The Circle As The Best Business Practice

“In the case of the circle, beginning and end are common.” Heraclitus

The Circle

Wherever you are, right now - look around you - and see the circles. Perhaps you are looking at trunk of trees, or the eyes of your cat. Plants are in circular pots next to my Siberian husky who is wrapped in a circle by my feet where I type. Wheels, clocks, a mug of tea; baskets, bells, shells and the curl of a wave. Could you imagine watching a three square circus? Do you know why manhole covers are round? Can you explain why the sun and moon is circular instead of square?

Our lives are circular too. We begin helpless as a baby and we end up old, infirmed and dependent on loved ones from our community. The seasons are a great circle of events that repeat themselves which led many of the ancients to believe that time is not linear, but circular.

The circle is a primary blue print essential to life. For tens of thousands of years, and even today, human beings lived in a close, conscious relationship with the circle, as a teacher. Entire indigenous traditions and cultures were and still are deeply rooted in the fundamental principals of the circle because the circle works harmoniously with the environment as a whole. .

What are these circles doing, anyway? How is the circle relevant to the best business practices?

Here is a broad overview of some of the principals involved in my attempt to run a circle based business, which has resulted in a manuscript with a working title, The Circle Manifestoâ„¢. What follows is based on trying to integrate what I have learned from intensive and formal studies with Native American, Sufi and Buddhist teachers over the past twenty-five years.

These ideas represent a brief overview of some of the core ideas in my manuscript. It is an attempt to use the circle in a business that values humanity, environment and sustainability.

  • Circle and Community: EAST: SPRING/INSPIRATION

A Circle based business’ main objective is to generate benefit for communities that support it.

Just as the circles around us in nature provide a structure for creativity and abundance, so too does is the circle as a model for business main function to create movement and growth for the benefit of the whole. This includes employees, the customer base and the city or town where the company is located. A circle based business must also give back to the larger ecosystem. These communities are mutually interdependent.

The means through which a business achieves its goal is through the fair and equitable exchange with the resource base: people, materials, knowledge.

Everyone carries an arc of the circle and therefore, is critical to the functioning of the whole.

In contrast, Businesses today are based on a pyramidal model.

Consider for a moment, the complexity of the market that you work with in your company. At any point, there is probably a huge amount of competition and variables. Some of these one has control of and others, one does not.

A circle based business has eyes and ears looking out at every perspective to benefit the whole. Innovation can come from any direction. In my company, for example, we take design ideas from our CFO and strategic ideas from the person who ships out packages. It does not matter. Everyone has a sense of what is going on and everyone is welcome to bring their ideas forth.

  • Riding the spirals: SOUTH: SUMMER/GROWTH

To use a Circle in your business, you must see how energy patterns flow in and out of the spirals. You ride the spirals to achieve your goal.

Consider the level of activity and growth during summer in the natural world. It is a time of intense work. In business, I equate it to pushing a heavy fly wheel every day, even though it seems as if there is only microscopic movement.

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of circle work to explain and achieve. What is required is a strong sense of not only the overview of the situation, but how the energy is flowing.

Part of working with the circle is recognizing that everything around us is cyclical. All forms, whether physical or in the realm of thought, have their own birth, life and death cycle. At every moment, we are exposed to an infinite number of possibilities with an infinite number of outcomes. However, the intellect—in fact the entire human consciousness—narrows this vastness and shapes our view based on our identity which has been formed over the years by our life experience and our perception. This works for and against us.

You can review key performance indictors and adapt your business accordingly. You can read business case studies and speak with people who have lived through what you are experiencing over a span of decades. These are all important ways to keep on track. Yet there are other types of critical insights that are possible when you are seeing beyond the numbers and peering into something deeper.

The question becomes, how do we get beyond these limited ideas of who we are and what we think our world consists of? How do we really open up to inspiration and the possibilities that are available in business and life?

