decision circles
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 16:07:13 -0700 (MST)
Years ago, Rob Sandelin gave a very useful process workshop here at 
RoseWind. As a result, we added Discussion Circles (on issue-oriented 
matters, usually) and Sharing Circles (on feelings or personal matters, 
usually) to our repertory. Both have been useful, and discussion circles 
often happen a couple times a month. 

There was one other sort of circle, a Decision Circle. The idea was that 
there were decisions which were of interest only to a sub group and/or 
weren't big enough to need whole-group consensus. At the same time, they 
weren't clearly something that an individual or committee was empowered 
to do. The matter was to be posted and a time and place set for a 
Decision Circle. If you didn't show up for the circle, or convince some 
other attender to present your concern, you got to live with whatever was 
decided by those who did show up. At least that's my vague memory. Seems 
it could be a useful tool. 

If you have used this tool, what are your criteria? We have already 
decided that certain Really Big decision types are "class one": changing 
the governing documents, passing the annual budget, and such. But all 
others are "class two", meaning they go through process, but don't need a 
quorum present, and don't require ten days notice. Those are the 
decisions that need further winnowing here: which ones can be done by a 
Decision Circle? 

Defining eligible decisions.
Any minimum number who can effect such a decision? 
Can one circle attender prevent such a decision?
How much notice needs to be given?
Is proxy input, like email, a factor is considering you have agreement? 
I assume it's required to report back to the whole group after the circle.
What else? 

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature) (very active peace movement here- see our 
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