Have you ever been bursting with a great idea, only to have the door metaphorically shut in your face? I call those dialogue-stoppers “door closers,” and while they’re often delivered in a way that sounds firm and permanent, the right question can often re-open that door.
Using good process
Good problem-solving process is like a reliable roadmap — it orients us to where we are, helps us identify an effective route to our desired destination, and helps us find an alternate route around obstructions. We disagree better when we have a coherent process for organizing information and navigating difficult conversations.
Mediation ground rules come up now and then in the graduate mediation classes I teach or in my mediation trainings. Since I don’t set ground rules at the beginning of my mediations, and this often causes a stir among mediators who’ve been trained otherwise, I thought I’d outline my reasons here for reference. Early in […]
Some disputes are worth your effort. Some are worth turning your back and walking away. How do you when to talk and when to walk? I offer the following seven questions as an informal litmus test for you to use when you’re trying to decide: Can I let this go…really let it go? Sometimes you […]
Some of you know I’m a dog lover and that Rod and I share our home life with a giant canine named Hugo and a wee guy, Luigi. And two cats. Hugo is a mutt, Golden Retriever and Newfoundland. A couple of weeks ago, he suffered his third idiopathic vestibular incident. It’s a mystifying syndrome […]
When I was in grad school years ago, Dr. Robert Nash was the primary instructor for ethics. I heard horror stories from other students. The general consensus seemed to be, Nash likes to inflict pain, so avoid this elective. I enrolled anyway and it’s one of the best courses I’ve ever taken, from one of […]
I recently finished co-teaching a basic mediation workshop I deliver about four times a year to people from many different backgrounds. In this most recent workshop, we had a social worker, several attorneys, a nurse practitioner, a teacher, a builder, two human resources directors, a college student, a human development trainer, and a long-retired World […]
Originally coined by Wired Magazine’s Gareth Branwyn, blamestorming is meeting to discuss why something went wrong (a failed project, a missed deadline, a PR mess, a tech disaster) and who is responsible. In blamestorming, “who is responsible” is the real focus. This is an example, courtesy of the Urban Dictionary: I just got out of […]
I’ve been a mediator and conflict management coach for a long time. After watching lots of people fight, I think I’m pretty well informed about the most successful argument-winning tactics. Next time you argue with a loved one, try any or all of these: 1. Call them names. Particularly those that start with A, B, […]
Some of us avoid stepping up to the important conversations, particularly at work or when we’re new to a group, because we want others to view us as nice. Or gentle. Or easygoing. Or ____ (fill in the blank with whatever view you want people to have of you). Women, more frequently than men, tell […]
The fatalist’s reasoning for avoiding a difficult conversation is this: It won’t make any difference. Ah, there’s nothing like a self-fulfilling prophecy to make your day predictable. Maybe it won’t make any difference. Certainly if you think it won’t, you’re probably setting yourself up for exactly that outcome. And it’s a guarantee that not having […]
Are there important conversations you’ve been avoiding in the relationships that matter most to you? What are they? What are you giving up by not stepping up? What are you gaining – is it enough?
Terri and her co-worker, Jamie, ran into each other in the coffee room. Jamie recalled that Terri was having some work done on her house and asked how it was going. “Awful!” said Terri. “The builder won’t listen to me and I have to ask my husband to raise my concerns for me. What a […]
I recently came across a piece of conflict management research that I’d like to share with you. The study was conducted by the Management Development Institute of Eckerd College and found a strong link between an employee’s ability to resolve conflict effectively and perceived effectiveness as a leader with advancement potential. While the article provided […]
We have a terrific petsitter. She’s an animal lover, is very reliable, and spends some real time with our dogs when she comes to walk them on days when our schedules would otherwise make for a loooong stretch between walks. She’s also an excellent communicator, leaving us detailed notes about anything she noticed with the […]