Resolving conflicts through negotiation

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Resolving conflicts through negotiation
Oct 252017
 

negociationResolving conflicts through negotiation.

Resolving Conflict is a part of life. Negotiation is how conflicts are resolved. Hopefully, they can be resolved peacefully and to the satisfaction of both parties to the conflict. It is also part of any leaders skill set. Therefore, some of these blog postings will deal with ways a leader can help resolve conflicts.

I hope to provide useful information on:

  • Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  • Understand how the acronym E.A.R. can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  • Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  • Know negotiating skills to resolve conflicts for the benefit of all parties to the conflict.

All conflict resolution involves negotiation. Therefore as a starting point, let’s look at the definition and characteristics of negotiation.

What is Negotiation

Negotiation is a voluntary, non-binding bargaining process, in which the parties to a dispute attempt resolution among themselves.  Often, agents of the disputing parties (their lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and so forth), who are in actual communication with each other, are the negotiators.  The actual disputing persons sometimes do not meet or participate in direct discussions until most, or all, of the dispute has been resolved.

Characteristics of Negotiation

The chief characteristics of negotiation are:

  • Mutual Consent. Negotiation is voluntary.  The parties cannot be compelled to negotiate or even negotiate in good faith.  Negotiations cease when one party declines to continue.
  • Successful Result is Enforceable. A negotiated settlement, usually memorialized in a written agreement, is as valid and enforceable as any common law contract.
  • The parties and/or their agents are in personal contact with each other.  A third party neutral is involved in negotiations.
  • No statute or case law governs the process of negotiation.  Some prefer to negotiate in person.  Others use letters, e-mail, or telephone calls.  Still others negotiate through agents or intermediaries.
  • Negotiation is a process, taking place over time, as opposed to a single meeting or a brief exchange of correspondence.
  • Negotiators share facts and arguments often in a disorganized manner.  Negotiators posture and obfuscate, misstate the law, rail and threat and bluff, implore and cajole, and mix fact with fiction, exaggeration, and lies, during a series of back-and-forth communications.
  • Negotiations are usually conducted in private.  Publicity is anathema to a frank exchange of opinions, offers, and demands negotiations.

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2017 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Resolving the Turkey Conflict

 Conflict Resolution, General  Comments Off on Resolving the Turkey Conflict
Nov 222016
 

Turkey Conflict

The Turkey Conflict

This is the time of the year for the turkey conflict. Thanksgiving is the day we Americans set aside to give thanks. It is most likely the only day when everyone makes an effort to enjoy a meal with their family. The day can be painful for anyone that does not have immediate family around or because of past family conflicts, being around is not practical.

For some reason, it is assumed that the meal will be turkey in some form or another. This is not the turkeys that wandered the woods near Pilgrims’ settlement. It is not even the turkeys that are infesting my neighborhood. One has taken up residence at the gas station that I frequent. While everyone is pumping gas, it is admiring itself in the reflections of the cars and trucks. No the turkeys we insist on eating are bred to be the high point of this one meal a year. That they are bred reduces them to the lowest common denominator of blandness.

Long ago, I developed a total dislike of this type of turkey. If I was to be psychoanalyzed, a connection to the corresponding family discord might be discovered. But being thankful that I am an American, I exercise my God given choice not to eat turkey without being psychoanalyzed.

My dislike started out in my youth. Only turkey was served for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Those dinners were rotated between my aunts in San Francisco and our house. There was intense competition between my mother and my aunts to find the most economical bird. In other words, they would look for the cheapest per pound bird and would go to great lengths to secure it. At one point the record was 29 cents per pound. Even in olden times that was extremely cheap. The taste matched the price – cheap.

One year, my mother, after considerable nagging by the family, invested in a Butterball turkey. That is the kind with the little read button that pops out when it is perfectly done. As was her habit, she put it in the oven before dawn. After the requisite number of hours, the little red button popped out right on queue. Unfortunately, the family was not due to arrive until 1 p.m. and it had reached perfection far faster that previous cheaper birds. Therefore she left it in the oven until noon. There is the dinner scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where everyone watches the dead bird shrivel and is still force to eat it – I’ve lived that.

After marriage, the “discussion” as to having or not having turkey resolved itself. My wonderful wife one year decided to have a big turkey feast with all of the fixings. She purchased a quality frozen 25 plus pound turkey. While readying it for defrosting, it fell out of its perch in the freeze and aimed for her big toe. The ‘pope’s nose’, followed by the other 24 pounds, hit its target with dead accuracy. We spend the entire evening in the emergency room. The toe was broken. Unable to barely stand let alone cook, the job of cooking the dead bird fell to me. Convinced, that was the last time we served Meleagris gallopavo aka dead bird.

