"When you're part of figuring something out, you have much more invested in it."-- Eileen Fisher
People feel like they are co-creating when they're in a circle together. They can see where the energy is. They're not being dictated to. When you're part of figuring something out, you have much more invested in it.
Listening is a really important part of the circle. In a lot of environments, people talk over each other. Making space for different kinds of people, different voices, different ideas, is really important for the success of the business.
A woman in one of our stores came up with the idea of a talking stick and how some Native American tribes used it to solve problems. They passed it around until everyone had a chance to contribute. Our talking sticks can be anything: an apple or an orange or a cookie. Just knowing you are going to have a turn--sometimes it's hard when people are bantering or talking fast.
We recently created a circle just of younger people to brainstorm ideas. They were so grateful to be heard and had so many wonderful ideas. We are on a path to implement some of them already.
It's very personal for me because it was hard for me to learn to speak. I'm still working on it. At conferences, I sometimes want to say, "Can we have the talking stick so I can get my word in edgewise?"
Eileen Fisher is founder of the Irvington, New York-based fashion company that bears her name. For most meetings, we sit on chairs in a circle.