Recently, I was asked how to get people to consider your perspective. It’s a subject on a lot of our minds. In a world where is seems everyone is talking all the time, it’s hard to feel like we’ve been heard and that our positions have been given adequate consideration. My process is based on transformative mediation techniques that I use with my clients and is the foundation for my first book, DIY Conflict Resolution.
The Seven Choices help parties in conflict remember their own humanity and contributions to the dispute:
- Forgive yourself for having conflicts
- Acknowledge yourself for taking any action to resolve the conflict
- Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts
- Free the emotions
- Clear your mind
- If you must make an assumption, assume you know nothing about anything
- Listen with your third ear (your h-EAR-t)
This is typically part of the pre-mediation “homework” and is followed by the first of the Five Actions.
ACTION ONE: DEFINE THE CONFLICT
Define the Conflict. I ask parties to define each conflict simply and succinctly, if possible, using the below format:
__________ and I disagree about ______________________.
It takes some mental effort to simplify the issues in this way, but it gives us something that feels more manageable. It also forces the parties to focus on what can be managed.
ACTION TWO: IDENTIFY THE INTERESTS
After defining the conflict(s), we explore each party’s thoughts, beliefs, wants, needs, and wishes. At this stage, the unmet expectations often become clear, which often allows us to move easily to the next step.
ACTION THREE: PLAY WITH THE POSSIBILITIES
We discuss what was expected and whether it–or something close–is still possible. We also consider each party’s ideal resolution scenario and how that might be created.
ACTION FOUR: CREATE THE FUTURE
Plans without specific, measurable, individualized, likeable, and (relatively) easy (“SMILE”) goals are basically dreams that require a magical force to intervene. Rather than waiting for that when you have the power to change your situation immediately, I help clients remove barriers and take action beginning on Day One.
ACTION FIVE: STAY ON PARR
Most of the goals that cause us conflict are big ones that require persistence over many months, if not years. We must plan, act, revise, and repeat (“PARR”) the process, until we get the results we want—or something better.
Want to improve your conflict resolution skills?
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney and mediator who also serves as the Main Representative to the United Nations for the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, and minor league sports agent, as well as her legal, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and ICERM training. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).