Certainly one way is exercise, which can help clear one’s mind. Moving the body has the effect of moving emotions through and reducing stress. Yet the best means to achieve this, I have found, is to develop a solid meditation practice. If you can empty out thoughts and emotions, and experience your mind like an open sky, you become receptive to all kinds of inspiration that otherwise would never get through.

Even if you cannot meditate, exercising, moving the body, releases pent up emotions and stress that opens up into moments of clarity.

To see the how the energy flows, the benefits of having a spiritual discipline are immense.

 

 

  • The Blue Flame: WEST: FALL/HARVAST

In order to have a blue flame, impurities must be burned off. Part of the Circle’s process is letting go so that growth can take place. Death is part of the cycle. Essential lessons are gained from the constant interaction between the people who make up the business and the larger community which is its matrix.

Those in the circle based business are on a journey, leaning into the mystery, testing assumptions and ideas. For there to be growth and evolution, assessment must be part of the process. That which no longer functions or serves the best interest of the whole is released.

The circle based business recognizes that death is part of its cycle. Not everything hits the mark because no one has a larger enough perspective to predict outcomes. People may leave. Product launches may fail. What is learned must be harvested and made part of the collective wisdom. This core assessment is built into the very structure of a circle based business.

 

  • Radical Equality: NORTH: WINTER/WISDOM

 

The Circle embodies a form of radical equality. Equality is based on the fact that everyone is on a journey with an equal opportunity to gain wisdom from their experiences, exchanging with the greater Circle or Web of Life.

The two concepts here are journey and radical equality. One of our purposes on earth is to grow in wisdom and experience as to what it is like to be in a limited, physical body. In this journey, all have an equal opportunity, from the circles experience, to gain one of the most important things in life: Wisdom.

In a business environment, everyone is considered equal in their humanity. Everyone is given equal respect. Everyone is given what they need to have a good and decent life. The work environment based on this equality, fosters deep trust and enthusiasm.

How does this work? If you are truly & authentically on your own journey, you are forging into new territory that you do not know. Leaning into this, as an entrepreneur, can be like walking on a razor’s edge. In our company, being a jeweler, really honing one’s skills, pushes one along on the journey. So does dealing with customers, or developing a web project in a competitive market.

Mistakes will be made. At the most basic level, mistakes are treated as opportunities to gain wisdom collectively and individually. There is no blame on any individual. Adversity makes you larger, more formidable. Adversity builds the power of the circle by redirecting it to be more responsive and attuned to the larger environment from which is grows. The rule is, try not to make the same mistake twice.

Contrast this to the pyramid based business, which can be so segmented that wisdom, particularly from the base level, cannot find its way into the collective. The pyramid is not about the journey. It is about focus toward an objective: driving profits to the shareholders.

The circle’s form of “equality” is not a recycled form of communism. Marx fooled people by tapping into the idealism of the circle’s core concept, equality; and then imposed triangular power structures to enforce control. Marx’s dialectic against a patriarchal pyramidal power system created a new form of totalitarianism, based on a patriarchic power structure.

Moreover, his famous quote, “religion is the opiate of the people” denies the basic universal human need to connect with some greater, universal whole. It denies the primacy of the journey home. Imposing an economic order based on a segmented view of humanity, as Marx did, ironically makes money the most important value.

The circle does not care whether people are paid the same. It is not invested in job titles or status. It is an empty form that we bring ourselves to. It makes no comparison, nor places any values on career. The issue of wages is based on the cultural context, the matrix of common values from which the circle interacts. These values are deeply rooted and tied to human nature.

The Circle Manifesto is not a fundamentalist doctrine. It is about testing your creativity and highest aspirations in the manifest world and learning what you can, hoping in the process that the work is for the good of all, including yourself. Fixed rules do not allow the adaptability and the exchange necessary for the circle to work effectively.

Rather, the circle provides a structure in which we can test our ideas along our journey.

