Ok. Let me come clean. This is going to be one of my occasional funky entries. To the left-brain, conventional, conservative readers of this blog, please skip this entry. It may only serve to aggravate you and disrupt your structured and certain world. If you are still reading, thank you. This month’s entry is a…

Living Systems

“You cannot direct a living system; you can only disturb it”1 When mediators join a conflict, they enter a living system. Realise it or not, that system is instantly changed by their arrival. Change may be for the better, and we hope our influence is benign, but nothing is the same again. It therefore makes…

In February 2015, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution organized and ran the Asia Pacific International Mediation Summit in New Delhi, India. I had the honour of presenting at a number of sessions at the summit and I would like to explore one of those sessions in this month’s entry. I was part…

It is the beginning of the school term at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, where in this semester, I teach a Negotiation Workshop. In our first class yesterday, we played a pricing game based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. There are many versions of this pricing game and it essentially introduces participants to…

This week, I have had the genuine privilege of contributing one of the key note addresses at the Annual Conference of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) in Wellington. It has been a terrific conference, superbly organized by the indefatigable Deborah Hart. The standard of the many and diverse sessions has been…

I recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a training workshop with Tom Schaub of CMPartners and re-acquainted myself with a model of challenges that face leaders today. This is a model that was created by Ronald Heifezt and is captured in the book “Leadership Without Easy Answers”. I don’t pretend to be an expert on…

John Nash died this week, in a tragic car accident. John Nash was the Nobel-prize winning mathematician whose theory of non-cooperative games published in 1950 has been described as one of the top ten ideas in economics in the 20th century. His theory introduced and explored the concept of what is known as Nash equilibrium….

This blog entry arises not so much from any mediation, but from one aspect of regular social encounters that is all too normal a part of negotiation and mediation. As the title suggests, it’s about the role of inquiry, asking questions – not merely gathering information, but going beyond that in the expression of interest…

conflict-words

(This is the final part of a keynote address to the YMCA Conference “From Reactions to Relations” in Burton on Trent on 20 November 2014.) Having considered what we can’t help noticing about our clients and about conflict I now turn to the tricky business of self-knowledge: what has our unique perspective at the heart…