Deep Democracy

Unresolved conflict can destroy a team, undermine a project, and make work miserable. On the other hand, teams that can navigate tension and difference can innovate and thrive.

The Lewis Method of Deep Democracy was developed by Myrna and Greg Lewis, psychologists who were asked to help a large South African company work through the legacy of apartheid.

Deep Democracy welcomes differences in opinion, perspective, and style. It provides structured, focused methods for helping people hear the messages in the communication, regardless of the method of delivery, and explore differences in ways that are productive and respectful. Deep Democracy gives people tools that can help them facilitate tough conversations and achieve resolution.

Partnering Resources is one of the few American companies delivering Lewis Deep Democracy services. We also provide consultation and facilitation. For more on our services, read below.

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Deep Democracy Workshops

Anyone can learn the skills of Deep Democracy. In our foundational course, called CoResolve, we help people develop the skills they need to successfully navigate tension, lead successful meetings, and make group decisions that stick. Participants gain:

  • Skills for steering conversations and make lasting decisions
  • Ability to head off polarization and help groups engage productively with conflict
  • Tools for healing interpersonal rifts that impede team effectiveness
  • Increased capacity to achieve real commitment and engagement through participation

Class sizes are small–fewer than eleven people–so all have ample opportunity to practice. The 15-hour course can be delivered over 2, 3, 4, or 5 days via Zoom or over 2 – 3 days in person. Download the course outline.

Deep Democracy can help forge stronger relationships and generate more effective decisions. What’s unique and valuable about Deep Democracy is that it is based on the understanding that conflict is inherent in collective decision-making, and that identifying and working through conflict, before it becomes intransigent is an integral skill needed at all scales and in all contexts. As such, it is the most actionable and realistic approach to conflict management I’ve come across. – Christine Capra, Greater than Sum, Minnesota

Contact us to learn about upcoming public CoResolve classes or bring CoResolve to your organization.

Deep Democracy Practice & Coaching

Deepen and refine your Deep Democracy practice! This four-part group practice and coaching series accomplishes several goals:

  • It provides participants with opportunities to practice and refine the skills learned in Deep Democracy CoResolve
  • It allows participants to receive feedback on their Deep Democracy techniques
  • It introduces participants to several new tools (TBD, but which may include Communication Habits, Role Mapping, and the Compassion Exercise)
  • It helps participants integrate Deep Democracy techniques into their existing practice

Sessions will be scheduled approximately every other week in accordance with participant schedules. The number of participants will be limited so all have the chance to practice.

I am so glad that I took the Practice and Coaching sessions. These sessions were important to solidifying the learning offered in the Level 1 course. The only way to learn facilitation skills is to practice and practice some more and getting to do that in a small group under the wise guidance of Maya gave me more confidence in implementing the techniques. – Lisa Negsted, Negsted Consulting, Minnesota

The sessions after the training were a really great opportunity to revisit what we had learnt in a safe and supportive space. We could show up with our doubts and insecurities knowing we would have a chance to practise and connect more deeply with our colleagues. It was very useful, fun and touching. I look forward to more! – Roxane Loiseaux, Questhills LTD, UK

I was delighted that Maya was also offering the Practice and Coaching series. The initial training was great and had me hooked. The Practice and Coaching not only gave us plenty of… practice and coaching…!, it also increased the sense of community amongst the group of us who had started this experience together. As anyone who has experienced CoResolve with Maya will know, she creates a wonderful space of warmth, acceptance, and learning. She models how to be when accompanying a group even when challenging subjects come up, and her feedback is always encouraging and supportive. – Nick Martin, Questhills LTD, UK

Interested in deepening your Deep Democracy skills? Contact us for more information.

Deep Democracy Consulting

Sometimes teams need a little support. We help when there are tough issues to navigate, when conflict arises, or when stakes are high. We can consult with you to create conflict-capable cultures or facilitate meetings using the Deep Democracy methodology. As a result of our work together, organizations gain:

  • Capacity to navigate conflicts successfully
  • Resolution to high-stakes, challenging issues
  • Commitment and alignment around strategy and direction
  • Ability to work with differences as assets and sources of creativity rather than a challenge

My experience with Maya and her Deep Democracy approach was phenomenal. My colleague and I were finally able to clearly communicate and voice our concerns in a way that was productive and helped us rise to a new level of leadership. Under Maya’s direction, I felt as though I was heard, and we were, in even one session, able to resolve many issues. I strongly endorse Maya’s approach; it simply works and allows for open, honest work environments. – Dr. AJ Eckert, Medical Director, Anchor Health 

Contact us for more information.

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