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An Introduction to Deep Democracy

      Mia Eisenstadt | Reos Partners | Aug 1, 2012
      Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Program,
      Oxfam GB




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Material to be Covered
  1.        When is Deep Democracy useful?

  2.        What is Deep Democracy?

  3.        The Principles of Deep Democracy

  4.        The Iceberg: Working with the Conscious and Unconscious in Groups

  5.        The Decision Making Steps (A recap)

  6.        When Decision-Making breaks down

  7.        The Terrorist Line

  8.        Role Theory

  9.        Capacities required for Deep Democracy

  10.       Exercises

  11.       References

  12.       Visual Summary



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Deep Democracy Can Be Useful in Situations With
Four Characteristics

   1.        They are working with a group that is committed to working together in the long-term (there is a
             commitment to the relationship).

   2.        Decision-making in the group has led to a situation where there is a majority or minority position and
             the group cannot reach consensus or a decision that brings the minority along.

   3.        There is a commitment to facilitating a conversation where all stakeholders have an equal opportunity to
             contribute.

   4.        There is a need for a decision that will last.




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Deep Democracy is…


          The pragmatic, practical decision-making methodology and tool kit designed by Myrna and
           Greg Lewis. Deep democracy takes a democratic approach that is different from conventional
           democracy in that it aims to incorporate the “losing” side in the outcome of a democratic
           process.

          Based in Process Orientated Psychology, a framework by Arnold Mindell that can be applied to
           psychotherapy, relationships, small and large groups and social issues.

          Myrna Lewis argues that conventional democracy is unsustainable. Following a vote in
           conventional democracy, the idea that the losing minority will disappear, but this is a myth.
           Instead she argues that the minority will consolidate and gain strength and try to undermine the
           majority position, it will go underground. Thus the value of listening and including the agenda
           of the minority is to contribute to wider ownership of the outcome and more sustainable
           decision.



   



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The Principles of Deep Democracy

   1. The articulated views of participants in a group are influenced by the subconscious hopes, fears
           and preferences of group members.

   2. Every group has a unique atmosphere that is influenced by the conscious and unconscious agendas
           of the participants.

   3. The minority views in a group have wisdom that is relevant for the whole group.

   4. There is value to conflict and overcoming conflict.

   5. Relationship is the most important aspect of group work and maintaining relationship .




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Working with the Conscious and the Unconscious

          Unlike conventional democracy, Deep Democracy focuses on both the conscious and
           unconscious in individuals and groups. Deep Democracy works with the Freudian idea that there
           are both conscious levels and unconscious levels within individuals and at the group level.


           Both Freud and Jung formulated ideas on human psychology that have been likened to an ice-
           berg where the majority of consciousness sits under the water, the unconscious (and the pre-
           conscious), and only 10% of consciousness is above the water line.


           The consciousness above the water is the rational and cognitive aspects that are easier to talk
           about in work settings. The issues that sit beneath the water line are described as fish in Deep
           Democracy. These are the issues that if unaddressed can block a team from aligning or moving
           forwards.



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The Iceberg




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Pre-requisites for Applying Deep Democracy


             The principles of Deep Democracy can be used informally in the sense of trying to hear all views
             and incorporating the minority voice into a final decision. A family might use Deep Democracy
             when deciding where to go on holiday, for instance. When using Deep Democracy in a
             professional context it is important that you have the necessary buy-in from the people attending
             the meeting. This process of obtaining buy-in is called contracting and it is important to have
             the permission of participants before you begin a Deep Democracy process. There are a number
             of pre-requisites:
             -A firm commitment that the group wants to work with each other.
             -A willingness by the group to reach a decision that the whole group can go along with.
             -Sufficient time to complete the process.




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Decision-Making Steps

     When working with groups there is a Deep Democracy decision making process that can be applied as a
     facilitator to support the groups to make decisions: Steps to Decisions that Last

     Step      1: Everyone has a say
     Ask      for proposals (list these proposals on a white board accurately)
     Step      2: Create Safety and find the No
     Make        sure you’ve got all the proposals, even the most outlandish ideas. Take a vote to get a sense of
     majority-minority.
     Step      3: Spread the Role
     “Who        else disagrees or has an alternative proposal?”
     Step      4: Include the wisdom of the minority
     Ask      the minority, what would it take to come along with the majority?