In this testing, we find there is an entire spectrum in which all people are equal in the circle of the workplace. This includes being listened to, the right to find satisfaction and accomplishment in work, the right to be oneself within the normal range of behavior in a functioning community. We have the right to contribute, to grow and reap the rewards of the endeavor in a way that is fair and equitable. The circle in the workplace supports the highest, most important human values and our core right to be who we are in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Guardians of The Circle: CENTER/THE WHOLE

 

Leadership in a Circle based business has one main objective: keep the energy flowing and harness the creative potential of everyone who makes up the circle. Leaders must also ensure the economy of the circle is based on a fair and equitable exchange. A critical question is: How do you lead without hierarchy?

It would be untruthful to say that we have eliminated all hierarchy from our company. Sometimes my wife and I make unilateral decisions without consulting everyone. We do this for the same reasons that any business owner does. We have to lead, but we attempt to lead as much as we can from a perspective based on the circle.

The leader can see him or herself as the guardian of the whole. The leader holds the ethos of the company. The leader monitors alignment between that intention and the actions of those who are responsible for the whole. He or she recognizes that this is not about perfection, but functionality and movement forward. As the late Paula Underwood, one of my teachers explained it, we try our best to be mainly who we want to be.

The guardianship of the circle is not about being a parent to any of the members. If there is any analogy in life to what leadership is, it would have to be that of an elder in a traditional culture. Being an elder has nothing to do with age. You can be old and wise or old and a fool. It depends upon how you have integrated your journey. Elders do know what is important. They understand the priorities in the journey of life.

Nor is leadership in the circle a form of “management.” Management falls again in the parental structure of the pyramid. Management is too formulaic and often Pavlovian based. With the circle, as much as possible, the responsibility is thrown back on the individual and the collective members of the circle exert a pressure that demands a level of excellence, because they are invested in the success of the company. We move from baby sitting to empowerment; from control and hierarchy to creating a dynamic environment where excellent work can take place. Individual wisdom is transformed into collective power.

Leadership is also not top down and bottom up in the conventional understanding. The leaders do take information from everywhere and everyone in the circle. But circle is about the journey.

Top down means being receptive to inspiration from the higher than rational human faculties, the Muse or whoever it is that guides one’s life. Bottom up includes listening to the depths, the darkness and the difficult emotional quandaries that arise from the metaphoric underworld in the course of spending eight hours a day with someone over months and years.

 

One Final Thought

A circle based business uses the triangle to create movement. This results in a spiral. What may we learn from this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpted from The Circle Manifesto™, © 2007 - a work in progress. Sign up here if you would like to get advanced notice of its publication and receive a signed copy of the book.



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“In the case of the circle, beginning and end are common.” Heraclitus

The Circle

Wherever you are, right now - look around you - and see the circles. Perhaps you are looking at trunk of trees, or the eyes of your cat. Plants are in circular pots next to my Siberian husky who is wrapped in a circle by my feet where I type. Wheels, clocks, a mug of tea; baskets, bells, shells and the curl of a wave. Could you imagine watching a three square circus? Do you know why manhole covers are round? Can you explain why the sun and moon is circular instead of square?

Our lives are circular too. We begin helpless as a baby and we end up old, infirmed and dependent on loved ones from our community. The seasons are a great circle of events that repeat themselves which led many of the ancients to believe that time is not linear, but circular.

The circle is a primary blue print essential to life. For tens of thousands of years, and even today, human beings lived in a close, conscious relationship with the circle, as a teacher. Entire indigenous traditions and cultures were and still are deeply rooted in the fundamental principals of the circle because the circle works harmoniously with the environment as a whole. .

What are these circles doing, anyway? How is the circle relevant to the best business practices?

Here is a broad overview of some of the principals involved in my attempt to run a circle based business, which has resulted in a manuscript with a working title, The Circle Manifestoâ„¢. What follows is based on trying to integrate what I have learned from intensive and formal studies with Native American, Sufi and Buddhist teachers over the past twenty-five years.

