I was just selected to fill a circle secretary role! Now what? [Needs Updating]


As filler of a circle secretary role, you help everyone collaborate and live out our values of #build-in-public and #embrace-emergence. Your exact responsibilities:

“A secretary shall be elected by each circle to make sure meeting minutes are taken, approved, stored, and accessible, manage circle records, interpret meeting minutes and policies in case of disagreement, and support planning the agenda.”

Bylaws § 4.3.c Secretary

Exciting, right? :grinning:

We (your fellow circle secretaries past and present) have found that the following information super helpful. Read on, enjoy, and circle back with your own contributions to this guide!

The First 30 Days

  1. Request access to

  2. Become an expert in

  3. Schedule a leadership development review after you’ve been secretary for about 3 meetings.

  4. Update this post to make it even better for future secretaries.


Never Repeat Yourself

  • Search for what already exists before creating anything new.
  • Have a single source of truth.
  • If you must repeat yourself, add a link from the repeated information to the source material. For example, we added a link to our bylaws when we quoted its content on the responsibilities of circle secretaries above.
  • Update the source material directly. Never delete its link.
    • If you want to save a historical version of your source material before updating it
      1. Make a copy of the original document and label it something like “2019 version” or “archived”
      2. Add a link to the copy from the original document
      3. Update the original document
    • If you must move the source of truth, add a link to the new location from the original document.

Create Accessible and Inclusive Content

Keep Things Simple

  • Only make policy that is worth doing. “Policy is both constraining and freeing: it frees people by creating a clear frame in which they have freedom to act, and it constrains the options of how things can be done. Each circle has to find its own balance. This might be an enlightening question to ask our circle in an evaluation: are we operating within the sweet spot between limitation, clarity, trust and choice?” —Many Voices One Song § 3.1.1
  • Cut policies wherever you can. What you can make culture is always better than what you can make policy. Also make sure that policies are being created to address root causes, not to add upon all the policies that already exists.

Keep Things Updated

  • Set reminders to review each circle record and policy
  • Teach fellow circle members how to give feedback on and update records

Understand that Knowledge Lives in Community

  • Cross-train your fellow circle members. You bottom line managing circle records, but every circle member shares responsibility for it. Cross-training your fellow circle members allows them to step into the secretary role as needed, gives them the tools they need to thrive within their roles, and makes your job more delightful.
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@Far-Pritte I wrote the first draft of a guide for new circle secretaries that I hope you’ll find helpful. Please read and let me know what you think. I’m especially curious about

  • What’s confusing and needs to be revised?
  • What can be deleted?
  • What’s missing?
  • How’s the tone? I was going for friendly and informative, not dry and prescriptive. I want whoever reads this to feel really excited.

Yes!!! Like that!!
Super awesome!

And now the other 3 roles :wink:


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Love that you like this! I feel very accomplished. Feel free to share with others / modify it for more general publishing if you find it useful!

When the need arises!!

This was super helpful and most definitely clear! Will always refer back to it.

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