A collaborative circle is a small group of people, comprising between eight and twenty members, who enter into a long-term commitment to achieve a higher purpose. This higher purpose can be a change in a professional discipline, an organizational culture, a neighborhood, or a social system. The group is action-oriented and collaboration is kept alive by circle gatherings which ensure that a shared higher purpose translates into reality. Collaborative circles have a high level of eagerness and agility because they are intrinsically motivated to make a profound change in a larger whole.
The linchpin of a long-term successful collaboration lies in one particular idea. It makes a distinctive difference with mainstream benevolent attempts to change things for the better. The idea is the fully execution of a multi-layered world view when people start collaboration with each other.
What does ‘multi-layered world view’ mean?
In our Western society we preceded into a complexity in which all practices in society are built on the concurrent recognition of
- the individual’s autonomy and conscience
- the life of a group
- the legal existence of organizations
- the presence of a particular social system and culture in a country
- Western civilization
- the needs of planet Earth.
Any reduction to one or other layer and any atomization of an entity leads to friction and collateral damage. Something you see occurring on all levels: narcissistic individuals, group thinking, win-loose attitude amongst groups, organizations who are too big to die, countries and religions who dominate others, and the global anthropocentric attitude that exploit nature. In short, nobody is alone on this planet. Everybody and everything is embedded in wholes and each layer has the right to fully participate in it. That is why a multi-layeredness world view has other names like inclusive approach, integral theory, or ecological world view.
Well-balanced collaboration give respect to all layers of existence. As my favorite author, Tom Atlee, expresses: ‘The fulfillment of the self-interest of the individual concurrent with the fulfillment of the self-interest of the whole (group, planet, universe) is at the core of the co-creative process.’
This multilayerdness is expresses in my Team Fork model. It is also the structure of the seven step agile ritual.