13 Tools for Resolving Conflict in the Workplace, with Customers and in Life
Conflict happens. It is inevitable. It is going to happen whenever you have people with different expectations. Here are some tools for avoiding and resolving disputes in the early stages, before they become full-blown conflicts.
Your Judgment May be Impairing You
Judgment is a tool that actually impairs a mediator. While it’s human nature to judge people as dangerous or not, the notion of good or bad is one that only makes us feel superior in our ability to pass judgment on them.
Boston, Violence, and Listening
We are once again in the wake of a tragedy. News outlets are filled with coverage, details are slowly emerging, and the cover of Time Magazine shows a frightened child in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Many runners were running in memory of the Newtown, Connecticut victims, meeting tragedy with tragedy.
When Conflict Comes Home: Homeowner Association Turns Into Mafia-like Protection Racket
In Hawaii, a Molokai couple won a $3.9 million verdict against their Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and individual defendants when the Maui jury found that they had been subjected to bullying, threats, harassment and intimidation from their own HOA Board members and others in the complex.
From Lee Jay Berman
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The Funnel of Conflict Resolution - Stages of Conflict and Opportunities for Resolution
The world of conflict can act like a funnel, in that disputes can enter from any of a variety of areas of life and can take all forms (arguments, disputes, accidents, cultural trends). As a society, and as a mediation community, we can address these disputes at many different stages.
A Moving Mediation Conference In Los Angeles
This year’s 22nd Annual Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) Conference had an emotional start to the day. The morning began with a Moment of Silence for our dear departed friend Richard Millen that included his son Jeff saying a few words on his behalf, followed by the awarding of the new SCMA-sponsored Richard Millen scholarship at the Western Justice Center in Pasadena, where the bright and promising recipient used his acceptance speech to quote some of Richard’s articles. It was odd hearing the words of our 89 year old Zen guru mediator being channeled through the voice of a young man in his early 20’s, and with almost equal passion.
Mediator Needed To Change Ground Zero Mosque Dialogue
What this issue needs is a real dialogue, facilitated (mediated) by a professional who is expert at managing the emotions, the values and the discussion between representatives of the two groups. Give me Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and some of his leaders, along with some of the most vocal opponents, preferably from families of those who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and I will guarantee you a dialogue where each walks away having heard the other and having had their eyes opened to things that they had not realized before this discussion. Televise it, put it on the internet, and broadcast it over the radio, and we will educate hundreds of thousands with one discussion.
Politics, Governing And Leadership Need To Change In Process, Not Just Policy
Am I the only one who is tired of political rhetoric? Am I the only one tired of turning on the TV and radio only to hear Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olberman, Bill O’Reilly, Randi Rhodes, Glenn Beck and Rachel Maddow earning big bucks for doing nothing more than repeating sound bites, talking points and arguing extreme perspectives on every issue? How did we get to the point where political debates were so politically correct that our leaders are afraid to say anything that their base might disagree? How did “We the people” allow our politicians to become puppets to special interest groups and lobbyists with the largest budgets?
Saying Goodbye To The Great Teachers
Just one week ago, members of the mediation community gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate the life of our dear friend and mentor Richard Millen (see Mediation World Loses a Patriarch). My friend Phyllis Pollack wrote a wonderful summary of that night in her blog.
Absent Lindsay Lohan And L.A. Judge Need Dialogue Before Decision
Lindsay Lohan is in trouble again. She’s in trouble with a certain judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court… again. This time, she may have gone too far. This is when I wish that there was an opportunity for a mediator to intervene in the process.
How Celebrities Divorce Is A Choice. Mediation Offers Them A Better Option
One of this week’s most talked about legal issues is whether or not Larry King will divorce his wife Shaun Southwick. Last week the media speculated about the state of Tiger and Elin Woods’ marriage. The week before it was all about Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, and the week before that Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller. Next week another couple with a marriage in crisis will take the spotlight amid accusations of cheating, disclosures of prenuptial agreements, divisions of millions in assets and child-custody battles. Like many failed marriages, however, when the focus goes away the discussion about those matters will remain toxic.
