An unusual "Leadership Workshop" by Sabancı University Executive Development Unit
Sabancı University Executive Development Unit – EDU hosted a "Leadership Workshop" on Friday, December 11, 2015 at the Avantgarde Hotel. The keynote speaker of the event was “Lewis Method" founder and Deep Democracy LTD CEO Myrna Lewis, who has spoken in nine countries across five continents under the theme of "Leadership Dialogues." Myrna Lewis won the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001. In 2006, the United Nations recognized the "Lewis Method" as one of eighty leading African innovations. In 2012 Myrna became involved with the government of Sweden to implement the Lewis Method in innovation and changes in Swedish political practices. Large scale community dialogues were initiated to involve Swedish citizens in major decisions. In 2014 commenced teaching the Lewis Method to The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Turin, Italy.
Myrna Lewis deals with "Democratic Leadership" not like a conventional conference lecture, but elicits the involvement of all participants to reveal all the different opinions among the audience. Bringing together executives and leadership development directors from the largest Turkish companies, the workshop aimed to help participants study the notion of democratic leadership from all angles to boost their own leadership development and come up with new and groundbreaking ideas. In addition to Democratic Leadership discussions, a large group facilitation enabled everyone to experience how participatory democratic leadership works, and understand the groundbreaking and innovative approach to dialog, discussion and achieving group wisdom considering the size of the group and the way different opinions are handled.
About Myrna Lewis and the Lewis Method:
Co-founder of the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy and CEO of Deep democracy LTD, Myrna Lewis is a clinical psychologist from South Africa who completed further training in Process Orientated Psychology and Psycho Synthesis. Her clinical practice led her to the corporate world in 1984 when she joined a multinational company as HR director. In 1986 she became a consultant and has since been involved with facilitating large- scale transformation processes within corporate, NGO, NPO and social activist organisations in South Africa, and internationally.
Deep Democracy emerged when Myrna and her late husband Greg Lewis, were contracted by Eskom (SA utility company) to assist in the cultural transformation of the organization. It is a conflict management approach that was developed during the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. It is an unusual and innovative method that enables even difficult and guarded opinions to be spoken, thus helping to solve problems that seemed insurmountable in the beginning.
The method was designed to help employees resolve racial tensions among themselves. The emphasis of the Lewis Method has been on practical and pragmatic applications for people in the general population who have not been trained in the human sciences. The Lewis Method quickly spread and was used successfully in numerous countries. It involves the values, beliefs and attitudes of participants in the process, enriching the experience and knowledge of the group to reach the "deep."
It aims to make full use of group dynamics to facilitate dialog about difficult, challenging or unconventional sentiments and opinions to add the voice of the minority to majority decisions, providing for a more democratic process.
Myrna is recipient of a 2001 Ashoka Fellowship award, which supported her empowerment world with South African teachers and HIV/Aids counsellors. Myrna is mother of two and grandmother of four. She continues to travel the world to facilitate Deep Democracy training and processes internationally. Myrna is also the author of the book Inside the No where she explains this approach.