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HARMONIC GOVERNANCE - CIRCLES OF HOPE

Blueprint for a New World Age

Circle Procedure

The facilitator needs to prepare the agenda and each person should be familiar with the proposals that will be raised. This may involve talking to circle members outside of meeting time. During discussions, it’s the facilitator’s responsibility to diplomatically regulate the strongest voices and encourage the less dominant. This maintains equivalence and promotes self-organization.

The facilitator is the time keeper and the following guidelines apply:

  • People appreciate meetings that begin and end on time. This means that the agenda has to be realistic. It’s recommended that specific hang out time is scheduled for after the meeting, for those who choose to stay on.

  • Make sure there’s a note-taker, timer/clock, pens, paper for notes and ballots.

The term 'round' or 'go-round', means that each person speaks in turn. No one answers anyone else. This is key to the process of consent.

When the word ‘discuss’ is used, it means that people answer each other and the facilitator may "stack" people when they raise their hand.

  • Be aware that not everyone processes information at the same rate.

  • Remember, you can always revisit a decision.

  • Once a meeting starts, think about how comfortable the room is and how to start cooling it down before it gets too hot.

Moment of Silence

Opening round

  • Each person introduces themselves, if needed. One minute is a fair amount of time.

Administrative matters

  • Approve prior minutes

  • Agenda - ask for any additions or changes; Decide on times for items, breaks and when to begin evaluation round

Present the proposal

  • Ask one person to present the proposal requiring a policy decision

  • Others may ask clarifying questions

React to the proposal

  • React in a go-round

  • 30 seconds per person is a good amount of time

  • This is not the time to propose amendments

  • The facilitator may go for a no-objection round (and should attempt one whenever it appears acceptable and possible).

Amend and reformulate the proposal when necessary

  • The proposer amends or reformulates the proposed decision

Formulate objections

  • Do a go-around asking for any objections and the associated arguments

  • Every objection must be supported by a reason drawn from personal concern.

  • The proposal cannot be passed if anyone objects.

Use any objections to improve the proposal

  • Discuss how to improve, eliminate parts of, or include precautions in the proposed decision.

Verify that there are no more objections

  • Do a final go-around asking if there are any objections.

  • As needed, discuss action items flowing from the decision.

  • The note taker records the decision and any action items.

If time doesn't permit crafting an acceptable proposal, a new proposal that everyone will consent to must be made. This could be, "Let's send it back to committee," "I retract the proposal," "Let's research it some more."

Schedule the next meeting

Evaluation round
This needs to begin before the scheduled ending time of the meeting

Each person evaluates how well the facilitator managed time and how well the meeting used the consent process, and other relevant comments concerning the conduct of the meeting.

Moment of Silence

Encourage

  • proposals

  • feedback on the meeting process

  • questions that probe objections

  • brainstorming

  • objections backed by arguments drawn from personal concern or interest

  • laughter

Discourage

  • majority thinking

  • competitive challenges

  • striving for agreement

  • arguments for absolutes

  • manipulation or factionalism or ignoring ideas

  • objections not founded in personal experience

Tension can be your friend and so can silence

Ask the circle for help and feedback

Your aim is to produce decisions.