Max Lucado/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Recognize the name Max Lucado? I didn’t either before day. But he is an author, clergyman and believer in the human capacity to achieve and to grow in life. Here are two quotes, both of them in the spirit of Win-Win and mediation process:

“Conflict is inevitable but combat is optional”
It is wise to recognize that conflict with others is inevitable in life. But why make it a case for WW III? We do not always choose to be in conflict, but we surely can choose NOT to be in combat with others.

“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner.”
It sometimes feels way too sweet to carry a grudge or blame another for adversity. However, remember who pays the price for those feelings. Learn how to set yourself free from painful conflicts and confrontation.

Mediate don’t litigate.

Being Curious/Martin Rosenfeld,JD

Dr. Dan Shapiro of the Harvard Program on Negotiation makes a simple proposal for moving forward when a party is angered by some aspect of a negotiation. Ask them why they are upset. It is best to make this an “I” statement. For example, consider asking “Is there something that I said (or s/he said) that has caused you to have this negative reaction?”. Encourage them to talk about the issue that is on their mind. The late radio psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne, often advised “Be curious not furious”. Consider ways to encourage conversation and not ways that tends to stifle the free exchange that is needed.

What Makes One Happy?/Martin Rosenfeld

A Harvard Professor by the name of Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar wrote a popular book on happiness. The book, based on a successful course Dr. Ben-Shahar taught at Harvard, is entitled “Happier”. This book is a wonderful read and offers the reader much to ponder. At the end of the chapters, the author provides an exercise to engage the reader. Towards the book’s end, Dr. Ben-Shahar has this to say: “Think of a conflict, major minor, that you have with another person…In writing, elaborate on the price that you and the other party are paying in the ultimate current. (Note: The author refers to happiness as the ultimate currency. MR) Is the price worth it?

For those involved in divorce disputes, commercial disputes, employment disputes, etc., you would do well to ask yourself this question: Is it worth it? Life is short and uncertain as we all now feel in the most dramatic way. Is living with rancor and confrontation worth it? Is litigation the best way? Once again, the answer seems clear…mediate don’t litigate.

Conflict:Is it Worth It?/Martin Rosenfeld

A Harvard Professor by the name of Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar wrote a popular book on happiness. The book, based on a successful course Dr. Ben-Shahar taught at Harvard, is entitled “Happier”. This book is a wonderful read and offers the reader much to ponder. At the end of the chapters, the author provides an exercise to engage the reader. Towards the book’s end, Dr. Ben-Shahar has this to say: “Think of a conflict, major minor, that you have with another person…In writing, elaborate on the price that you and the other party are paying in the ultimate current. (Note: The author refers to happiness as the ultimate currency. MR) Is the price worth it?

For those involved in divorce disputes, commercial disputes, employment disputes, etc., you would do well to ask yourself this question: Is it worth it? Life is short and uncertain as we all now feel in the most dramatic way. Is living with rancor and confrontation worth it? Is litigation the best way? Once again, the answer seems clear…mediate don’t litigate.

Perspective

The number of health professional stricken by the virus is way too high. Yet, many professionals have stated that although they recognize the potential danger to their health, they will keep on doing what they are trained to do. Dedication and selflessness. Need a mediator because you can’t agree on work issues, divorce issues, family issues, etc? Think of the health professionals who are willing to risk life itself for their values and sense of duty. It puts a lot of what worries us in perspective.

Our nation will never be able to properly repay the professionals who are truly angelic in their dedication. Life is short. Be willing to make overtures for peace even in the midst of a dispute. If you need an inspiration, look no further than the health professionals who are risking it all or us. That is a perspective to envy.

Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Brainstorming

In a mediation there can come a time when the parties seem unable to come up with new and untried options. This is a good time to try to brainstorm. We have rules for everything, and brainstorming is no exception. Brainstorming can be effective, and there is no need to take up too much time in this process. Rapid Ideation in brainstorming allows for a large number of ideas in a short amount of time. For Rapid Ideation, the parties need to be confident in pushing snap judgment or perceived deterrents into the background. Just let creative thought and impulsive ideas flow freely. If nothing else, the approach will assure the parties that options do exist and, more significantly, they are capable of creating such options.

Mediate don’t litigate.

Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Learning From the Past/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

On January 29, 2020, Fred Kaplan of Slate magazine, appeared on NPR to discuss his new book “The Bomb”. How close has the world come to nuclear war, Mr. Kaplan was asked. He replied that during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President Kennedy’s military advisors did not hesitate to suggest a nuclear attack on Cuba. President Kennedy held his peace but he had already decided on a path towards a compromise. If Russia removed its missiles from Cuba, the US would agree to remove its missiles that were situated in Turkey. A perfect compromise and a path away from mutual destruction.

The paradigm of the JFK decision in October 1962 is a reminder that however high the stakes may be, disputes can be resolved by logical, creative thinking. When parties look at WATNA i.e. the Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Never give up on the possibility of a resolution to a dispute. You may not be saving the world, as JFK may have done, but you will have chosen a most constructive manner of achieving dispute resolution. Mediate don’t litigate.

Einstein and ADR/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

The successful author, Stephen Covey, wrote a book that illustrates the principle of Win-Win. The title of the work is “The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems”. The advice found in that work is simple:
“Win-Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It’s not your way or my way, it’s a better way.” A certain type of thinking led to an impasse. A “better way” of finding a solution is effected when new and creative thinking is brought to beat. Albert Einstein is believed to have authored the following statement: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. Getting to Win-Win involves inter alia creativity, building of trust, and focusing on interests and not positions. The work is not easy but it is essential if we wish to seek a “better way” in conflict resolution.