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Showing self-leadership in disruptive times



Virginia Anderson of Matrix Consulting is seen speaking at a British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg breakfast workshop, 15 June 2022. Photo: BCC/Ian Sanderson

Virginia Anderson of Matrix Consulting is seen speaking at a British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg breakfast workshop, 15 June 2022. Photo: BCC/Ian Sanderson

Participants in a workshop this week were moved by the “Deep Democracy” approach, Keith Amoss of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg, writes in this guest contribution.

How do you show self-leadership in disruptive times? Not an easy question. At a fascinating “Deep Democracy” event held on Wednesday morning, we attempted to provide an answer.

Hosted by the People and Leadership Group of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg, the purpose of this highly interactive event was to encourage BCC members and guests to discover different views by taking on different roles. The participants collectively decided that a relevant question was whether the current challenges also gave great opportunity.

This so-called “Deep Democracy” approach has been defined as “a facilitation method for everybody who works with groups or individuals and aims for a greater group dynamic while allowing the participants to intervene actively.”

After a welcome from Andrew Notter, vice chair of the BCC, Virginia Anderson of Matrix Consulting facilitated the process and ensured a lively and fun spirit in the room as she talked participants through various steps.

The idea was that one participant opened with a statement related to an idea or a thought around the topic. He or she took a particular perspective perhaps as a CEO or an individual employee.

Following the statement, other participants reflected on it and rather than answering directly, they stepped towards that person, if they shared the same viewpoint, or took a step back if they disagreed. As more people stepped forward to speak, building on themes or taking opposing views, the body of people gradually moved around the room.

Creating such a lively gathering over breakfast is unusual, to be sure, but it led to powerful and honest statements, terrific group interaction and a lot of movement. It left people feeling they had reached a positive outcome.

The event itself, which included BCC members working in finance, real estate, law,  recruitment and a host of other functions led to an  impressive range of viewpoints.

Powerful words and catchphrases emerged: opportunity, resilience, happiness; and the discussion soon became very meaningful. Topics arose as people took on various positions and shared views such as on the importance of self-improvement and continuous learning during a career transition, or the role of recruiters today.

Conclusions were drawn and statements made--sometimes contentious but always interesting, such as: “Recruiters are not always responsive towards applications, or simply reject them without further comments, so we should maybe empower our circle of friends by building our own company and hiring more people we know!”

Attendees are seen at a BCC breakfast workshop, held at Breakk, the new premises of Kaempff-Kohler in Kirchberg, 15 June 2022. Photo: BCC/Ian Sanderson

Attendees are seen at a BCC breakfast workshop, held at Breakk, the new premises of Kaempff-Kohler in Kirchberg, 15 June 2022. Photo: BCC/Ian Sanderson

When it came to having the courage to take risks, start a new business and become your own boss, there were mixed feelings, with some strong proponents for the idea while others were more inclined to work for an organisation. Views were mixed on whether every employee in the company needed to share the same values or was diversity the key to success? A strongly supported idea was that that if a company advertises its values then it should legitimately implement them in practice. At times, strong emotions filled the room to jostle with with interesting perspectives and insights.  

In closing, there did appear to be one thing everyone agreed on. The event had left them feeling empowered and more willing to listen to others during these challenging times. The general message on self-leadership was that one should aim move towards opportunities and away from fear.

Dr Keith Amoss, a career coaching and mentoring consultant, is a member of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg’s people and leadership group.