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When Decision-making Breaks Down

               When you get to step 4 and you have not reached a decision, it may be that there are some
               deeper issues in the group that the group does not want to confront (below the waterline)
               The broken record conversation
               There are some ways of detecting an unresolved issue. The first is to listen out for cycling.
               When the group has a similar conversation again and again without seeming to reach an
               agreement or get into the deeper issues you can notice that the group is “cycling.” Cycling is
               repetitive, inconclusive debate and where a particular word or phrase initiates discomfort.
               The second way is to look at the behavior of the group. Are people relaxed and smiling or
               frowning? Is the atmosphere tense or relaxed? Are people fidgeting or nervously tapping
               tables. Are some people silent for the entire meeting? Are a few individuals dominating the
               conversation? Is the conversation slow or very fast paced?
               DD tool: going fishing
               As a facilitator you can use this tool by mentioning an undiscussable topic to the group. For
               example, “is it possible we are skirting around the issue of Sub Team A not completing his
               work for the recent deadline?”




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When decision-making breaks down continued:
                    When you observe that the group is not progressing on making a decision its likely
                    that the group actually has some unresolved conflict. At this point you have a range
                    of options:
                    1.Diagnose- what do you think the underlying issue is. “Get on the balcony”.
                    2.Look at multiple channels: cognitive/verbal, physical, emotional
                    3.Encourage fluidity of roles
                    4.Listen for public/ private narrative
                    5.Slow the conversation down.




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Moving Towards a Conflict: The Terrorist Line

   There are number of signs that as facilitators we can observe that a group is moving towards conflict,
           in Deep Democracy terms this is called ‘the terrorist line’.

   When are we on The Terrorist Line?

   - Jokes and sarcastic jokes (hidden conflict), Excuses (hidden conflict) ,Gossip (hidden conflict)

   - Communication breakdown (open conflict) Go slow (open conflict), Strike (open conflict)

   -War (open conflict)

    The space is dominated by power relations.

   How to keep the Terrorist line from getting closer to open conflict? Listening to the perspective of
           the “terrorist” and making a decision that includes the needs of all the strong views in the room.

   Tool: the weather report, feedback to participants all the major issues that have arisen so far.

   Slow the conversation down and stop participants so that each person can be heard.




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Role Theory

          In facilitating groups it is useful to consider both what role you are playing and the roles you see
           participants playing in a group. Are you playing the role of facilitator or participant?
          The facilitator is different from the rest of the group as she is interested in the well being of the
           group and is non-partisan.
           Role theory is a theory from social psychology that has been adapted by Arnold Mindell (1992).




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Role Theory

   The idea is that in a group individuals will be unconsciously drawn to playing specific roles
           (behaviours or archetypes): the devil’s advocate, the pragmatist, the joker, the quiet one, the
           observer and so on. The idea is that in a group where certain roles are unrepresented, others will
           then play the missing roles, even if they are not the normal roles they play. Deciding to play
           roles is often unconscious and groups are often unaware they have slipped into roles.



    Roles in groups can be:
              An idea, view/perspective, concept, or opinion
              A feeling or affect
              A symptom (headache, fatigue, stomach ache)
              An archetype. An archetype is a collection of behaviours such as mother, or artist.




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Role fluidity avoids scapegoating




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Stuck in a role

          In some groups certain individuals will be stuck in a particular role. The classic example is a
           classroom where a child is singled out as the naughty child.
           In a work context example, Javier, a group member might be stuck in the oppositional role. The
           group will think that Javier is always disrupting and disagreeing. The role is bigger than Javier
           though. So if Javier were to be absent from the group for a few weeks, some one else would take
           on the role of opposing or resisting ideas from the rest of the group. In an unhealthy group the
           group will scapegoat Javier. In a healthy group, individuals will identify with Javier’s position,
           and try and understand the motivations that come from his concerns. As a facilitator you might
           act to see if anyone else agrees with Javier to “spread the role” and support him to play other
           roles in the group.
          A group where there is role fluidity tends to be healthier than other groups or teams.




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Capacities: Neutrality and Suspending Judgment

          Neutrality. Maintaining neutrality as a facilitator. This is considered one of the most important
           skills of both facilitation and facilitating Deep Democracy. We are all drawn to like and identify
           some positions and perspectives above others. However, to maintain neutrality we will need to
           practice suspending judgment.
          How? Try not to judge the different positions of different stakeholders as right or wrong. Stay in
           understanding and inquiry mode. If you find yourself disagreeing, ask a question. Otto Scharmer
           from MIT suggests we all have an internal voice of judgment, the idea when facilitating is not to
           act from that voice, but to engage with it later.
          Notice when a group member triggers you or “presses your buttons” but follow it up later.