These ideas represent a brief overview of some of the core ideas in my manuscript. It is an attempt to use the circle in a business that values humanity, environment and sustainability.

  • Circle and Community: EAST: SPRING/INSPIRATION

A Circle based business’ main objective is to generate benefit for communities that support it.

Just as the circles around us in nature provide a structure for creativity and abundance, so too does is the circle as a model for business main function to create movement and growth for the benefit of the whole. This includes employees, the customer base and the city or town where the company is located. A circle based business must also give back to the larger ecosystem. These communities are mutually interdependent.

The means through which a business achieves its goal is through the fair and equitable exchange with the resource base: people, materials, knowledge.

Everyone carries an arc of the circle and therefore, is critical to the functioning of the whole.

In contrast, Businesses today are based on a pyramidal model.

Consider for a moment, the complexity of the market that you work with in your company. At any point, there is probably a huge amount of competition and variables. Some of these one has control of and others, one does not.

A circle based business has eyes and ears looking out at every perspective to benefit the whole. Innovation can come from any direction. In my company, for example, we take design ideas from our CFO and strategic ideas from the person who ships out packages. It does not matter. Everyone has a sense of what is going on and everyone is welcome to bring their ideas forth.

  • Riding the spirals: SOUTH: SUMMER/GROWTH

To use a Circle in your business, you must see how energy patterns flow in and out of the spirals. You ride the spirals to achieve your goal.

Consider the level of activity and growth during summer in the natural world. It is a time of intense work. In business, I equate it to pushing a heavy fly wheel every day, even though it seems as if there is only microscopic movement.

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of circle work to explain and achieve. What is required is a strong sense of not only the overview of the situation, but how the energy is flowing.

Part of working with the circle is recognizing that everything around us is cyclical. All forms, whether physical or in the realm of thought, have their own birth, life and death cycle. At every moment, we are exposed to an infinite number of possibilities with an infinite number of outcomes. However, the intellect—in fact the entire human consciousness—narrows this vastness and shapes our view based on our identity which has been formed over the years by our life experience and our perception. This works for and against us.

You can review key performance indictors and adapt your business accordingly. You can read business case studies and speak with people who have lived through what you are experiencing over a span of decades. These are all important ways to keep on track. Yet there are other types of critical insights that are possible when you are seeing beyond the numbers and peering into something deeper.

The question becomes, how do we get beyond these limited ideas of who we are and what we think our world consists of? How do we really open up to inspiration and the possibilities that are available in business and life?

Certainly one way is exercise, which can help clear one’s mind. Moving the body has the effect of moving emotions through and reducing stress. Yet the best means to achieve this, I have found, is to develop a solid meditation practice. If you can empty out thoughts and emotions, and experience your mind like an open sky, you become receptive to all kinds of inspiration that otherwise would never get through.

Even if you cannot meditate, exercising, moving the body, releases pent up emotions and stress that opens up into moments of clarity.

To see the how the energy flows, the benefits of having a spiritual discipline are immense.

 

 

  • The Blue Flame: WEST: FALL/HARVAST

In order to have a blue flame, impurities must be burned off. Part of the Circle’s process is letting go so that growth can take place. Death is part of the cycle. Essential lessons are gained from the constant interaction between the people who make up the business and the larger community which is its matrix.

Those in the circle based business are on a journey, leaning into the mystery, testing assumptions and ideas. For there to be growth and evolution, assessment must be part of the process. That which no longer functions or serves the best interest of the whole is released.

The circle based business recognizes that death is part of its cycle. Not everything hits the mark because no one has a larger enough perspective to predict outcomes. People may leave. Product launches may fail. What is learned must be harvested and made part of the collective wisdom. This core assessment is built into the very structure of a circle based business.