Facebook Harassment Case Belongs In Mediation, Not Criminal Court
Lane New, a 16-year-old Arkansas boy, convinced a local prosecutor to file misdemeanor harassment charges against his mother Denise for allegedly changing his Facebook password without his permission and posting personal information about him on his Facebook page.
Oprah Winfrey Settles Defamation Case ‘Woman To Woman’
Oprah Winfrey last week settled the defamation case brought by Nomnuyo Mzamane, the former headmistress of Winfrey’s girl’s school in South Africa. “Winfrey made certain remarks following a 2007 sex-abuse scandal at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Mzamane’s lawyers claimed that, because of Winfrey’s visibility and popularity, she could easily sway the public to believe that her statements were fact rather than allegations.” said Afro.com. However, “Winfrey’s defense for her statements was that she was exercising her right to free speech and she was just voicing her opinion about the incident.”
Pink Floyd, EMI Need Creative Negotiation In Brawl Over Itunes Royalties
Pink Floyd is suing its former record label EMI over how royalties are calculated on internet sales. Among other things, the band is contesting whether its 1999 contract allows sales of individual tracks, as EMI contends, or mandates only complete album sales, which is how Pink Floyd interprets the contract. “When Pink Floyd’s latest contract was crafted in 1999, iTunes didn’t even exist.”
Mediation World Loses a Patriarch
I am deeply saddened to announce that Richard Millen passed away today. Most mediators in southern California knew and were touched by Richard, whether they knew it or not. He was a motivating power in forming the first court-annexed mediation program in California, in founding the now-mighty Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA), and served on boards and committees advising on mediation policy until his last months.
Neutrals Reveal Tips With Their Opening Statements
Most mediations begin with the mediator's opening statement, much to the consternation of the lawyers (many of whom have heard them many times before) and their parties. Although most lawyers prefer to launch right into their opening statements in a mediation, the mediator's speech can be very helpful.
Recession Advice For Mediators
While many believe that mediation is a recession-proof business, the truth is that a difficult economy slows every business and practice as people have less money to pay for things. When a mediation practice slows, there are three things that mediators can do to make productive use of increased down time. They can increase their marketing efforts (attend more networking events, update websites, etc.), improve or update the administrative infrastructure of their practices, and they can hone their skills.
KISS Mediators Rock ABA Conference: Why Would Three Self-Respecting Professional Mediators Play Dress-Up?
An interesting name for an ABA conference session, but what does rock and roll have to do with mediation? Answer: it was about a taking a Rock-N-Roll attitude toward mediating commercial cases. But why the make-up?
Preparation for Mediation Puts Money In Clients’ Pockets
While all good attorneys prepare intensely for arbitration or trial, few put as much time into preparing for mediations. As the legal community continues to use mediation as an effective case settlement tool, it is becoming clear that attorney preparation plays a vital role in achieving a favorable result.
Impasse Is A Fallacy
I often wonder who invented the concept of impasse. Who first said, “We are stuck. We cannot go any further.”? Who decided that we should give it a name, acknowledge its existence, and make it the scapegoat for all that goes wrong with a mediation or negotiation?
Choose Carefully: All Mediators Are Not Created Equal
If a mediation is going to have a chance at success, perhaps the most important decision is who will sit in the neutral chair at the head of the table.
Sincere Opening Statements Bring Best Mediation Results
A bright line differentiates client advocacy in mediation from other forms of client advocacy. Good lawyers know the difference and are getting much better results from mediations than those who do not make this important distinction. As the legal community continues to use mediation as an effective case settlement tool, it is becoming clear that attorneys' opening statements in a joint session play a vital role in their clients' success.
From Lee Jay Berman
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Hands Off Mediation Confidentiality!
The front page of Sunday's Los Angeles Times carried a horrifying headline effecting mediators and
litigators everywhere. It was entitled, "Tire Recall Fuels Drive to Bar Secret Settlements". The article
quoted "consumer advocates" who claim that "secret settlements" of product liability suits threaten
innocent people. The thing they didn't say is that many of these "secret settlements" were confidential mediations, where
the process and outcome were protected by confidentiality agreements.