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PeerSpirit Circling

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For More Information: PeerSpirit,

To focus on the power of communication to release the full potential of working groups. 
  • Wisdom is in the room 
  • Wise organizational decisions occur at all levels 

When to Use: 
When you want to create a collaborative field 

When Not to Use: 
When thought leaders are invested in hierarchy and are not willing to change to a collaborative culture 

Number of Participants: 
5–20 people/per circle: numerous circles may function simultaneously 

Types of Participants: 
Anyone willing to work in a nonhierarchal, collaborative process 

Typical Duration: 
  • Preparation: 3–4 hours 
  • Process: 1–2 hours to increase quality of communication, and 1–2 days to set the framework for initiating change 
  • Follow-up: As requested 

Brief Example:
A University Dean says: “We combined two departments and now everybody is playing lone ranger—protecting their own turf, or putting their friends forward for positions or funding. How do I get them to consider who’s best for the job or what’s best for the university?” PeerSpirit response: “We worked with a combined faculty committee to reframe the situation from loss to gain. In a series of facilitated dialogues, the committee began to see the merging of departments as a chance to develop a new departmental culture with the potential to become a leading-edge model for the university. They included graduate students who documented and qualified their successful change.” 

Historical Context:
Created in 1994 by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. Grounded in historical archetype of circle emerging from indigenous cultures throughout the world. Many indigenous scholars have helped circle emerge into modern consciousness: Willie Ermine, Eber Hampton, Fyre Jean Graveline, and Malidoma Patrice Somé represent a few ofthe many who have opened the way for circle.