May 20th, 2024
Dart hitting a dart board in the center

As a mediation and negotiation specialist, I am here to empower you with knowledge, whether it's ahead of time or when things have broken down. The proactive approach to education can significantly reduce the severity and number of harmful conflicts.  Disagreements, different priorities, different points of view, miscommunications, and differing personalities are all reasons for conflict in the workplace.  The following discussion delves into the root cause, recognizing the tell-tale signs and practical steps to take when disputes arise.

May 14th, 2024
Scrabble words "plan"

As a mediation and negotiation specialist, I deal with conflicts daily. To handle these conflicts effectively, I must consistently maintain a calm, confident, and competent manner. This mental focus and preparation allow you to concentrate on critical issues and create value. However, besides mental focus, it is equally important to remain flexible and to use time to your advantage.

The following discussion delves into these three aspects and offers insights to enhance your performance in your next negotiation, especially when you're up against the other party.

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.

April 8th, 2024
two people on opposite sides looking at a 6 or 9 depending on how you look at it

As a mediation and conflict resolution specialist and with my books The Collaboration Effect and Peaceful Resolutions, I recently conducted additional research on this topic.  Stepping back and looking at the big picture, I wanted to share with you what I see as the seven keys to avoiding and resolving conflict. These are authentic connecting relationships, listening actively, practicing empathy, avoiding blame, using “I” statements,  having clear boundaries, and taking a break. These are each elaborated on in this commentary.

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. 

February 19th, 2024
Tower at Harvard University

As a mediation and negotiation specialist, I am always looking to improve my skills associated with conflict resolution. Katie Shonk is the editor of the Negotiation Briefings newsletter associated with the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. Starting with her well-written article on 5 Conflict Resolution Strategies, I build on her commentary and offer additional thoughts based on my over 30 years as a mediator and negotiator. Hopefully, these practical examples will help you too.

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?

February 5th, 2024
An IRS article, other spreadsheet papers, a mouse, and a cup

As a mediation and negotiation specialist that worked for the IRS at all levels for over 28 years, I want to share with you how conflict resolution and mediation works at the IRS . It was my pleasure in 2020 to bring mediation to the large case business program (at the time LMSB – Large and Mid-Size Business and later LB&I Large Business and International). Over time 2,500 field specialists were trained in mediation while I worked at the IRS. What follows is commentary to explain various stages of issue resolution at the IRS and how an expert in this area can help navigate these processes.

January 22nd, 2024
Two goats butting heads

As a mediation and negotiation specialist that blogs weekly on issues related to conflict resolution and collaboration I want share with you what I see as a very well written concise commentary by Abraham Dameh on how to handle disagreements. His nine points of Listening actively, Empathy, Be Calm, Build Bridges, Collaborate, Neutral Language, Mediation, and Reflection on Lessons learned absolutely resonates with me. I took his 9 points and offer some additional thoughts that I think could help you too

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.

December 25th, 2023
The words "Be creative" with a light bulb

How can you work something out with someone who is difficult to work with? As a mediation and negotiation specialist I thought I would share with you some lessons I have learned and provide insights for you from articles to help you when you are in this type of situation. If you approach conflict in the right way and with the right attitude this can offer you a real edge towards making progress. Keep in mind there is no one right answer. There are, however, ideas that may prove immensely helpful. Starting with this article from psychology today and moving forward read on.  Here are ten tips to help you from an experienced mediator.

December 19th, 2023

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