Express Ways

Dynamic Solutions

Conflict or dispute resolution is an ongoing, complex life experience, formal or otherwise. My goal is to break down the complexities int manageable steps participants can use for themselves before, during and after any conflict. Maintaining long term relationships is a primary goal of my work. Using the instructions in the Course in Collaborative Negotiations turned my life around and led me to more satisfying relationships, even if the relationship ultimately ended.

Formal mediation or legal procedures are structured to reach a decision through various means. Anyone involved in formal proceeding will be well served to understand these elements of Collaborative Negotiations.
Those whose conflicts are in interpersonal relationships at home or at work can also benefit by using these techniques to understand the core interests of themselves and the “co-pponent.”

I use this term to signify that each party has an interest in a satisfactory solution, therefore shifting from positions of opponents to co-pponents is the first step on the road to resolution.

The Course lists these basic ingredients for a durable settlement:

Procedural Satisfaction

These are working agreements along the way that establish equity and ownership of the resolution process. Regardless of ultimate outcome, which may include impasse or other incomplete solutions, the parties will consider using this process, or these tools, again in future situations.

Substantive Satisfaction

This is evident in positions being reached that also meet identifiable interest satisfaction for all parties involved. The potential for backlash resulting from inadequate interest satisfaction will appear over time, perpetuating the dispute and affecting ongoing relationships.

Psychological Satisfaction

The psychological and emotional toll incurred through long term disputes and conflicts can be exhausting. To sense one has been fully heard and acknowledged is critical for true resolution to last. Knowing how things could have turned out worse had resolution not taken place, feeling validated and respected at the end of the process can bring a deep sense of relief.

My approach to this part of resolution is where Speaking Circles begins to play an important role.

Be Heard Now by Lee Glickstein offers a model of “Relational Presence” that will be used to ensure all parties feel validated and valued as an important individual in the process, regardless of their role in a group or community.

In the game or exercise of “Cats and Dogs”, participants will state their case and will be supported in that process by all other participants regardless of whether they agree or not. Each participant states their case for themselves in turn. “Get Off Your Buts” is a rule that ensures other participants do not devalue or argue against one another. Their position is stated based upon the merit they assign to it. Their opening words may be directed to be “Yes, I agree with…, and I believe….” As an acknowledgement that the other person was heard first before starting to make their own point.


Interest-based negotiation is predicated upon meeting our needs as we perceive them to be at any given time. Questioning your motives at a deeper level may reveal more profound understanding of why there is a conflict within yourself, or between you and others. Having this understanding prior to a formal dispute resolution process empowers you to have your needs met more fully, thereby achieving a more durable resolution, leading to more fulfilling relationships

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Creating Conscious Consensus

Entering into an agreement, formal or informal, is an opportunity for all parties to consciously choose cooperation over confrontation. Entering the negotiation process with more in-depth understanding of the interests of all parties can expedite the process. With all stakeholders committed to the outcome, it is vital each person is fully seen and heard. Vulnerability is a barrier which may be overcome as individuals are acknowledged and appreciated for who they are and what they say. Authentic communication paves the way on the road to new solutions. We may have started from diverse points of view, but we may find the way to merge our ideas as we travel that road together.

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