Archive for the ‘Conflict’ Category

What are Your Conflict Questions?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

How to get from A to B?I have a favor to ask. You can help me out with a project. All I need to know is this: what are your conflict questions?


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.


Do You Really Want to Settle?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Dust SettlesLawsuits settle. We settle for less. Dust settles.



Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Some folks in my line of work think that “collaboration” is an ultimate and absolute value. Nuh-uh. Sometimes it’s time to call it. The best thing for some people in conflict may be to disengage.

My wife worked for an airline owned by a person who was larger-than-life. (more…)

Collision Course

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

So often it seems we don’t see conflict coming in our lives and businesses until it’s right on top of us. “Where did that come from?!” Why didn’t we see it coming? (more…)

Learning the Lexicon: “That’s Good Medicine”

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

I’ve written before about Learning the Lexicon – about getting familiar with the private language every group has. Learning the Lexicon of “Private Language.”)

I don’t learn their lexicon just to be able to communicate with the people I’m working with in a mediation. That’s important – knowing how to speak and understand is necessary of course.

There’s another reason as a mediator I have to learn their lexicon. It has to do with how people in conflict can change as their language changes.

This is a story about learning, and changing, through language.


Learning the Lexicon of “Private Language”

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Every group  has it’s own way of talking. They’ve got things they say that make sense to them. Every culture has its own way of communicating among themselves. Even a culture of  small boys.


Mediator In the Middle, Mixing Things Up

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I’ve described how the mediator is “something in the middle” that changes the way people in conflict interact. What does that actually look like? How does that work in the mediation of your dispute? What does it feel like?

Well, to be honest, at times it doesn’t feel very good. It’s not always pretty. It may not be pleasant and it can be unsettling. Sometimes it’s just plain uncomfortable.

If it makes you feel any better, just think that it’s not any easier for the other guy, either.

But seriously: does it have to be this way? Why am I doing that? (more…)