For the first few years, the group found making decisions to be challenging. There were power struggles, different ideas about purpose and mission, and different ideas about how to make decisions. Happily, we were introduced an amazing, transformative, and empowering process created by Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN. Peace and Power helped us learn how to listen to all voices within the group, consider all points of view, resolve conflicts, share responsibility, and even make meetings pleasurable!!!!
One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Peace and Power Process is the ‘Rotating Chair’. This means that in a group discussion, we all share the responsibility for the group’s interactions. One important way that we share in this responsibility is to call the name of the next person to speak. The person who is speaking speaks until they feel that they are finished then they look to see who is next. We determine who is next by simply and silently raising our hands. We use this method during our announcements during the Thursday night Singing Circle as well as during the Council Meeting.
During Council Meetings we use a specific process to facilitate our meetings. The following outline demonstrates the process we use as derived from Peace and Power, Creative Leadership for Building Community:
1) Gather and Ground - We usually circle round and hold hands while vocalizing am om, hum, or song.
2) Check In: “My name is ____.”
“My reflection of last meeting ____.”
“Right now I am feeling ____.”
“I bring _____ to this meeting.”
3) Select: Facilitator
4) Read minutes and review decisions from previous meeting,
5) Create agenda: List Items
Prioritize (revisited items, then new items)
Set time to spend on each item
6) Discuss agenda items using Revolving Chair
with Circling and Sparking as needed, make decisions by Consensus.
Circling means to go around the circle, each taking turns to speak. Sparking is a more organic process where ideas are thrown out hoping to ‘spark’ further discussion.
7) Review decisions made at this meeting and people responsible.
8) List agenda items to be carried into the next meeting
9) Check Out:“My name is ____.”
“I appreciate ____.”
“My reflection on the process is _____.”
“I affirm ____.”
10) Ground and disperse: Again, we often sing, chant, and vocalize to reconnect before leaving the circle.
For More Information on Peggy Chinn and her work, please go to: http://www.peggychinn.com/
To purchase Peggy’s book Peace and Power please go to her publisher’s website: http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/9780763751258/