Archive for September, 2012

You Can Do Better Than Justice

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

You Can Do Better than JusticeIn mediations we often hear the parties justify their positions using legal words and terms of law. They may have had lawyers advise them or not. They may have studied-up on their own. Or they may have simply absorbed our legal-adversarial culture watching lawyer dramas on television. Wherever they got them, they’ll use the words that sound a lot like legal claims or defenses.

Even if they don’t use the word, they’re talking about Justice.

I tell my mediation clients they can do better than Justice.


Conflict is a Sound that Change Makes

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Conflict is a sound that change makesTwo ships had been steaming in formation. There has been a change. They are now on a collision course.

Gears in a machine had meshed well before. They have shifted slightly. They are now grinding against each other.

The machine had once been working well: efficiently, smoothly and quietly. Somewhere there has been a change. It is now less efficient. More energy is needed to get the same amount of work done. There is friction. It now makes noise. (more…)

A Common Problem

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

People in conflict have a common problem, even if they don’t see it that way. Here’s what it is.

They both want something the other has. That alone isn’t really a problem. The problem is they’re both afraid they won’t get it.

Mediators can help them find a solution even if they only focus on what they see as their own side of the problem. Yet if they are able and willing address their common problem they can create many more possible solutions.

photo credit: thienzieyung via photo pin cc

Practice Talking

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

“Don’t talk religion or politics. It’s not polite.”

That was the conditioning I received growing-up. Of course as children we heard the adults doing exactly that: talking religion and politics. They did it after the kids had gone to bed, in veiled but intense tones. Their vowels were hushed in stage-whispers, yet we heard them spit out their consonants at those who thought differently than them.