Imagine your company functioning like a very healthy human body—a complex system of interconnected systems and parts, all performing unique functions to the peak of their ability, communicating truthfully and constructively with each other, relying on each other with little doubt. All the basics are in perfect flow supporting the creative expression of a higher purpose and contributing to the betterment of the world.
This idea of a company as a living ecosystem is a reality.
How healthy is your organization? How self-aware? What’s its deepest purpose? Is it able to dynamically change direction in the face of new information, changing market conditions and economic realities? What’s its level of intrapersonal intelligence (how well does each part interact with each other) or interpersonal intelligence (how well does it communicate with other customers, suppliers, stakeholders and global economic and governance systems)?
You likely already have most pieces in place. You just need to refine the systems of communication and the culture of feedback.
As we at Circling Europe have been working with companies—from startups to the public sector and from schools to hospitals—we’ve been delighted to discover that these complicated questions can all be addressed through the simple tools of Circling and Surrendered Leadership.
By bringing in more presence, connection and aliveness into your working realities we sharpen feedback systems and cultivate cultures with more honesty and empathy. These tools will support and contribute to a healthy organizational system. Departments, teams and people will feel more connected and creativity and joy can flow more freely.
Every organization has its own qualities, strengths and challenges. So each engagement is custom-tailored to the needs, purpose, and value of the organization. Circling Europe can offer different solutions, you can think of:
You cannot not communicate. But you can improve your communication skills in a way that communication becomes more authentic, truthful and engaging. Even the difficult conversations can become meetings that enrich and create more powerful connections and that support growth and development in your organization.
What if the people in your organization speak what is most true to them and can communicate this powerfully and naturally? Circling helps by widening perspectives and increasing the ability to receive and stay open to others while nurturing a sense of deep personal and collective trust that is both relieving and generative. This kind of communicating supports a healthy organizational system.
We live in an ever shifting post-modern global landscape, whereas local and national borders used to allow companies to thrive in smaller environments, our undeniably interdependence on global political upheavals, economic, and even climate changes challenge us to gracefully meet with forces far beyond our control or be overrun by them. Organizations need to adapt to these changing currents and be flexible and resilient.
The latest developmental theories point out that we need people leading these organizations who themselves are in constant transformation; maintaining a strong and healthy autonomy while constantly being willing to open up beyond it, take in more data, listen to information that doesn’t fit it’s schema, that others would ignore or label as useless, and can find the pearls of wisdom and insight that were otherwise hidden.
This requires a new way of being; it’s not just a new “what” (although it includes that)—it’s a new “how” we approach life. We believe that Circling—and particularly Surrendered Leadership—can train this capacity. Our passion is not only challenging and supporting people to step into these higher capacities in themselves and amongst teams, but also building in systems and cultures of challenge and support so that people will step into a reality of constant transformation. Even after our working contracts are long over.
CE’s Jordan Myska Allen & John Thompson share stories of working within business to build more open, authentic cultures (35 minute interview here, itunes, and streaming below).
All of our work is informed and inspired by the latest breakthroughs in industrial and organizational psychology, developmental psychology, Organizational and Management theory, philosophy, and systems theory.
We also feel passionate about connecting to “what’s of ultimate concern…” allowing our hearts to integrate with our heads. Our work is equally inspired by meditation, mysticism, and contemplation. No one needs to follow any particular dogma, but all of your religious and spiritual intelligence and longings are welcomed and available to guide us.
The following books and articles will give you a greater taste of these influences.
Although each organization and network is unique, through Circling interventions we see a variety of common themes emerging. The following examples show how individuals and systems can foster more effective and loving working experiences by coming into a dynamic balance between forces that might seem to be opposed.
A dynamic balance between feminine (yin) and masculine (yang) qualities and actions will lead to a surprising flow (yuan) in processes and working together.
Many modern companies often value and reward intense focus on the goals and performance metrics (the masculine) to the exclusion of anything else.
This is a highly cultivated capacity which can lead to incredible market results, but is only one side of the coin.
Integrating relationship building, openness to direction changes, and embracing uncertainty (the feminine) can supercharge the outcomes even while making workplaces far more relaxed and whole-hearted.
(Some companies, especially in the non-profit and socially responsible sector, will overemphasize inclusion and need to re-embrace discernment and hierarchy to more fully embody their values)
Top-down decision making can be highly effective but relies heavily on one point of view and one point of failure. Consensus processes are wonderful for including the wholeness of human beings, but often come at the high price of slow decisions and a tyranny of the minority.
We found that advice processes can deepen autonomy by genuinely distributing authority to individuals, while also deepening communion by forcing decision makers to be in dialogue and listen to alternate points of view.
Circling and Surrendered Leadership train organizations to navigate this fine balance between autonomy and communion —leadership and surrender.
Too much structure and the company becomes rigid and brittle. Creativity and resilience to unforeseen events tend to get lost.
On the other hand, too little structure (chaos) can lead to directionless and disconnect within the organization—the company spins out of control.
Recognize interconnectivity and you can stand outside of this paradox—seeing the structure in chaos and the chaos in structure, choosing the most appropriate element for the moment and discarding it when it is no longer being called forth from the moment.
Tight rules work until one discovers a fundamental mistake in one of the rules, in which case the whole system fails.
Flow processes stagnate when energy runs out.
Network Intelligence allows solutions and innovations to emerge as well as eroding and eliminating that which no longer works. Building network intelligence is the natural outcome of Surrendered Leadership.
The term “Circling®” is a registered trademark. Circling Europe has a license from the International Circling Federation to use the term, in accordance with their guidelines, in relation to the training and facilitation we offer. The European Circling Approach is one of three schools licensed to offer Circling Certification. You can read about the unique distinctions between the three lineages, as well as the standards of service required of licensees, on the International Circling Federation website.