October 27, 2021


Circles are an interesting form of organisation.  Like King Arthur’s famous Round Table, nobody is ‘above’ or ‘below’ anyone else.  All are on a level.

A circle can be the basis of useful mechanisms for sharing work fairly, without the need for discussion, consensus building or command.

For instance, if you all work in an office, someone has to open up each day.   Often it’s one person’s job.   What happens when they don’t turn up?

You could decide to give everyone a key, and it’s simply the first to arrive that opens up.    But if you are the habitually early one, you might start to resent being the only one who has to do this in practice.

Or you could create an ‘opening up ‘ circle (which could include everyone) and do it by rotation.  You might even use a single set of special keys to make the mechanism visible, perhaps even more like a game.

There are probably more jobs that could be organised in this way.   You could rotate delivery drivers through different routes or rounds, to give them a change and to introduce customers to more of your team.   You could rotate people through networking events in the same way.  You could even rotate people through Roles to expand their experience and get clients used to the idea that anyone in your business can help them equally well.

The beauty of a circle is that you can start anywhere, and go clockwise or anti-clockwise.  You can choose whatever frequency you like for the rotation.  It can even accommodate absences – you just jump the gap if today’s person is missing.  Best of all, there’s no room for argument.  Everyone takes their turn, then forgets about the job until it comes round again.

No need to write up complex rotas, just draw up your circles, put them somewhere visible, and set them going.

How powerful a signal it would be if everyone, including the boss, took their spot?