Avoiding an expensive dance

In the video below, I observe that disputes are a fact of organisational life and need to be dealt with swiftly and constructively.

They do not disappear through some peculiar process of osmosis, as some might wish, because this process does not exist.

Typically disputes have a particular shape or architecture - a series of spikes that grow and are amplified as the dispute spins out of control and various procedures take over.

I conclude with some thoughts on how this expensive dance can be avoided.

From here to there.

This article was originally prepared for my friends at Changeboard and is © Changeboard.


It's Good To Talk



I have been thinking, writing and presenting on the subject of resolving disputes using mediation skills and processes in advance of the dispute requiring formal mediation.  

Thanks to Felipe Bustos Sierra at Debaser Filums, I have now committed my thoughts and observations to video.

The experience was an enjoyable, if rather nerve wracking one.  

It's not the new Bond movie, but it might be the start of a habit.

Comments and reflections very welcome.

Climb every mountain to resolve disputes

I have been thinking about employment disputes for some time, trying to find imaginative ways of capturing the issues involved and exploring how mediation might be used to resolve disputes before they escalate.

Last night, courtesy of Laura Devine, a group of employment lawyers, mediators, coaches and HR practitioners watched Paul Tinto perform a dramatised version of a dispute which sought to capture the emotional trajectory as experienced by an individual  - frustration, puzzlement, righteous anger, exhaustion, resignation and, ultimately, defeat.  I then facilitated a discussion which explored how mediation skills might be used to intervene at key stages of a dispute to prevent further escalation.

It was a high risk approach to a formal presentation, but one which seemed to work in terms of provoking discussion, debate and some consensus.

After many years struggling with PowerPoint presentations, I concluded they are best avoided.  This was a liberating decision, but a rather unimaginative one because a good graphic or diagram can quickly and clearly convey a complex issue.  

I have worked with Martin Conradi to create the graphic below, which neatly combines two of my interests - getting to the top of mountains and dispute resolution.

It captures the difficulty of managing an employment dispute in the usual way.  

It also captures the real difficulties faced when mediating, informally or formally, recognising that getting to the top of any mountain is always going to be a struggle and will never be risk-free.

From here to there.