I am thankful for a multitude of blessings. One is the privilege not to eat turkey if you don’t want to eat it. May you be thankful for all of your blessings this season and may you avoid the turkey conflict.

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

About FINRA Arbitrators

 Arbritration  Comments Off on About FINRA Arbitrators
Nov 152016
 
FINRA

FINRA

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry. FINRA is not part of the government. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.

Its independent regulation plays a critical role in America’s financial system—by enforcing high ethical standards, bringing the necessary resources and expertise to regulation and enhancing investor safeguards and market integrity—all at no cost to taxpayers.

Its mission is to safeguard the investing public against fraud and bad practices. They pursue that mission by writing and enforcing rules and regulations for every single brokerage firm and broker in the United States, and by examining broker-dealers for compliance with our own rules, federal securities laws and rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

All brokers must be licensed and registered by FINRA, pass their qualification exams and satisfy continuing education requirements.

It recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators

FINRA recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators. It selects arbitrators from a diverse cross-section of professionals. I am privileged to have been one of those selected. The arbitrators are available to arbitrate cases in over 70 hearing locations in the US, including one in Puerto Rico and one in London, UK.

It pledges to provide impartial, knowledgeable and courteous staff and highly trained arbitrators committed to delivering fair, expeditious and cost-effective dispute resolution services for investors, brokerage firms and their employees.

Finally, I, as an arbitrator am an independent contractor, not employee of FINRA.

Ken_Strongman_003smAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

A handy tool for resolving conflicts.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on A handy tool for resolving conflicts.
Oct 252016
 

conflict tool

Tool for resolving conflicts

A very handy tool for approaching any conflict situation that needs to be resolved is E.A.R. 

Ask the people involved to:

Express – What you want and what are you doing to get it.

Address – Why it is working or not working.

Resolve – What ways there are to solve the situation.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate
Oct 182016
 

Devil's Advocate

Devil’s Advocate

Mediators Playing the Devil ’s Advocate

Devil’s Advocate is one of the roles of a mediator. A good mediator such as myself, does not forfeit his personal opinions simply because he serves as a neutral facilitator. These opinions and preconceptions can help inform certain beliefs. However, a strong mediator knows how to view a case from multiple angles. This is an important quality to possess as it helps provide a counter point to a party or attorney’s one-sided approach.

A Strong Mediator

A strong mediator gives consideration to the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. When in a private caucus with one side, the mediator may mention a potential weakness in this side’s argument. He may even ask the party what his or her argument would be if he or she was on the other side. He or she may get the attorney to contemplate the same scenario and ask for facts and legal theories that would support the other side.
By recognizing the strengths of the other side and the weaknesses of their own side, parties can start to contemplate the potential of what would happen if they lose. This can often inspire them to fully participate in negotiations so that they can avoid the possibility of losing the case or facing other adverse effects.

Sounding Board

Mediator is a “sounding board” for your arguments, and for offers/counter offers. I can deal with the hypotheticals and be a “coach”, to deliver bad news and explain opponents’ responses to offers. I, as a strong mediator give you an opportunity to explain the case to a neutral person help you and your attorney evaluate your case. Finally, a good mediator helps identify components of solutions from your stand point and delivers bad news to both sides.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.
Jul 192016
 

listening

Listening to resolve conflicts

The better the information you have, the greater your chances of finding a workable solution.  Listen carefully to what others are saying, not judging until you hear everyone’s story.  Be aware of tone of voice, body language, and other clues.  Understand what each person is expressing – what he wants and what he is willing to do to get there.  Then clarify that the solution lies with all parties. 

Listen carefully to what others are saying without judgment until you have everyone’s side of the story.  Clarify what you have heard and then reframe it back to each party.  Remember the solution lays with both parties not you.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.
Apr 262016
 

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

I’m privileged to be an adult staff member for a National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course.  It is a very satisfying experience and a lot of fun.  One key topic on the course is how to resolve conflicts as a leader.  This blog is adapted from this course.

Leading the youth through this necessary topic allows me to bring my professional expertise in settling disputes to the more practical issues of conflict resolution.   The course can be applied to any situation as a young person or adult.

The learning objectives of the conflict resolution course are:

  1. Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  2. Understand how the acronym E.A.R.  can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  3. Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  4. Know when, as a leader, the resolution of a conflict is beyond your expertise and how to seek help in resolving the conflict.