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Capacities: The Metaskills

          Metaskills that are useful to develop when running a Deep Democracy decision-making process
           and facilitation in general:

   1.       Neutrality- Not having a position and valuing all positions.

   2.       Light touch

   3.      Beginners Mind- Asking questions and inquiring (not assuming unknowns are known)

   4.      Humour

   5.      Patience

   6.       Awareness that being a facilitator is a position of power.

   7.      Compassion (empathsising with members of the group, particularly minority roles )




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Capacities for DD: Getting on the Balcony

   Capacities: Moving from participation to observation



         This is the idea of getting on the balcony comes from Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz at
           the Kennedy School at Harvard. Heifetz distinguishes participation in a group situation between
           being on the dance floor in a dance and being up on the balcony watching down on the dancers.
           The idea is that when you are in the dance, it is difficult to observe patterns across a whole
           group. But when you are on the balcony, observing the group, you become more detached, and
           from this place its easier to make interventions as a facilitator.




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Capacities: Channels of Intervention

            In a facilitation situation there are many different channels you can intervene in as a
            facilitator. For many people the linguistic cognitive channel is the one we feel most
            comfortable with. For example, if a conversation gets difficult we can suggest working on
            a different agenda item or talking through a particular topic in more detail. However, there
            are many other ways to intervene and it may be that another channel is what’s needed.
            •Physical. In this channel you may ask the group to sit down, you might stand up as a
            facilitator, you might suggest a game or an ice-breaker, or a stretch.
            •Emotional. This might entail making the meeting environment comfortable for people to
            speak freely about how they feel. This may involve being open about how you are feeling.
            •Cognitive Linguistic. This is at the rational level of following the discussion and reaching
            a solution or outcome from the discussion. It might entail break out groups to think
            through different strategic options for example.




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Learning Edges and the Blind Spot

          Learning edges are issues that a group finds difficult to deal with, or issues that are outside
           conscious awareness. A facilitator can help a group to become aware of topics that are on
           the groups edges. Groups often help facilitators, unwittingly, to become aware of her/his
           edges and this is worth reflecting on and exploring further.
          One way to spot your own edge as a facilitator is to think of a
           personality/profession/nationality/accent that makes you feel uncomfortable.
          Being aware of your edges is valuable as a facilitator. When you choose to ignore your
           own edges it might come and bite you when facilitating. A person might voice a
           perspective that you violently disagree with and you might lose your neutrality by reacting
           in a way that is not in the interest of the group.
          You can spot a groups edge’s by edge behaviour: cycling, nervousness, excuses,
           avoidance, fidgeting etc. You may need to “go fishing” to verify that you have got the
           nature of the edge right.

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Exercises to Practice


        1.         Sitting on the balcony: next time you find yourself in a debate try literally sitting on your
                   hands and just observing the debate. Take the on the balcony view and see the roles
                   others play.
        2.         The next time you hear an opinion you strongly disagree with try listening and asking a
                   question, explore ways that you can “share the role”, even if you find the perspective
                   extremely difficult.
        3.         The next time you are in a group or facilitating look for signs of conflict and try going
                   fishing, in the sense of seeing what unprocessed issues a group is trying to deal with.
        4.         Notice what topics in a group get cycled around but never get resolved.
        5.         Investigate your own edges.




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References and Further Reading


                 The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization
                 and the World” by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
                 The Facilitators Guide by John Heron
                 Impro by Keith Johnstone
                 Inside the No: Steps to Decisions that Last by Myrna Lewis
                 Leader as Martial Artist by Arnold Mindell
                 A Theory of Social Change by Doug Reeler
                 Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts by James C. Scott
                 Understanding ‘Roles’ and The Impact on a Culture of Safety by Georgina Veldhorst




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A Visual Summary of Deep Democracy




