, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea share the simple elegance of their PeerSpirit circle process and how it can be used in organizational and community settings with powerful impact. We have learned a great deal from the way of the circle as a call to remember our collective capacities to design and host catalytic conversations around the questions that most matter to our common future.” —Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, cofounders, The World Café “The Circle Way offers over twenty years of experience by the authors, who share how sitting in a circle allows for optimum self-governance, facilitates quality conversations that make a difference both personally and professionally, and encourages leaders to become more effective within their organizations and communities. Relevant, accessible, practical, and invaluable for all generations.” —Angeles Arrien, PhD, cultural anthropologist and author of The Second Half of Life “Christina and Ann take us through the anatomy of the circle process with poetic clarity and simplicity, demystifying elements of the circle process while, at the same time, showing us the indescribable mystery of what can happen in circle. The Circle Way is one of those rare books that can truly be called a transmission.” —Jack Zimmerman, coauthor of The Way of Council, Flesh and Spirit, and Elder, Ojai Foundation “We learn circle best by doing it and letting the circle teach us, letting it reveal itself as we embrace it. Or we can learn circle by immersing ourselves into the deep and profound stories that Christina and Ann recount for us. They lay the bones of circle and then weave colorful threads of countless stories that create the tapestry of our understanding.” —Pamela Austin Thompson, CEO, American Organization of Nurse Executives “The definitive work on circle process. Rich with stories and detailed instructions, this book will inspire hope and a vision of exciting possibilities in anyone who has ever wondered how to breathe life and love into unproductive or conflict-laden meetings.” —Roger Harrison, PhD, organization development consultant “Christina and Ann bring the magic and discipline of circle fully to life in The Circle Way. They have opened the door for circle to enter our boardrooms, corporate meetings, community gatherings, and living rooms. I can hear them cheering us on, ‘Now it’s your turn.’ I’ll gladly take the wisdom of The Circle Way with me. It’s like walking with Ann and Christina by my side.” —Teresa Posakony, Board Chair, The Berkana Institute, and practitioner, Art of Hosting “Christina and Ann present us with the gifts that working the circular way offers us at this time of great shifting in our world. Their writing is a piece of art in itself from two masters who through diligent practice have stayed the constant apprentices of this fine art. I am grateful for its clarity and practicality.” —Toke Paludan Møller, cofounder and CEO, InterChange; cofounder and practitioner in the Art of Hosting network: and designer of the Flow Game and the Warrior of the Heart dojo “I often wonder how the world would be if we remembered one thing: to practice meeting together in circle whenever we gather. This book is our ‘MapQuest’ back to authentic selves.” —Phil Cass, PhD, CEO, Columbus Medical Association and CMA Foundation “Somewhere along the way we humans forgot how to come together to have conversations that matter. Masterfully written, The Circle Way provides practical, nuanced insights on how to convene gatherings that foster clarity and inclusiveness. If you are a leader who values true collaboration, this is a book to read.” —Larry Dressler, author of Consensus Through Conversation and Standing in the Fire”