May 27th, 2024
A person using a pen to map their way through a puzzle

From the books The Servant Manager, Peaceful Resolutions, and The Collaboration Effect, here are six well-documented ideas for a successful negotiation. As a mediation and negotiation specialist, I wanted to share these with you.  Hopefully, they will help you, too.  These six ideas are:

  1. Identify core values/beliefs you have in common
  2. Be tough on the problem and gentle on the people
  3. Acknowledge your emotions and theirs without blame
  4. Treat others as they would like to be treated
  5. Positions polarize – interests integrate
  6. Acknowledge and appreciate areas of agreement – put a positive spin on your message
April 29th, 2024
A person holding a trophy

As a mediator and conflict resolution specialist with the IRS and others, I have witnessed the disadvantage of not promoting collaboration. On the other hand, I have consistently seen its benefits. Inclusive leaders look for and celebrate ideas and concepts that build teams and psychologically safe workplaces.  We all win when the best ideas are adopted after considering the relevant information, allowing key stakeholders to react to it, deciding on the best alternative, and implementing it as a team.  The following commentary provides insights on how to take actionable steps to incorporate collaboration.

March 25th, 2024
A puppy looking at the camera looking curious

We are highly emotional beings. As a mediation and conflict resolution specialist, I accept that our brains are 2% to 10% rational and 90% to 98% emotional. Knowing this, the psychological implications related to conflict resolution are significant compared to the sensible computations involved in most conflicts. So, how can you have psychologically safe conflict resolution? That is what Dayna Lee-Baggley, PhD, and Ronald E Pizzo posed in this article in Psychology Today. What follows is an elaboration of key points from my experiences following a read of their article. 

March 11th, 2024
Empty conference room

As a negotiation and mediation specialist who researches, writes and speaks on collaboration, this commentary focuses on making collaboration more inclusive. A diverse workforce improves productivity. The question is, how can you promote inclusion and cooperation in the workplace with a diverse workforce? This commentary begins with an article from Forbes on inclusion and collaboration in the workforce and expands on that article with additional ideas to help you be more inclusive and productive in the future.

February 12th, 2024
A listening ear

As a conflict resolution and negotiation specialist I know how important listening is related to conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and collaboration. In my book The Collaboration Effect I comment that the most important chapter is on listening. Seeing an emotionally charged commentary on listening from a friend of mine I wanted to share this with you and expand on this topic to help you. Dr. Jemaine Davis shares that coming from a gang-infested area he obtained his PhD, but his younger brother made some bad choices to survive. All his younger brother ever wanted was to have someone listen to him. Think of how powerful that statement is. I know everyone wants to be respected and listened to. Think about this with our very divided nation. What if regardless of the conflict we made a constructive attempt to listen to the other party?

January 8th, 2024
The world globe on the left and various social on the right

As a mediation and negotiation specialist I work in conflict resolution where initially each party typically has a position. They believe they are right, and the other party is wrong. Behind every position are interests. Interests are the seeds to a solution between the parties. Knowing this, I want to ask you, given your position on something if you might be the person who could be at least partially wrong? Is it possible you are the yahoo in the room rather than the other person being the yahoo? Is it possible you could be wrong given the information that you have and know to be facts? You don’t know what you don’t know.

January 1st, 2024
Girl with hand giving "ok" sign

As a leader involved with mediation, negotiations, and conflict resolution I have found humor to often assist at some point after authentic connecting relationships have been developed in the process. I wanted to offer some thoughts that you may find helpful in the fast-paced and often demanding environment of the workplace. Injecting a bit of humor can be a powerful tool to alleviate stress, improve mood, and foster a positive atmosphere among colleagues. Humor not only lightens the atmosphere but also has numerous health benefits,. 

December 19th, 2023

Mediation tailors its approach to your specific needs, providing a personalized path to resolution through adaptability and flexibility.

December 18th, 2023
Photos of people being connected to one another

Building authentic, connecting relationships at work can be a game-changer for both personal satisfaction and professional success. Research shows that 60% to 80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from strained relationships between employees, not from deficits in individual employee’s skill or motivation. To make real connections, you need to tap into your emotional intelligence, sharpen your conversational skills, and master the art of listening actively. It is not just about "networking" but genuinely bonding with colleagues, including those you might find challenging to interact with at or through work.


[i] Daniel Dana, “Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home”

(2005, 4th ed.); Barbara J. Kreisman, “Insights into Employee Motivation, Commitment and

Retention” (2002).

December 5th, 2023
Light breaking through a dark cloudy sky

As a trusted leader, it's your responsibility to foster an environment where high-quality relationships thrive. Not only does your leadership foster a more pleasant workplace, it also contributes to increased productivity and job satisfaction. But often your job involves dealing with colleagues you don’t know well or may occasionally disagree with. Some of your colleagues may be in person and others may be virtual or hybrid. Here are 15 tips for educating and inspiring all of your colleagues to work better with one another, even when they have differences of opinion or limited interactions.

November 27th, 2023
Building a bridge from both directions for the Hoover Dam

Want to be a bridge builder across differences based on neuroscience? This article from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley offers great insights. Starting with that article as an experienced mediator and negotiator that focuses on conflict resolution additional commentary is provided that expands on some of the observations to help you work with others to overcome conflicts or disputes. Read on to learn more.

The article offers five ways to have better conversations across differences. These are to

  1. Listen to their story
  2. Try not to take anything personally
  3. Be a bridge, and not a barrier
  4. Lean into discomfort
  5. Set norms to create a safe and brave container

The commentary that follows uses similar headings, highlights key points from the article and offers additional thoughts to enhance results.

November 20th, 2023
A giant urn with pumpkins flowing out of it

Ah, Thanksgiving, the time of year when many gather with family or friends to celebrate the day, loosen those belts a notch or two, and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It's that one day when it's perfectly acceptable to eat too much often with turkey and pie, and not feel the least bit guilty about it. But beyond the food coma and family gatherings, Thanksgiving is a beautiful reminder to be thankful for all the gifts life has bestowed upon us. So, grab a seat at the virtual table, my friend, because I'm reflecting here on how much I have to be thankful for and hope this helps you reflect on what you have to be thankful for too. You may not have all of the elements listed here, but no matter what you have things to be grateful for and to reflect upon in gratitude.