 

  • Radical Equality: NORTH: WINTER/WISDOM

 

The Circle embodies a form of radical equality. Equality is based on the fact that everyone is on a journey with an equal opportunity to gain wisdom from their experiences, exchanging with the greater Circle or Web of Life.

The two concepts here are journey and radical equality. One of our purposes on earth is to grow in wisdom and experience as to what it is like to be in a limited, physical body. In this journey, all have an equal opportunity, from the circles experience, to gain one of the most important things in life: Wisdom.

In a business environment, everyone is considered equal in their humanity. Everyone is given equal respect. Everyone is given what they need to have a good and decent life. The work environment based on this equality, fosters deep trust and enthusiasm.

How does this work? If you are truly & authentically on your own journey, you are forging into new territory that you do not know. Leaning into this, as an entrepreneur, can be like walking on a razor’s edge. In our company, being a jeweler, really honing one’s skills, pushes one along on the journey. So does dealing with customers, or developing a web project in a competitive market.

Mistakes will be made. At the most basic level, mistakes are treated as opportunities to gain wisdom collectively and individually. There is no blame on any individual. Adversity makes you larger, more formidable. Adversity builds the power of the circle by redirecting it to be more responsive and attuned to the larger environment from which is grows. The rule is, try not to make the same mistake twice.

Contrast this to the pyramid based business, which can be so segmented that wisdom, particularly from the base level, cannot find its way into the collective. The pyramid is not about the journey. It is about focus toward an objective: driving profits to the shareholders.

The circle’s form of “equality” is not a recycled form of communism. Marx fooled people by tapping into the idealism of the circle’s core concept, equality; and then imposed triangular power structures to enforce control. Marx’s dialectic against a patriarchal pyramidal power system created a new form of totalitarianism, based on a patriarchic power structure.

Moreover, his famous quote, “religion is the opiate of the people” denies the basic universal human need to connect with some greater, universal whole. It denies the primacy of the journey home. Imposing an economic order based on a segmented view of humanity, as Marx did, ironically makes money the most important value.

The circle does not care whether people are paid the same. It is not invested in job titles or status. It is an empty form that we bring ourselves to. It makes no comparison, nor places any values on career. The issue of wages is based on the cultural context, the matrix of common values from which the circle interacts. These values are deeply rooted and tied to human nature.

The Circle Manifesto is not a fundamentalist doctrine. It is about testing your creativity and highest aspirations in the manifest world and learning what you can, hoping in the process that the work is for the good of all, including yourself. Fixed rules do not allow the adaptability and the exchange necessary for the circle to work effectively.

Rather, the circle provides a structure in which we can test our ideas along our journey.

In this testing, we find there is an entire spectrum in which all people are equal in the circle of the workplace. This includes being listened to, the right to find satisfaction and accomplishment in work, the right to be oneself within the normal range of behavior in a functioning community. We have the right to contribute, to grow and reap the rewards of the endeavor in a way that is fair and equitable. The circle in the workplace supports the highest, most important human values and our core right to be who we are in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Guardians of The Circle: CENTER/THE WHOLE

 

Leadership in a Circle based business has one main objective: keep the energy flowing and harness the creative potential of everyone who makes up the circle. Leaders must also ensure the economy of the circle is based on a fair and equitable exchange. A critical question is: How do you lead without hierarchy?

It would be untruthful to say that we have eliminated all hierarchy from our company. Sometimes my wife and I make unilateral decisions without consulting everyone. We do this for the same reasons that any business owner does. We have to lead, but we attempt to lead as much as we can from a perspective based on the circle.

The leader can see him or herself as the guardian of the whole. The leader holds the ethos of the company. The leader monitors alignment between that intention and the actions of those who are responsible for the whole. He or she recognizes that this is not about perfection, but functionality and movement forward. As the late Paula Underwood, one of my teachers explained it, we try our best to be mainly who we want to be.

