Creating, Updating, or Dissolving Circles

Our circle structure is always changing :heart_eyes:. Circles dissolve when the work is done or the need is greater elsewhere. Circles are created when a parent circle grows too large (bigger than seven members) or when a new need arises. Circles change as we get feedback and improve.

This is a guide for managing that change.

Creating or Updating a Circle

1. Consent to Circle :+1:

Create Circle Proposal

Proposal includes

  • Name of circle
  • Aims and domains (what the circle does and what their decision-making rights are)
  • Term (when the circle’s governance will be reviewed by its parent circle)
  • Coordinator role holder
  • Initial members and/or plan for membership

Consent to Circle Proposal and Members
Consent to circle within the circle members and within its parent circle

Ask internal-comms for support to set-up the circle’s systems!

2. Set-Up Systems :railway_track:

Internal Comms

Update YPC Governance Structure Documentation


General Set-up

Choose ONE circle name that you will use consistently across all internal comms platforms. Tips:

  • If the circle name has two or more words, separate the words with a hyphen - like in internal-comms
  • Do not include “circle” in the name (exceptions were made for “general circle” and “mission circle” because it would be odd to say something like “I’m a member of General” while it’s very natural to say “I’m a member of Advocacy”)

Decide on Internal Comms practices. We have recommended systems below but different circles may have different needs. For example, when we created a compensation helping circle of the mission circle, we simply created a mission-circle-compensation Slack channel but for everything else we used just the Mission Circle categories and tags.

Discourse Set-up

Create a Discourse category

  • Add in the appropriate parent category
  • Reorder category alphabetically

Edit the About the Category topic

  • Include the circle aim on the first line

Set Admin settings for category

Add circle name to Discourse circles tag group

  • Start the tag name with c-
Google Workspace Set-up

Create a Google Folder in the Youth Power Coalition Shared Drive
Tips: Also create an Archive folder in the Circle Folder

Create a Meeting Notes Document by following Meeting Notes Template policy

Set up Google Group according to Creating and Managing Google Groups policy

Set up meeting calendar invites according to the YPC Admin Calendar policy

Slack Setup

Create Slack Channel

Add Circle aim to Topic

Invite members

(optional) Link Discourse with Slack via the Chat Integration Plug-in (Partnerships Tracker)

1Password Set-up

Add 1Password tag

Member Interest Form

Update Member Interest Form Directions

Make sure people can sign-up to join the circle! If this is a sub-circle, then you may choose to skip this step and instead have your department circles take care of sending you the people who may most like your work.

Go to the YPC Member Interest Form and click on Edit this form (pencil icon on the lower right-hand corner)

Add to the Circles/Teams section

  • Match the format of the other Circle/Team options (you can duplicate one of the questions to make this easy)
  • Put the Circle in alphabetical order by name

Rearrange the Circle/Team columns on the Results spreadsheet so they are alphabetical order by name

Add newly created Circle/Team option to the Form Mule Recruitment Notes Email Template

Regenerate the Formfacade embed link by following their How to Embed Google Forms in Website? directions. Formfacade is what allows us to turn our Google Form into the beautiful version on our Join the Team - YPC webpage.

Update the Join the Team - YPC webpage via Flipcause.


Set-up Finance Systems Directions


Add Circle to Classes

Open Collective

Add Circle to Tags

3. Share :tada:

Announce new circle in the #_annoucements Slack channel

Announce new circle externally as appropriate

Give feedback on this process and make any updates to this documentation by editing Creating, Updating, or Dissolving Circles

Dissolving a Circle

Basically same steps as above but in reverse. Need Internal Comms thoughts around things like, do we archive the channel and google group? What about the google drive folder? The Hub category?

Additional Resources

How do I launch a new circle? What do I do once I get people together for the first circle meetings? :memo:

This resource page - Who Decides Who Decides - will give you everything you need!

What’s a circle anyway? :o: :smile: :red_circle:

Circles can come in different types! Here are some potential models as defined by Sociocracy for All.

  • Work circles. Work circles hold a domain in which they make decisions, and they do work in that domain. A domain is the area of responsibility of a circle. By packaging authority into domains and distributing them within the organization, circles are empowered to make decisions on their particular piece of work. (See more information about domains in decentralized organizations.)
  • General circles. In the center of different circles, there’s a general circle to make sure that all domains are aligned, and all circles have a place for mutual support. Ideally, a general circle doesn’t make decisions about the work but rather decisions about domains – deciding who decides.
  • Help desks. Help Desks are circles that have the aim to support other circles in doing their work. An example could be a designated circle that helps other people with tech questions – but doesn’t do tech work themselves. Or a circle that provides legal advice, or an in-house graphic designer or printing service. (Read more at What is a Help Desk.)

Also, be careful not to confuse communities of practice with circles!

  • Communities of Practice. There are groups that are not circles. For example, an all-member meeting might be a group that meets but doesn’t have a domain because there’s nothing this group of people decides. For the same reason, a mutual support group (like a book club) is also not a circle because it doesn’t make decisions beyond the scope of its own group. We call these groups communities or practice or gatherings.

How do I design a full organizational structure? :spider_web:

How To Design Organizational Structures