In An Interdependent World There Is No Them And Us, Only Us
The old certainties are gone. The disruption caused by the General Election result will inevitably cause instability - and opportunity. Now is the time for new thinking, a break from the old paradigms. You don't solve your problems by using the same thinking that got you into them, as Einstein would say.
“Justice” Report for England and Wales: A Missed Opportunity for Radical Change
"Justice", a UK think-tank committed to legal reform, launched a new report in April 2015 entitled "Delivering Justice in an Age of Austerity". It proposes significant changes to the justice system of England and Wales, including a new character, the "Registrar", who would have powers to mediate, provide early neutral evaluation, dismiss cases or refer them to a judge. The article provides a detailed critique of the proposals, concluding that despite great merit, they extend the "shadow of the law" by making early neutral evaluation the default. A more radical and empowering change would have been to make mediation the default, with ENE and adjudication the remedial alternatives.
Making Better Use of Mediation to Resolve Disputes and Manage Difficult Issues
Mediation encourages parties who have – or who anticipate having – differences, conflict or a dispute to sit down and talk, with a view to finding a mutually acceptable way forward. It is usually most appropriate when, for a number of reasons, people are unable to negotiate effectively for themselves or have reached some sort of impasse or deadlock. It recognises that direct negotiations can be difficult in many situations. It can also be effective to prevent awkward situations escalating.
Consolidation and Conflict in the Health Care Industry
The health care industry has experienced a significant increase in consolidations among providers of facilities and services alike. From drugs to devices to service providers, 2014 saw the largest consolidation within the health care industry in the past 20 years. - See more at: http://jamsadrblog.com/#sthash.AQhZ4CpV.dpuf
“Bags of Trouble”
I started getting interested in conflict resolution back in the late 90s. At the time I was a business analyst working on retail supply chain issues.
So You Think You Don’t Need Dispute Resolution in Your Organisation?
Over the next 6 weeks we will be following Carol, Mike and their colleagues, as they experience the difficulties that arise when we don’t have the skills to handle conflict at work. It all ends in an unnecessary grievance; so how did something that started out as a small problem get to that outcome?
Why We Have Different Experiences
How often does this happen to us? We experience the same action as another person and walk away from the action with a totally different perspective that happened. It happens at staff meetings, conversations with our bosses or employees, and even with our partners and kids.
Compliance Success with Mediated Settlements in Small Claims
A report on the success of mediated settlement agreements by SEEDS Community Resolution Center's mediation team in Small Claims Court in Alameda County. High compliance with settlements has provided litigant parties with a reliable and effective way to resolve their cases using interest-based negotiation within a community mediation model.
Overcoming Reluctance to Engage in Mediation
Many attorneys know and appreciate the benefits of mediation. Those who are familiar with the benefits of mediation readily propose and eagerly participate in it. However, should you encounter any resistance, how can it be addressed?
Plaintiffs file lawsuits seeking “justice”. Defendants respond, stating they are seeking “justice” as well. Both come to mediation, seeking “justice”. When I am told this, that each side wants “justice”, I am not sure how to respond because I do not know exactly what that word means.
The 2016 Global Pound Conference Series
In April 1976, an event now known as the Pound Conference ignited modern ADR in the USA, launching discussion of what might be the “greatest reform in the history of the country’s judicial system “. Forty years later, all stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields around the world are being invited to participate in a series of unique thought leadership events around the globe under the auspices of a Global Pound Conference (“GPC”) series.
The Little Things in Our Relationship Won’t Ruin Us
A few months ago Yahoo Style published an item by Sloane Bradshaw that talked about how letting the little things go in her relationship ended her marriage. The headline caught my eye and, as I began to read, I expected to recognize small warning signs in my own relationship.
This is a repost of a blog from a few years ago that was recently brought to my attention. I received a message from a reader that asked if I could point them to the follow-up posts that I alluded to in this post. As I searched for the follow-ups I realized that I didn’t actually write any! So…in the coming weeks (this time) I’ll be posting more about this communication model and it’s awesomeness.
Dissolution- Don’t let the Resolve Dissolve
I was helping this couple, Jane and John of course, sort out the details of their divorce. The item that was the most difficult to “separate” was the china cabinet. They had invested time, and money, and both had an attachment to it. We were on our 3rd session and they had been able to remain in the same room every time. When we discussed the cabinet they got real snippy so it was time to visit with them separately.