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CALP deep democracy webinar

  • 1. An Introduction to Deep Democracy Mia Eisenstadt | Reos Partners | Aug 1, 2012 Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Program, Oxfam GB This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 2. Material to be Covered 1. When is Deep Democracy useful? 2. What is Deep Democracy? 3. The Principles of Deep Democracy 4. The Iceberg: Working with the Conscious and Unconscious in Groups 5. The Decision Making Steps (A recap) 6. When Decision-Making breaks down 7. The Terrorist Line 8. Role Theory 9. Capacities required for Deep Democracy 10. Exercises 11. References 12. Visual Summary This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 3. Deep Democracy Can Be Useful in Situations With Four Characteristics 1. They are working with a group that is committed to working together in the long-term (there is a commitment to the relationship). 2. Decision-making in the group has led to a situation where there is a majority or minority position and the group cannot reach consensus or a decision that brings the minority along. 3. There is a commitment to facilitating a conversation where all stakeholders have an equal opportunity to contribute. 4. There is a need for a decision that will last. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 4. Deep Democracy is…  The pragmatic, practical decision-making methodology and tool kit designed by Myrna and Greg Lewis. Deep democracy takes a democratic approach that is different from conventional democracy in that it aims to incorporate the “losing” side in the outcome of a democratic process.  Based in Process Orientated Psychology, a framework by Arnold Mindell that can be applied to psychotherapy, relationships, small and large groups and social issues.  Myrna Lewis argues that conventional democracy is unsustainable. Following a vote in conventional democracy, the idea that the losing minority will disappear, but this is a myth. Instead she argues that the minority will consolidate and gain strength and try to undermine the majority position, it will go underground. Thus the value of listening and including the agenda of the minority is to contribute to wider ownership of the outcome and more sustainable decision.  This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 5. The Principles of Deep Democracy 1. The articulated views of participants in a group are influenced by the subconscious hopes, fears and preferences of group members. 2. Every group has a unique atmosphere that is influenced by the conscious and unconscious agendas of the participants. 3. The minority views in a group have wisdom that is relevant for the whole group. 4. There is value to conflict and overcoming conflict. 5. Relationship is the most important aspect of group work and maintaining relationship . This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 6. Working with the Conscious and the Unconscious  Unlike conventional democracy, Deep Democracy focuses on both the conscious and unconscious in individuals and groups. Deep Democracy works with the Freudian idea that there are both conscious levels and unconscious levels within individuals and at the group level.  Both Freud and Jung formulated ideas on human psychology that have been likened to an ice- berg where the majority of consciousness sits under the water, the unconscious (and the pre- conscious), and only 10% of consciousness is above the water line.  The consciousness above the water is the rational and cognitive aspects that are easier to talk about in work settings. The issues that sit beneath the water line are described as fish in Deep Democracy. These are the issues that if unaddressed can block a team from aligning or moving forwards. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 7. The Iceberg This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 8. Pre-requisites for Applying Deep Democracy The principles of Deep Democracy can be used informally in the sense of trying to hear all views and incorporating the minority voice into a final decision. A family might use Deep Democracy when deciding where to go on holiday, for instance. When using Deep Democracy in a professional context it is important that you have the necessary buy-in from the people attending the meeting. This process of obtaining buy-in is called contracting and it is important to have the permission of participants before you begin a Deep Democracy process. There are a number of pre-requisites: -A firm commitment that the group wants to work with each other. -A willingness by the group to reach a decision that the whole group can go along with. -Sufficient time to complete the process. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 9. Decision-Making Steps When working with groups there is a Deep Democracy decision making process that can be applied as a facilitator to support the groups to make decisions: Steps to Decisions that Last Step 1: Everyone has a say Ask for proposals (list these proposals on a white board accurately) Step 2: Create Safety and find the No Make sure you’ve got all the proposals, even the most outlandish ideas. Take a vote to get a sense of majority-minority. Step 3: Spread the Role “Who else disagrees or has an alternative proposal?” Step 4: Include the wisdom of the minority Ask the minority, what would it take to come along with the majority? This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 10. When Decision-making Breaks Down When you get to step 4 and you have not reached a decision, it may be that there are some deeper issues in the group that the group does not want to confront (below the waterline) The broken record conversation There are some ways of detecting an unresolved issue. The first is to listen out for cycling. When the group has a similar conversation again and again without seeming to reach an agreement or get into the deeper issues you can notice that the group is “cycling.” Cycling is repetitive, inconclusive debate and where a particular word or phrase initiates discomfort. The second way is to look at the behavior of the group. Are people relaxed and smiling or frowning? Is the atmosphere tense or relaxed? Are people fidgeting or nervously tapping tables. Are some people silent for the entire meeting? Are a few individuals dominating the conversation? Is the conversation slow or very fast paced? DD tool: going fishing As a facilitator you can use this tool by mentioning an undiscussable topic to the group. For example, “is it possible we are skirting around the issue of Sub Team A not completing his work for the recent deadline?” This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 11. When decision-making breaks down continued: When you observe that the group is not progressing on making a decision its likely that the group actually has some unresolved conflict. At this point you have a range of options: 1.Diagnose- what do you think the underlying issue is. “Get on the balcony”. 2.Look at multiple channels: cognitive/verbal, physical, emotional 3.Encourage fluidity of roles 4.Listen for public/ private narrative 5.Slow the conversation down. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 12. Moving Towards a Conflict: The Terrorist Line There are number of signs that as facilitators we can observe that a group is moving towards conflict, in Deep Democracy terms this is called ‘the terrorist line’. When are we on The Terrorist Line? - Jokes and sarcastic jokes (hidden conflict), Excuses (hidden conflict) ,Gossip (hidden conflict) - Communication breakdown (open conflict) Go slow (open conflict), Strike (open conflict) -War (open conflict) The space is dominated by power relations. How to keep the Terrorist line from getting closer to open conflict? Listening to the perspective of the “terrorist” and making a decision that includes the needs of all the strong views in the room. Tool: the weather report, feedback to participants all the major issues that have arisen so far. Slow the conversation down and stop participants so that each person can be heard. