Conflict Resolution

Advanced Problem-Solving Strategies

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It’s not too late to register for the SCMA fall conference at scenic Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, worth driving up to for the view alone. The program promises to be just as spectacular as the setting, with two institutes, on elder mediation and collaborative family law, scheduled for Friday, November 4, before the main conference on November 5. A few of the Saturday panels include online dispute resolution, intercultural mediation, confidentiality and ethics, ombuds programs, conflict management coaching, and more. To top it off, we will have a keynote speech from Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries. I am excited to have the chance to moderate a discussion on developments in court ADR programs, featuring the administrators of […]

Today’s New York Times Magazine had an article about the hazards of confidence, by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, adapted from his forthcoming book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman describes some team-building exercises he engaged in many years ago in the Israeli Army, that were used to predict the leadership qualities of soldiers. It turned out that these exercises had no predictive power whatsoever, yet those who participated and evaluated the results continued to believe in their value, even after seeing their lack of predictive power. It must just seem intuitively obvious that those who exhibit the most skill at such tasks as figuring out how to get the team over a wall, would perform best at leadership tasks in […]

Last week I heard David Kennedy (author of the new book Don’t Shoot) and LA Police Chief Charlie Beck talk at the Aloud Program about reducing gang violence. Kennedy’s theory, which has been implemented successfully in a number of cities, including Los Angeles, sounds almost too good to be true. As I understand it, the approach has several parts. First, recognize that the number of people responsible for the vast majority of violence in most cities is relatively small. So concentrate on those people. Next, let the street gangs know that violence will no longer be tolerated. The police will keep track of which gangs are responsible for the most violence, and will make life as miserable as possible for […]

Imagine if one could flip a switch that would cause all the parties to a conflict to change their approach from an adversarial mode of conflict resolution to a problem-solving, or negotiation mode.  In other words, stop arguing with one another, and start talking and listening to one another. That is one way of thinking about what mediators do, and of course it is never as easy as flipping a switch. On the other hand, it doesn’t necessarily even require a mediator to make the transition.  On my political blog, I posted something–inspired by my rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah sermon–about the difference between a crisis model and a values model. He was talking about Israel, but the concepts apply to any […]