The guardianship of the circle is not about being a parent to any of the members. If there is any analogy in life to what leadership is, it would have to be that of an elder in a traditional culture. Being an elder has nothing to do with age. You can be old and wise or old and a fool. It depends upon how you have integrated your journey. Elders do know what is important. They understand the priorities in the journey of life.

Nor is leadership in the circle a form of “management.” Management falls again in the parental structure of the pyramid. Management is too formulaic and often Pavlovian based. With the circle, as much as possible, the responsibility is thrown back on the individual and the collective members of the circle exert a pressure that demands a level of excellence, because they are invested in the success of the company. We move from baby sitting to empowerment; from control and hierarchy to creating a dynamic environment where excellent work can take place. Individual wisdom is transformed into collective power.

Leadership is also not top down and bottom up in the conventional understanding. The leaders do take information from everywhere and everyone in the circle. But circle is about the journey.

Top down means being receptive to inspiration from the higher than rational human faculties, the Muse or whoever it is that guides one’s life. Bottom up includes listening to the depths, the darkness and the difficult emotional quandaries that arise from the metaphoric underworld in the course of spending eight hours a day with someone over months and years.

 

One Final Thought

A circle based business uses the triangle to create movement. This results in a spiral. What may we learn from this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpted from The Circle Manifesto™, © 2007 - a work in progress. Sign up here if you would like to get advanced notice of its publication and receive a signed copy of the book.



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“In the case of the circle, beginning and end are common.” Heraclitus

The Circle

Wherever you are, right now - look around you - and see the circles. Perhaps you are looking at trunk of trees, or the eyes of your cat. Plants are in circular pots next to my Siberian husky who is wrapped in a circle by my feet where I type. Wheels, clocks, a mug of tea; baskets, bells, shells and the curl of a wave. Could you imagine watching a three square circus? Do you know why manhole covers are round? Can you explain why the sun and moon is circular instead of square?

Our lives are circular too. We begin helpless as a baby and we end up old, infirmed and dependent on loved ones from our community. The seasons are a great circle of events that repeat themselves which led many of the ancients to believe that time is not linear, but circular.

The circle is a primary blue print essential to life. For tens of thousands of years, and even today, human beings lived in a close, conscious relationship with the circle, as a teacher. Entire indigenous traditions and cultures were and still are deeply rooted in the fundamental principals of the circle because the circle works harmoniously with the environment as a whole. .

What are these circles doing, anyway? How is the circle relevant to the best business practices?

Here is a broad overview of some of the principals involved in my attempt to run a circle based business, which has resulted in a manuscript with a working title, The Circle Manifestoâ„¢. What follows is based on trying to integrate what I have learned from intensive and formal studies with Native American, Sufi and Buddhist teachers over the past twenty-five years.

These ideas represent a brief overview of some of the core ideas in my manuscript. It is an attempt to use the circle in a business that values humanity, environment and sustainability.

  • Circle and Community: EAST: SPRING/INSPIRATION

A Circle based business’ main objective is to generate benefit for communities that support it.

Just as the circles around us in nature provide a structure for creativity and abundance, so too does is the circle as a model for business main function to create movement and growth for the benefit of the whole. This includes employees, the customer base and the city or town where the company is located. A circle based business must also give back to the larger ecosystem. These communities are mutually interdependent.

The means through which a business achieves its goal is through the fair and equitable exchange with the resource base: people, materials, knowledge.

Everyone carries an arc of the circle and therefore, is critical to the functioning of the whole.

In contrast, Businesses today are based on a pyramidal model.

Consider for a moment, the complexity of the market that you work with in your company. At any point, there is probably a huge amount of competition and variables. Some of these one has control of and others, one does not.

A circle based business has eyes and ears looking out at every perspective to benefit the whole. Innovation can come from any direction. In my company, for example, we take design ideas from our CFO and strategic ideas from the person who ships out packages. It does not matter. Everyone has a sense of what is going on and everyone is welcome to bring their ideas forth.

