The past few years, Milton has leaned heavily into restorative justice and circle training. This year, we’ve done almost nothing with all that training and time beyond a few sessions training people on how to keep a circle.
I love the intent of circles (or, as another blog calls them, spaces for listening) but the critical element is this:
It is fundamental that participation in a space for listening is a voluntary choice. … This experience enables us to go on and have conversations elsewhere which are more real, purposeful, and meaningful; and better conversations lead to more effective relational working.
Instead of mandating that people undergo the experience, we should allow them to choose where and how they want to participate and encourage the naysayers or those who don’t want to participate to rethink but not to force them to do so. I’ve been in both kinds of circles, those where people are there willingly and those where they are not. No surprises as to which was the better, more meaningful experience.
One of the things we all lost during COVID and hybrid working has ben a sense of community. This could be a great tool helping us get back to that, or a way to heal a broken community. But only if it’s organic and not mandated from the top.
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