Creative conflict resolution

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I’ve been pretty busy lately, and just wanted to write a little about what has taken up so much of my time and effort. I’m ready to launch a new business, Mediation Solutions. This business is all about preventing and resolving conflicts – in the workplace, in personal life, business, and the environment/public policy field. After nearly 20 years of working for the environment as a technical consultant, I have come to appreciate the critical importance of conflict as a barrier to getting anything done – in nearly all realms of life.

I’m very excited to have a partner join me in this effort – Stephanie Stirling, whom some of you may know. She is a person that I have grown to admire over the almost 15 years we have worked together – in various roles: as fellow regulators, client-consultant, workshop and training organizers… Like me, she has worked within her federal role as a facilitator-on-the-side of her normal biological/regulatory duties. This is a good fit for her at this time in her professional career, and it’s a neat feeling for me to have a partner for the first time.

The other very interesting thing we’re doing with this is, in addition to the traditional face-to-face approaches, getting set up for an increasing focus on online conflict resolution. Online conflict resolution fills many niches – it helps address international commerce and workplace issues, and provides software and techniques for working with people in widely varying geographic locations and timezones.

Aside from these more obvious uses, it turns out that it is helpful in a lot of practical ways also – participants do not need to be online at the same time, do not need to take time off work, travel anywhere, or arrange childcare. One can participate from anywhere – home, office, airport, wi-fi cafe, hotel room… It is useful in situations where emotions are so high that it is hard for participants to sit in the same room and communicate effectively. Translation issues can be dealt with. And lastly – younger generations are growing up doing everything online. They’re going to expect to be able to resolve their issues and conflicts there also.

So, we’re jumping into the bold new world of online conflict resolution. It may not generate much traffic at first, but I think it will be a fast-growing market someday. And then maybe Stephanie can relax in her new home on Whidbey Island and I can relax in my hacienda in Ecuador and we can tap away and resolve the world’s conflicts :) Oh… if only it were that easy!

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