Circles of Meaning
January 4, 2016 Leave a comment
Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.
I took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.
Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout history of the world.
Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism the Yin Yang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection.
Circles are symbols of inclusiveness, wholeness and eternity because the continuous line characterizes something with no beginning and no end. They also represent completion or “coming full circle,” as in starting where one began. Circles often remind us about the cycles of life, years, seasons, days, minutes, hours and of course, TIME.
In business we use circles in many ways. In meetings, we sit in circles, in flow charts, circles show beginning or ending of processes, we move in cycles from centralizing to decentralizing something away from or to something else. We also assume many things in business happen in linear patterns, which is not the case. A circle could be a way to make the case for this.
In change management, we can think about circles as cycles of behavior. We evaluate and measure individual change differently than organizational change because successful organizational change happens when individuals deliver and sustain the new behavior. Our focus is to change old ways of thinking by providing various levels of coaching guides and tools for leadership, stakeholder and sponsors during different stages of projects.
We provide assessments to mitigate resistance to change because we understand that behaviors happen in cycles or patterns. One example of many, might be to leverage Steven Covey’s “Circles of Influence” model (where appropriate) for conversation about what we control, influence and have concerns about.
When we integrate change management with project management, studies have proven it leads to higher levels of success such as increased in adoption rates and sustaining of new behaviors.
Are there other ways you see circles used as symbols in business, project and change management? I’m looking forward to having you join the conversation. Thanks for visiting my blog!