  • Riding the spirals: SOUTH: SUMMER/GROWTH

To use a Circle in your business, you must see how energy patterns flow in and out of the spirals. You ride the spirals to achieve your goal.

Consider the level of activity and growth during summer in the natural world. It is a time of intense work. In business, I equate it to pushing a heavy fly wheel every day, even though it seems as if there is only microscopic movement.

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of circle work to explain and achieve. What is required is a strong sense of not only the overview of the situation, but how the energy is flowing.

Part of working with the circle is recognizing that everything around us is cyclical. All forms, whether physical or in the realm of thought, have their own birth, life and death cycle. At every moment, we are exposed to an infinite number of possibilities with an infinite number of outcomes. However, the intellect—in fact the entire human consciousness—narrows this vastness and shapes our view based on our identity which has been formed over the years by our life experience and our perception. This works for and against us.

You can review key performance indictors and adapt your business accordingly. You can read business case studies and speak with people who have lived through what you are experiencing over a span of decades. These are all important ways to keep on track. Yet there are other types of critical insights that are possible when you are seeing beyond the numbers and peering into something deeper.

The question becomes, how do we get beyond these limited ideas of who we are and what we think our world consists of? How do we really open up to inspiration and the possibilities that are available in business and life?

Certainly one way is exercise, which can help clear one’s mind. Moving the body has the effect of moving emotions through and reducing stress. Yet the best means to achieve this, I have found, is to develop a solid meditation practice. If you can empty out thoughts and emotions, and experience your mind like an open sky, you become receptive to all kinds of inspiration that otherwise would never get through.

Even if you cannot meditate, exercising, moving the body, releases pent up emotions and stress that opens up into moments of clarity.

To see the how the energy flows, the benefits of having a spiritual discipline are immense.

 

 

  • The Blue Flame: WEST: FALL/HARVAST

In order to have a blue flame, impurities must be burned off. Part of the Circle’s process is letting go so that growth can take place. Death is part of the cycle. Essential lessons are gained from the constant interaction between the people who make up the business and the larger community which is its matrix.

Those in the circle based business are on a journey, leaning into the mystery, testing assumptions and ideas. For there to be growth and evolution, assessment must be part of the process. That which no longer functions or serves the best interest of the whole is released.

The circle based business recognizes that death is part of its cycle. Not everything hits the mark because no one has a larger enough perspective to predict outcomes. People may leave. Product launches may fail. What is learned must be harvested and made part of the collective wisdom. This core assessment is built into the very structure of a circle based business.

 

  • Radical Equality: NORTH: WINTER/WISDOM

 

The Circle embodies a form of radical equality. Equality is based on the fact that everyone is on a journey with an equal opportunity to gain wisdom from their experiences, exchanging with the greater Circle or Web of Life.

The two concepts here are journey and radical equality. One of our purposes on earth is to grow in wisdom and experience as to what it is like to be in a limited, physical body. In this journey, all have an equal opportunity, from the circles experience, to gain one of the most important things in life: Wisdom.

In a business environment, everyone is considered equal in their humanity. Everyone is given equal respect. Everyone is given what they need to have a good and decent life. The work environment based on this equality, fosters deep trust and enthusiasm.

How does this work? If you are truly & authentically on your own journey, you are forging into new territory that you do not know. Leaning into this, as an entrepreneur, can be like walking on a razor’s edge. In our company, being a jeweler, really honing one’s skills, pushes one along on the journey. So does dealing with customers, or developing a web project in a competitive market.

Mistakes will be made. At the most basic level, mistakes are treated as opportunities to gain wisdom collectively and individually. There is no blame on any individual. Adversity makes you larger, more formidable. Adversity builds the power of the circle by redirecting it to be more responsive and attuned to the larger environment from which is grows. The rule is, try not to make the same mistake twice.

Contrast this to the pyramid based business, which can be so segmented that wisdom, particularly from the base level, cannot find its way into the collective. The pyramid is not about the journey. It is about focus toward an objective: driving profits to the shareholders.

