Selecting for Roles

This is a group process for selecting a person for a role on the strength of the reason, i.e. who is the best person to hold the role. Instead of simply assigning people for roles, or making a choice based only on majority, we use the role selection process to:

  • increase ownership over the decision

  • tap into the collective intelligence by hearing and deliberating on reasons for nominations

  • ensure support for the role keeper by those affected

Like any meeting, the role selection process is facilitated by a meeting facilitator:

  • Present Role Description: The domain is presented, and questions are answered. If possible, send out the role’s domain description in advance.

  • Record Nominations: Participants write their nomination on a slip of paper. People can nominate themselves, another, or pass.

  • Reasons for Nominations: The facilitator invites everyone to share who they have nominated, and for which reason. Reasons are always objective – it's not about who you like or not, it's about who you think is the best current fit for the role.

  • Information Gathering: Participants share or request any information that might support the group in making an appropriate selection.

  • Nomination Changes: The facilitator checks if anyone wants to change their nomination in light of reasons and information shared so far, and hear the reasons for each change.

  • Propose a Nominee for the role: The facilitator guides the process to identify a suitable nominee on the strength of the reasons heard, e.g. by: o proposing a nominee themselves or asking a group member o inviting (some) nominees to agree who should be proposed o inviting group dialogue to help reveal the strongest nominee

  • Consent round: Ask participants (including the proposed nominee) to simultaneously signal whether they have an objection. We always start the consent round in a way so that the nominee goes last. By that time, the nominee will have heard all the other circle members consent or object.

  • Address and Resolve Objections, beginning with any from the proposed nominee. Objections may be resolved in many ways, including amending the role's domain description or by nominating someone else. When all objections are resolved, check with the (final) nominee again if they accept the role.

  • Celebrate! Acknowledge reaching agreement and thank the person who will now keep the role.


Final note: To avoid influencing others, abstain from expressing personal interest or opinions before a selection takes place. Sometimes a role selection reveals a lack of capacity, relevant experience, qualities or skill. A group will then need to consider outside candidates, reconsider priorities or find an alternative way to account for the domain. This pattern can also be used in any situation where there is a need to choose between a variety of options.

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