Presenting Your Presentation: A Few Words
The passing of William Zinsser leads me to offer some suggestions on writing well in a specific context: applying to present at a professional conference, or seeking to attract participants to a workshop, based on over forty years of both writing and reviewing proposals.
Musings of a Long Time Arbitrator
Musings of a Long Time Arbitrator reflects on the positive and challenging aspects of serving as a neutral, in a manner both realistic and humorous. Similar practitioners will be able to immediately relate, and those that seek or utilize the services of ADR providers will get a direct look at the implications of a neutral’s daily reality.
Workplace Systemic Issues: Do Your Leaders Really Want to Know?
Like many conflict resolution or ADR professionals who start as a mediator, it doesn’t take long before a mediator doing workplace cases in one organization begins to wonder about the organization’s culture, communication, or leadership skills. “If only the organization had better practices, the mediation (or coaching or training or group facilitation) wouldn’t be needed”, many have thought.
Bearing Witness to Suffering: Mediating in the Shadow of Pain
Philosopher Simone Weil wrote, "Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one's attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle.
Competition to Cooperation
When I started mediating cases, I never thought that I would have to be aware of or learn advanced mathematics. But a book that I recently finished has shown me otherwise.
Juries of Their Peers
When I was in fourth grade, a few millennia ago, our teacher established a system so we could settle a lot of our own disputes. General mischief-maker, Walter, was elected judge, a decision that completely confounded our teacher, and the class was the jury.
In This Corner: The Antisocial Personality Disorder (It’s all about me!) Hostage-taker
A few years ago, police in New England cornered a young man, who, after a long hot pursuit from an aborted bank robbery in Vermont entered a residence in Massachusetts, and took a deputy sheriff and his children hostage in their home. This individual, who said he had to rob the bank because his parole agent was demanding he repay the car loan that he lost gambling, met his father for the first time when they were in the same state prison. During protracted negotiations, he rationalized his situation and blamed others for his troubles.
Recipes for Success
I love the cookbook that Andrea and 1001 chefs wrote, Cooking Up a Deal: Negotiation Recipes for Success. It’s a wonderfully short and fun piece to assign for the last day of class.
Bush and Folger on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future
Dusty and Vicky Rhoades, Dan Simon
One of the many things that Baruch Bush and Joe Folger have contributed to the mediation community is the stimulus to engage in difficult conversation about how we support participants in conflict. What informs our practice? What does it mean when I say that I’m committed to participant self-determination? Baruch and Joe’s recent article on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future and their challenge to return to “an original vision of the mediation field” has certainly stimulated conversation and strong reaction.
Managing the Cost of Conflict
Alessandra Sgubini Roxanne De La Roche
Conflict is a common occurrence in society. It arises everywhere, among different types of parties, in different parts of the world, and for different reasons. If conflict is not addressed properly it can escalate and degenerate leaving serious consequences in its wake. This article explores the true costs of conflict, methods to address conflict, and how to prevent conflicts from escalating in the first place.
Evaluating a Consensus Building Effort
I worry a lot about how to evaluate the success or failure of consensus building efforts in which I get involved. When I try to convince someone in a position of responsibility to commit to consensus building, I need to tell them how they'll be able to gauge the results.
Control Your Emotions Better by Labeling Them
If you want to control your emotions better during difficult conversations, do something counter-intuitive: Give up trying not to feel them. Instead, put a label on them. Recognizing and naming an emotion can have a powerful effect on quelling it. Psych professor Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, calls it “affect labeling.” You can use affect labeling to help yourself and others.
The Simplest Way to Negotiate
I have mediated over 1400 matters. Thus, I have seen parties approach negotiation in a myriad of ways; some appear to be “winging it” while others appear to have some sort of strategy in mind. The common thread appears to be “self-interest” or how can each party get the best deal possible. Yet, pursuing one’s own self-interest at the expense of the other party often leads to poor results for both parties.
Outwitting Cognitive Dissonance
We like to believe that we are rational beings who make rational decisions. Sometimes, we are. And sometimes, we are not.
Advocacy in Mediation
Advocacy is recommendation of a cause. Advocacy presupposes a difference of opinion or a conflict and the need to clarify the ‘knot’, get to understand the root cause and then acknowledge consequences. Mediation advocacy pre-supposes support by the mediator for resolution and projection of a cause by the counsel/ party.
