In hosting a FutureShapers Roundtable – a group of about a dozen executive peers who meet regularly and share a common aspiration of becoming more conscious as leaders – each meeting begins by creating what we call “sacred space.” We do this in order to distinguish our Roundtables from the vast array of meetings that are routine for executives. This ritual reminds members that this is not a normal business meeting; it is a special time where conventional mindsets are suspended.
A reading starts each meeting which includes the words: “We are invited to bring our whole selves into our time together – body, mind, heart and soul.” The objective of the reading is to create an “explicit differentness” for the time the members spend together, similar to what might be described as the sacred context one often finds in nature, listening to a symphony or a poetry reading.
Roundtable members are encouraged to sit in a circle, avoiding having anything in the middle of the circle such as a conference table. This is another reminder of the differentness. If the setting is office space and a conference room is being used we encourage members to move tables to the side.
Each meeting is facilitated by a Host – a person we train and certify to host Roundtables and coach members.
One condition for membership in a Roundtable is that each member makes a sacred commitment – what we call the FutureShapers Covenant – a series of promises to their Roundtable Host, their fellow members of the Roundtable and, most importantly, to themselves.
We have found that explicitly creating sacred space, sitting in a circle and having a shared commitment to their solemn pledge, helps to generate a sacred circle of exceptional commitment that transcends any ordinary experience of being with others. The Roundtable becomes a most unusual highly-intimate group experience where members feel safe and are thus encouraged to move outside their comfort zones, to develop powerful visions, take stands on those visions and inspire others to grow and embrace them. In my view, this is the epitome of being a conscious leader.