I’m always on the lookout for ideas and frames that give context to my work. Recently I came across Getting to Resolution: Turning conflict into collaboration by Stewart Levine. It does just that. It touches my buttons; collaboration, conflict, resolution, mediation, community, systems thinking, to name a few.
In this short video (can’t see it? click here), I share three reasons this book resonated with me…
Book content highlights
Here are my key takeaways from this book:
- Your attitude frames everything
- Resolution is an outcome, not a specific process; resolution = win/win, back in action, fully engaged, no residual
- There are many paths to resolution
- Bring it all to the table; systems thinking; facts, emotions, storytelling, principles
- Build resolution incrementally; e.g., preliminary vision, new vision/agreement in principle, agreement in principle
- Results orientation (just like Getting to Yes, Getting it Done: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge)
- Resolution as a profession; the resolutionary (note: one resolutionary competency is Life experience: Resolutionaries are bald or gray, or possess an old soul. They have mileage on them yes!)
Principles of Conflict Resolution (= attitude of resolution)
Levine’s 10 principles of conflict resolution
- Assume abundance. If you believe there is “enough”–enough for you and other to get what they want–resolution will be easier.
- Use resources efficiently. Adversarial thinking wastes resources. A detailed agreement made in collaboration is the most-efficient tool for resolving conflict.
- Be creative. Focus your resources on creative solutions, rather than anger, by anticipating conflict as an ordinary fact of life.
- Foster resolution. By addressing differences in a context of resolution you can create a shared vision of the desired outcome.
- Be open to vulnerability. It’s better to “just show up and tell the truth” than to resort to bravado and posturing.
- Form long-term collaborations. Adopt a long-term time frame that allows important relationships to be retained after the conflicts are settled.
- Respect people’s feelings. Expressing strong emotion is part of the collaborative effort that assures everyone’s concerns are heard.
- Fully disclose information. Information is the raw material that leads to resolution. Full disclosure builds trust and good faith.
- Learn through the resolution process. Forget winning. Keep your mind open to learning facts, concerns, and perspectives of all people involved.
- Become “responseAble.” Deferring to professionals can steal your experience of finding out who you are. You become “responseAble” when you deal personally with the conflict.
At the end of the day
Levine says the messages of all teachers are:
- A key to life is knowing that all we can do in any situation is be present in the moment, listen (externally and internally), speak what is true for you, do not be attached to particular outcomes.
- The most vulnerable and most important place in the continuum towards resolution lies in not knowing the answer. Our ability to stay in that place until clarity arrives is the key to uncovering the best outcome.
- The best framework for any difficult situation is to learn our way through it
Are you a resolutionary? In what way?
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