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

 Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.
Feb 092016
 

don't be afraid

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid of anger – angry people can’t lie.

The first step to resolve any conflict is to defuse anger.  But do not be afraid of anger.  An angry person can’t lie because anger is a primitive emotional response.  To lie, you must control your emotions and turn on your intellect.  So when someone is angry, whatever they are telling you contains some truth.  Beware that this does not stop good actors.  A good actor merely appears to be angry as they try to control the situation

There are several reasons for anger:

To vent. An angry person needs to let off steam and release the anger that may have been brewing for a long time.  To resolve the conflict you need to allow this to happen, but try to control it by reframing their issues. 

To get the listener’s attention. An angry person wants to know that you are paying attention.  Use good listening skills to demonstrate that you are paying attention.

To be heard. An angry person wants someone to listen to their point of view.  To resolve the conflict, you need to acknowledge the feelings you hear so that the speaker knows you appreciate how angry they are.

To be understood. An angry person wants someone to appreciate how they feel.  Therefore try to empathize with their experience so that they feel you understand the situation, and acknowledge their ‘right’ to feel the way they do.  This does not mean that you should agree with their justification.  You do want to remain neutral in the conflict and not pick sides.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

How are you going to deal with them after the dispute?

 Preliminary Tasks for a Mediation  Comments Off on How are you going to deal with them after the dispute?
Feb 022016
 
Philmont Scout Ranch Deal

Deal with the future

The resolution of a dispute does not just occur on the day of the mediation.   Each participant to mediation needs to prepare their own strategy for negotiation in the settlement.  Based on my experience as a mediator, these are a collection of tasks each participant needs to complete and to discuss with their council and the mediator before the mediation.

These tasks and the discussion with the mediator are confidential.   They are confidential under both Attorney Client privilege and under mediation confidential provisions in court rules, statutes, and standards.

 

Task #4: How are you going to deal with them after the dispute?

In the previous task, you were asked to describe what you wanted life and/or business to look like five years after the dispute has been resolved.   This task is more focused on how you are going to deal with your opponents five to ten years after the dispute is resolved.

The easy answer to this question is that ‘I never want anything to do with them again.’  If the dispute is an automobile accident then that might work as an answer.  But if your opponents are commercial suppliers, customers, fellow businesses in a limited market, employees or employers, neighbors, and even family, the question becomes a lot more challenging.

I have mediated boundary line and other disputes between neighbors.  It becomes a lot more difficult to resolve when both neighbors realize that they will still be living next door to each other for possibly decades.  I have also mediated disputes with family owned business.  They had to take into account the likelihood of having to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with each other.  There were also the unintended impacts on other family relationships that were not in dispute.  Commercial enterprises need to evaluate the publicity of the dispute and the possible need for an on going business relationship now and in the future.

Carefully list and count the costs regarding different solutions to the dispute.  Might there be a better settlement that reduces future conflict.  Also evaluate the costs of litigating the dispute to its conclusion on the future relationship to your opponents.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

What if you truly disagree upon with your opponents?

 Preliminary Tasks for a Mediation  Comments Off on What if you truly disagree upon with your opponents?
Jan 262016
 
What Points Do You Disagree

What Points Do You Disagree?

Tasks for reaching a mediated settlement to a dispute

The resolution of a dispute does not just occur on the day of the mediation.   Each participant to mediation needs to prepare their own strategy for negotiation in the settlement.  Based on my experience as a mediator, these are a collection of tasks each participant needs to complete and to discuss with their council and the mediator before the mediation.

These tasks and the discussion with the mediator are confidential.   They are confidential under both Attorney Client privilege and under mediation confidential provisions in court rules, statutes, and standards.

Task #7: What If you truly disagree upon with your mediation opponents?

In Task #6, you were asked to search for some potential common ground you might have with your mediation opponents to help facilitate a voluntary agreement to settle this matter.   Now you need to flip the question around and come up with the significant issues that you disagree upon.

Strangely enough this will help the mediator to focus the mediation session upon the real and lasting issues of the dispute.   Then everyone can focus on the task at hand to develop together a voluntary agreement to resolve the dispute.  For example, breach of contract might be agreed upon, but whether it is a major or minor breach is the true disagreement.  Likewise, there might not be a disagreement on liability but it is the measure of damages that is the true dispute.   Even then, there might be considerable agreement.

Review these disagreements with your attorney and confidentially with the mediator.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.