I’ve been teaching a class at the University of Colorado on conflict skills. At the beginning of the semester, I ask students what they’re good at when they engage in conflict, and what they’re not good at – what they might like to learn how to do better.
Years and years ago, long before the Internet, I remember reading a political cartoon that stuck with me, written by Jules Fieffer. I have been looking for it ever since and I can’t find it. So I broke down and did a lousy job of redrawing it.
The answer that Guy and I have is that almost all of the problems that they identify that are in need of fixing our underlain by conflict problems and we haven’t learned how to deal successfully with intractable conflict. Let me illustrate.
My posts typically deal with insights I’ve gained in my career as a mediator. That said, mediation is what I do. It’s not who I am. I’m a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend, a lawyer, a partner, a Christian — and so many other things, in addition to being a mediator. In that regard, you’re the same as I am. The many different hats you wear in life contribute to who you are, and what’s genuinely important to you.
There aren’t many benefits to being in a bad mood, even if that’s your reliable, long-standing default mode. Being in a bad mood can make you less effective, less open to creative solutions, and due to stress, it can affect your health. Most peoples’ jobs have a degree of stress, some much more than others.
What I want to do here is try to give you an overview of the rationale behind the project, as well as kind of a quick preview of what to expect.
What I want to do here is try to give you an overview of the rationale behind the project, as well as kind of a quick preview of what to expect
The MOOS seminars all take what we call a complexity-oriented approach to intractability and responses to it. While our primary focus is on very large-scale conflicts (the kind that involve millions of people), much of what we have to say is also applicable to smaller scale conflicts.
Chances are you heard this wise advice from your Mom when she reminded you that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Making a positive first impression is important but it won’t seal the deal.
There are better and worse ways to do it. The Muse’s article on delivering bad news to your boss has lessons for talking to clients and colleagues too.
Most of my readers are lawyers. Many of you are litigators — for whom mediation has become a preferred tool for resolving most of your cases. Typically, I’m assuming, you see mediation as a process where you can confidently come together with other parties involved in litigation, call a timeout, and determine if the parties can reach an agreement to resolve the case. This is how I’m asked to lead mediations about 95% of the time.