Unbroken Circles for Schools - Book Review
Ken Johnson, Barb Caffrey
"Unbroken Circles for Schools" is an excellent nonfiction read about conflict, social justice, and restorative justice. Mr. Johnson's premise is that our criminal justice system is doing juvenile offenders a grave disservice. Rather than sending juvenile offenders into the prison system (where they mostly learn only to re-offend), we need to teach the principles of restorative justice instead -- and where else should these principles be taught but in the schools?
What Is A Humanistic Approach to Mediation? An Overview
Mark S. Umbreit, Ted Lewis
A humanistic approach to mediation developed in parallel to the transformative approach to mediation in the 1990's. While fully harmonizing with transformative mediation, a humanistic approach brings several additional emphases that can deepen the work of mediators in both dispute resolution and restorative justice work. The 'human-element' is highlighted by giving greater attention to several humanizing capacities in mediation.
Beyond “Being Difficult”!
Recently I read an article about two lawyers assaulting each other during a deposition being conducted in the courthouse. Two attorneys were arrested and charged with simple assault on Wednesday after they got into a heated dispute that turned into a fist fight at the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, authorities and witnesses said.
More Online Mediation Needed Before We Can Measure Effectiveness
The author suggests that a larger number of cases must be mediated online before determining the effectiveness of any online methodology. The author draws similarities between the advantages and disadvantages often cited for online education and online mediation and contends that what we’ve learned in education can readily carry over to mediation.
Getting to Yes – With Yourself -- Book Review
William Ury, John Sturrock
“In the morning when I look at myself in the mirror, I like to remind myself that I am seeing the person who is probably going to give me the most trouble that day, the opponent who will be the biggest obstacle to me getting what I truly want.”
The Slippery Slope
Everyone enters into a negotiation with the intent to be honest. But- ay- that is the “rub”. One party’s (“Jane”) definition of “honesty” may be different than the other party’s (“Mary”). Why? Research has shown that one’s honesty will vary with the environment.
When Did Asking Questions Become a Sign of Weakness?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably also reacted poorly to a co-worker or an individual you manage. A quote by Edgar Schein recently jumped out at me when he said, “We are biased toward telling instead of asking because we live in a pragmatic, problem-solving culture in which knowing things and telling others what we know is valued.” We don’t have to look too far or hard to see what Schein is saying. Our bosses tell us what to do, our family and friends tell us what they would do in our particular situation, and each “expert” has an answer for us at the tip of their tongue.
Bringing Court ADR Programs into the Courtroom
As the RSI foreclosure mediation team continues to incubate foreclosure mediation in Illinois, we have explored a variety of ways to reach out and connect with homeowners who could benefit from our programs’ services. One approach has been to establish our programs’ presence at the courthouses where homeowners are attempting to navigate the foreclosure process. Going to court can be an overwhelming or intimidating prospect for homeowners facing foreclosure.
Ironically, Bush and Folger are Evaluative
There is room in our field for a broad spectrum of mediation approaches. We should celebrate innovation and a greater diversity, rather than disparage the methods of others. This article rebuts Bush and Folger’s article: Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination. Their article attempts to redefine mediation in their own image. I push back at their attempt to elbow out any mediator that does not adhere to their transformative philosophy. No single approach has cornered the market on mediation, nor should it. Our collective approach to mediation should not be shackled by rigid doctrines; it should be varied and flexible, adapting to the desires of the parties we serve. This is real Self-Determination.
Conflict and Psychological Development: “Six Stages of Conflict Reasoning”
In the 1960’s the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) listed six stages of moral development. Kohlberg says these stages can’t be jumped, you have to go through them in order. And they are universal, they apply no matter what culture you’re in. With a little thought we can link these to conflict and conflict resolution. Kohlberg’s stages don’t only tell us about a person’s moral reasoning, they also tell us what kind of conflict they get into and how we can help them to deal with it.
Good Practice Framework
“Universities should include mediation in their framework for handling student complaints,” says the IOAHE – and so say all of us at CMP! The formal process is long, complex and saps everyone’s time and energy; most students with complaints about staff behaviours and attitude would prefer to talk it out, in our experience.
Applied Decision Theory
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Richard Birke, a law professor at Willamette University, gave a talk at the ABA Dispute Resolution conference expressing frustration with the term "Alternative Dispute Resolution." The term is too limiting to describe the many ways that the skills of negotiation, mediation, and other forms of conflict resolution can be applied in practice.