Stop apologising

(This blog is adapted from a longer version published by Prof John Lande as part of Theories of Change for the Dispute Resolution Movement: Actionable Ideas to Revitalize Our Movement. The Theory of Change symposium asked mediators and scholars to think big about their dreams and visions for the future, and was recently published on…

The start of a new decade offers a great opportunity to reflect and plan. There is a growing consensus that the 2020s will be crucial in transforming the way we live and work if we are to have any chance of ensuring the planet is able to accommodate our species. Nearly everything we do is…

Recently, I had the privilege of facilitating a session at Scotland’s Citizens Assembly at which politicians from four political parties took the opportunity to discuss with the Assembly members (over 100 people randomly recruited from across Scotland) their vision for the future of the country. At the outset, I framed it as a departure from…

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the festive season is receiving and reading books that one might not have come across otherwise. This year, I have been enjoying two quite contrasting works of literature. The first is a Manual for Spectrum Agents (Haynes Publishing) providing “detailed information about the Spectrum organisation”, based on the…

money

Twice today I’ve found myself responding to mediator reflections in these terms: the money’s not about the money. Both cases involved financial negotiation, even haggling, but that’s deceptive. The key to settlement lay not in the realm of calculation and rationality but in the more opaque social world of face, punishment, justice and emotion. In…

“You’ve done what?” It took just a moment. The red mist descended. The words were out before I could haul them back in. “You’ve just gone behind my back and undermined what I set out, and we had agreed, we would do….you might at least have had the courtesy…..” The lawyer had just told me…

“What’s the point?” asked the preacher, rhetorically. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” was his text, taken from Ecclesiastes, an Old Testament book apparently attributed to Solomon, whose wisdom we have all heard about over the years. The child and two women each laying claim to being the mother – and all that. What profit…

Values drive practice

(I first wrote about mediation’s values 12 years ago at the tail end of a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies.(1) Two years of study had convinced me that it is our values, rather than the techniques we learn, that tell us what to do and say when when mediating. The intervening years haven’t…

“For nobody would understand, And you kill what you fear, And you fear what you don’t understand.” Powerful words. As a progressive rock music aficionado, these lyrics taken from the song “Duke’s Travels” by my favourite band, Genesis, have often brought me up short as I listen to the album from which they come, 1980’s…

To paraphrase a worldwide cliché, you wait decades for a Mediation Act and two come along at once. On this typically dreich Scottish summer afternoon I find myself in the surprising position of examining two distinct proposals for mediation legislation. Why surprising? This blog has carried news of a succession of mediation acts in countries…