Often times what we need to solve lingering challenges is an outside person with the skill to guide complex conversations. Organizational culture evolution is a process that at times requires challenging conversations and interactions. So too, is refining strategy, business models, long-range planning, and creative brainstorming.

Glenn and Maria together provide a framework for facilitation that draws both upon best case practices for meeting facilitation, creative collaboration, and the indigenous principles of communication and the oral tradition.

The “Talking Circle”

Utilizing the indigenous form of communication known as the “Talking Circle,” no participant is elevated above another. In this framework hierarchy is set aside and mutual respect is the overarching value. Together with the use of a talking stick or feather, which is passed from one person to the next, that signifies that the individual possessing the talking stick has the undivided attention of the group. No one interrupts the holder of the talking stick or feather, and therefore each person is fully heard. In this way, we learn to practice active listening.

The talking circle format sounds simple enough, yet can be challenging depending on personal styles and current culture related to communication. Talking circles therefore, provide a powerful opportunity for organizations to evolve their communication style and affect their culture in a positive way. It also allows us to cut through confusion to the heart of matters, to cast a light of clarity and vision.

I cannot speak highly enough about our work with Balanced Is! Maria and Glenn met with our group to talk about effective communication within teams. During our conversations we talked about valuing different communication styles and understanding the meaning behind the words we say. Our group felt safe as they guided engaging conversations. We left the meeting valuing each others different communication styles and with groundwork ready to tackle the next phase of team building. We will invite Glenn and Maria back to help our group develop core values and define our working culture.

Donna Toole

Executive Director, Child Care Center of FPC Asheville

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Learn About Glenn’s Book Shift

Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change


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