The circle’s form of “equality” is not a recycled form of communism. Marx fooled people by tapping into the idealism of the circle’s core concept, equality; and then imposed triangular power structures to enforce control. Marx’s dialectic against a patriarchal pyramidal power system created a new form of totalitarianism, based on a patriarchic power structure.

Moreover, his famous quote, “religion is the opiate of the people” denies the basic universal human need to connect with some greater, universal whole. It denies the primacy of the journey home. Imposing an economic order based on a segmented view of humanity, as Marx did, ironically makes money the most important value.

The circle does not care whether people are paid the same. It is not invested in job titles or status. It is an empty form that we bring ourselves to. It makes no comparison, nor places any values on career. The issue of wages is based on the cultural context, the matrix of common values from which the circle interacts. These values are deeply rooted and tied to human nature.

The Circle Manifesto is not a fundamentalist doctrine. It is about testing your creativity and highest aspirations in the manifest world and learning what you can, hoping in the process that the work is for the good of all, including yourself. Fixed rules do not allow the adaptability and the exchange necessary for the circle to work effectively.

Rather, the circle provides a structure in which we can test our ideas along our journey.

In this testing, we find there is an entire spectrum in which all people are equal in the circle of the workplace. This includes being listened to, the right to find satisfaction and accomplishment in work, the right to be oneself within the normal range of behavior in a functioning community. We have the right to contribute, to grow and reap the rewards of the endeavor in a way that is fair and equitable. The circle in the workplace supports the highest, most important human values and our core right to be who we are in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Guardians of The Circle: CENTER/THE WHOLE

 

Leadership in a Circle based business has one main objective: keep the energy flowing and harness the creative potential of everyone who makes up the circle. Leaders must also ensure the economy of the circle is based on a fair and equitable exchange. A critical question is: How do you lead without hierarchy?

It would be untruthful to say that we have eliminated all hierarchy from our company. Sometimes my wife and I make unilateral decisions without consulting everyone. We do this for the same reasons that any business owner does. We have to lead, but we attempt to lead as much as we can from a perspective based on the circle.

The leader can see him or herself as the guardian of the whole. The leader holds the ethos of the company. The leader monitors alignment between that intention and the actions of those who are responsible for the whole. He or she recognizes that this is not about perfection, but functionality and movement forward. As the late Paula Underwood, one of my teachers explained it, we try our best to be mainly who we want to be.

The guardianship of the circle is not about being a parent to any of the members. If there is any analogy in life to what leadership is, it would have to be that of an elder in a traditional culture. Being an elder has nothing to do with age. You can be old and wise or old and a fool. It depends upon how you have integrated your journey. Elders do know what is important. They understand the priorities in the journey of life.

Nor is leadership in the circle a form of “management.” Management falls again in the parental structure of the pyramid. Management is too formulaic and often Pavlovian based. With the circle, as much as possible, the responsibility is thrown back on the individual and the collective members of the circle exert a pressure that demands a level of excellence, because they are invested in the success of the company. We move from baby sitting to empowerment; from control and hierarchy to creating a dynamic environment where excellent work can take place. Individual wisdom is transformed into collective power.

Leadership is also not top down and bottom up in the conventional understanding. The leaders do take information from everywhere and everyone in the circle. But circle is about the journey.

Top down means being receptive to inspiration from the higher than rational human faculties, the Muse or whoever it is that guides one’s life. Bottom up includes listening to the depths, the darkness and the difficult emotional quandaries that arise from the metaphoric underworld in the course of spending eight hours a day with someone over months and years.

 

One Final Thought

A circle based business uses the triangle to create movement. This results in a spiral. What may we learn from this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpted from The Circle Manifesto™, © 2007 - a work in progress. Sign up here if you would like to get advanced notice of its publication and receive a signed copy of the book.



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