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 13. Role Theory  In facilitating groups it is useful to consider both what role you are playing and the roles you see participants playing in a group. Are you playing the role of facilitator or participant?  The facilitator is different from the rest of the group as she is interested in the well being of the group and is non-partisan.  Role theory is a theory from social psychology that has been adapted by Arnold Mindell (1992). This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 14. Role Theory The idea is that in a group individuals will be unconsciously drawn to playing specific roles (behaviours or archetypes): the devil’s advocate, the pragmatist, the joker, the quiet one, the observer and so on. The idea is that in a group where certain roles are unrepresented, others will then play the missing roles, even if they are not the normal roles they play. Deciding to play roles is often unconscious and groups are often unaware they have slipped into roles.  Roles in groups can be:  An idea, view/perspective, concept, or opinion  A feeling or affect  A symptom (headache, fatigue, stomach ache)  An archetype. An archetype is a collection of behaviours such as mother, or artist. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 15. Role fluidity avoids scapegoating This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 16. Stuck in a role  In some groups certain individuals will be stuck in a particular role. The classic example is a classroom where a child is singled out as the naughty child.  In a work context example, Javier, a group member might be stuck in the oppositional role. The group will think that Javier is always disrupting and disagreeing. The role is bigger than Javier though. So if Javier were to be absent from the group for a few weeks, some one else would take on the role of opposing or resisting ideas from the rest of the group. In an unhealthy group the group will scapegoat Javier. In a healthy group, individuals will identify with Javier’s position, and try and understand the motivations that come from his concerns. As a facilitator you might act to see if anyone else agrees with Javier to “spread the role” and support him to play other roles in the group.  A group where there is role fluidity tends to be healthier than other groups or teams. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 17. Capacities: Neutrality and Suspending Judgment  Neutrality. Maintaining neutrality as a facilitator. This is considered one of the most important skills of both facilitation and facilitating Deep Democracy. We are all drawn to like and identify some positions and perspectives above others. However, to maintain neutrality we will need to practice suspending judgment.  How? Try not to judge the different positions of different stakeholders as right or wrong. Stay in understanding and inquiry mode. If you find yourself disagreeing, ask a question. Otto Scharmer from MIT suggests we all have an internal voice of judgment, the idea when facilitating is not to act from that voice, but to engage with it later.  Notice when a group member triggers you or “presses your buttons” but follow it up later. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 18. Capacities: The Metaskills  Metaskills that are useful to develop when running a Deep Democracy decision-making process and facilitation in general: 1. Neutrality- Not having a position and valuing all positions. 2. Light touch 3. Beginners Mind- Asking questions and inquiring (not assuming unknowns are known) 4. Humour 5. Patience 6. Awareness that being a facilitator is a position of power. 7. Compassion (empathsising with members of the group, particularly minority roles ) This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 19. Capacities for DD: Getting on the Balcony Capacities: Moving from participation to observation This is the idea of getting on the balcony comes from Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz at the Kennedy School at Harvard. Heifetz distinguishes participation in a group situation between being on the dance floor in a dance and being up on the balcony watching down on the dancers. The idea is that when you are in the dance, it is difficult to observe patterns across a whole group. But when you are on the balcony, observing the group, you become more detached, and from this place its easier to make interventions as a facilitator. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 20. Capacities: Channels of Intervention In a facilitation situation there are many different channels you can intervene in as a facilitator. For many people the linguistic cognitive channel is the one we feel most comfortable with. For example, if a conversation gets difficult we can suggest working on a different agenda item or talking through a particular topic in more detail. However, there are many other ways to intervene and it may be that another channel is what’s needed. •Physical. In this channel you may ask the group to sit down, you might stand up as a facilitator, you might suggest a game or an ice-breaker, or a stretch. •Emotional. This might entail making the meeting environment comfortable for people to speak freely about how they feel. This may involve being open about how you are feeling. •Cognitive Linguistic. This is at the rational level of following the discussion and reaching a solution or outcome from the discussion. It might entail break out groups to think through different strategic options for example. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 21. Learning Edges and the Blind Spot  Learning edges are issues that a group finds difficult to deal with, or issues that are outside conscious awareness. A facilitator can help a group to become aware of topics that are on the groups edges. Groups often help facilitators, unwittingly, to become aware of her/his edges and this is worth reflecting on and exploring further.  One way to spot your own edge as a facilitator is to think of a personality/profession/nationality/accent that makes you feel uncomfortable.  Being aware of your edges is valuable as a facilitator. When you choose to ignore your own edges it might come and bite you when facilitating. A person might voice a perspective that you violently disagree with and you might lose your neutrality by reacting in a way that is not in the interest of the group.  You can spot a groups edge’s by edge behaviour: cycling, nervousness, excuses, avoidance, fidgeting etc. You may need to “go fishing” to verify that you have got the nature of the edge right. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 22. Exercises to Practice 1. Sitting on the balcony: next time you find yourself in a debate try literally sitting on your hands and just observing the debate. Take the on the balcony view and see the roles others play. 2. The next time you hear an opinion you strongly disagree with try listening and asking a question, explore ways that you can “share the role”, even if you find the perspective extremely difficult. 3. The next time you are in a group or facilitating look for signs of conflict and try going fishing, in the sense of seeing what unprocessed issues a group is trying to deal with. 4. Notice what topics in a group get cycled around but never get resolved. 5. Investigate your own edges. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 23. References and Further Reading The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World” by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky The Facilitators Guide by John Heron Impro by Keith Johnstone Inside the No: Steps to Decisions that Last by Myrna Lewis Leader as Martial Artist by Arnold Mindell A Theory of Social Change by Doug Reeler Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts by James C. Scott Understanding ‘Roles’ and The Impact on a Culture of Safety by Georgina Veldhorst This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 24. A Visual Summary of Deep Democracy This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Editor's Notes

  1. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  2. Freud wrote about a Psychoanalytic Model of Identity . Deep democracy involves being appreciative of both the rational and cognitive aspects of a group, as well as the emotional and irrational aspects that influence desires, anxieties and motivations within a group. This unconscious aspect has a big role in supporting a group from aligning around a common goal or agreement. Deep Democracy takes the unconscious into account as this can be the source of conflicts and blocks that stop the group moving forward or aligning. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  3. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com
  4. Source: Inside the No by Myrna Lewis This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com
  5. If that is not the issue then a participant might mention what the real issue is. As a facilitator you might pull up a few boots or small fish before you pull up a really big fish (an issue that is important for the group to deal with before moving forward but is quite sensitive). This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com
  6. The public private narrative is an idea from the anthropologist James C Scott that in any group there is a public narrative or discourse, and there is also what is spoken about in coffee breaks, small group conversations and through gossip. The idea is to attend to both as if there is a conflict, individuals may or may not bring it up publically, but they will bring it up privately with trusted colleagues and friends. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  7. The 10 second gap can help. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  8. See The Leader as Martial Artist by Mindell and Inside the No by Lewis Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  9. For more on the Voice of Judgment see Otto Scharmer, Theory U. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  10. See Mindell and Lewis Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  11. Being on the balcony requires temporarily suspending your own attachment to the issues at hand. See The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization andthe World” by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  12. Creative. You might suggest some stimulus or engaging in a creative activity as a way of dealing with a given challenge Activity. You might suggest that the group attends a field trip, undergoes a scenario process, has a meal together or whatever is needed to fulfil a specific goal. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
  13. Getting an edge wrong is not necessarily helpful to the group, if you do, apologise, check with the group and move on. See Arnold Mindell for more on Learning Edges. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com
  14. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, www.reospartners.com, kahane@reospartners.com