Structuring the Process

Why is it so important and how does the mediator use it to greatest effect?

Structuring the process is how we propose starting almost all elements of the Understanding-Based mediation process. Join us for our webinar on February 19, when Gary Friedman and Katherine Miller walk participants through the elements of structuring the process, discuss why it is such an important piece of the “How”, and answer questions from participants in this webinar.

Shortly after getting married, Fatima and Martina merged their finances. Fatima, an engineer at a prominent manufacturing company, has always earned more than Martina, a part-time student, who supports herself as a barista. Martina may not earn as much as her partner, but she is a saver. On the other hand, Fatima is a spender. Due to Martina’s low income and Fatima’s spending habits, the couple live mostly paycheck-to-paycheck.

Since combining finances, Martina has been imploring Fatima to curtail her spending habits and contribute more to the savings. She has repeatedly tried to explain the need to build a safety net and invest in their future. Martina likes to broach the subject whenever Fatima treats herself with leftover income from her paycheck, attempting to make Fatima feel guilty for ‘yet another frivolous purchase’. In turn, Fatima becomes angry at Martina for criticizing her decision-making and impeding her autonomy. She lashes out and tells Martina to get a better-paying job if she wants to save more money. Ultimately, the argument devolves into attacks on their characters and sometimes the couple will not talk to each other for days. When their interactions ‘normalize’ after, this is because they are both bottling up their emotions surrounding this subject and they follow an unspoken agreement to tiptoe around the subject as much as possible.  Months of this attack and retreat cycle has eroded their relationship and fearing they are on the pathway to divorce, they have agreed to engage with a mediator to help resolve. 


“Disputing parties are usually fully occupied by the content of the problem…but recognizing how you talk to each other can be as important, sometimes even more important than what you talk about.”  – Gary Friedman


Immediately, the mediator recognizes that Martina tends to dominate discussions and Fatima struggles to interject, until her simmering irritation bursts and her pent up frustration explodes on Martina. Fatima has internalized this as the only way she can be heard, the mediator realizes. This response does not incline Martina to listen though, and the mediator notes that this when the argument’s focus pivots to an airing out of grievances. The mediator knows that unless the couple changes how they talk to each other, it is unlikely that they will be able to resolve their dispute. For this to be successful, the mediator supports the couple in structuring the process around how they engage in this topic.  

Structuring the process generally serves as the foundation upon which the Understanding-Based mediation process builds itself. The first step structuring the process is for parties to identify the goal, objective, or problem. Often, people give little thought to the process of how they will reach an agreement. Yet, frequently, it is not the ‘what’ of the problem that can derail the conflict resolution process, but ‘how’ the participants are engaging with each other. Martina and Fatima recognize their problem is rooted in their different attitudes towards money. Yet, while identifying the problem, the couple realize that their underlying issues—fears of financial insecurity for Martina and the ability to make autonomous financial decisions for Fatima—are inherently woven into the problem and also need to be addressed as well. 

When both parties think about to talk to each other, the conflicting parties are better positioned to benefit from their own experiences while feeling like they are full participants who are invested in the conversation. “When I think about structuring the process, to me it starts with one of our core ideas…that we pay attention not just to the ‘what’ when people are talking to each other—what they’re talking about—but how they talk to each other,” notes Gary Friedman, co-founder of the Center for Understanding in Conflict (CUC). “A lot of conversations are unsuccessful because of the way the conversation takes place rather than necessarily even what’s said.” 

Structuring the process also assists in leveling the playing field between the mediator and the parties so that when they talk, the parties aren’t blindsided by what comes next. In Martina and Fatima’s case, this will help ensure that Fatima is able to participate in the conversation, without having to bottle up her thoughts and emotions until they come cascading out all at once. Fatima’s higher earning power also creates an inequality in this dynamic and structuring the process can limit Fatima’s instinct to wield her income as a weapon against Martina. 

Leveling the playing field is also instrumental in ensuring the mediator does not dictate what comes next and is running things. According to Katherine Miller, President of the CUC, when two parties are in conflict, “they each have half of the knowledge. They know what would work for them, but they don’t know what will work for the other person, because if they knew what would work for the other person, they wouldn’t be in our office.” What motivates Martina’s thriftiness is remembering the time when her parents lost their home due to medical debt. For Fatima, having a joint goal, such as saving for a home, is a more enticing prospect to save.   “It’s [the mediator’s] job to put those two pieces together in the ‘how’ to have a conversation that works for both halves,” Miller adds.


Each…has half of the knowledge. They know what would work for them, but they don’t know what will work for the other person…It’s [the mediator’s” job to put those two pieces together in the ‘how’ to have a conversation that works for both halves.”
— Katherine Miller


By coming together to evoke their intentions and address concerns, both Fatima and Martina are better able to understand the other’s perspective. Martina knows that tragedy can strike at any moment and just wants to be sure that what happened to her parents does not repeat itself with them. She is worried that longterm Fatima’s spending habits could leave them financially vulnerable. Fatima admits that she overspends and does want to better manage her finances, but she worries that if she approaches Martina for advice, her partner will try to control her income, not help her develop better habits. She is willing to contribute more, but she also does not want the pressure of their financial stability to depend overwhelmingly on her income. 

The mediator suggests ways they can actively listen to each other and reflect before responding. With guidance from the mediator, Martina and Fatima agree to a process that includes equity in speaking times and guidelines for when and how the mediator should intervene if they start attacking each other. By actively structuring the process together, Fatima and Martina are better equipped to reach their own decision in how to resolve their problem, and not depend on the mediator to tell them what to do.  Once this agreement is set and the couple move further into the mediation process, the mediator helps keep them on the path they have laid to reach the resolution, while leaving the agency with the party in conflict.

If participants do not take the time to structure the process, they can become disengaged and the pathway to resolution lost. “I think that balance of creating the mutually agreed upon container and the agreed upon center, which is the mediator, really gives the parties the support and the guidance and the leadership that they need to make a decision and to have the conversations that were previously too hard,” Miller comments.

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Increasing Understanding in Journalism

By Catherine Conner

Emma Gilchrist is co-founder and editor in chief at The Narwhal, a one-year-old independent online magazine in Canada that covers Canada’s natural world and people’s relationship to it through in depth and investigative coverage.  Emma attended two of our trainings in the last year on how journalists can use conflict resolution concepts and techniques in their work.  She talked to me about what impact the trainings have had on her work:

Why were you interested in learning more about complicating the narrative and how conflict professionals work through conflict?

We were looking for this answer but didn’t know exactly what the question was. We had been feeling for a long time that journalism oftentimes doesn’t help solve problems and in fact might make it worse by further polarizing people. Reading Amanda Ripley’s article on Complicating the Narrative and then learning more about it emboldened us.  It gave us a vocabulary to talk about things we had been feeling but hadn’t been able to put words to.  It provided the evidence and backing that telling more complex stories actually helps reach more people and helps people understand each other more, which can move issues forward.  I don’t think a case for that had really been made before, so it gave a solid backing to this being a legitimate approach.

With new vocabulary and techniques, we were emboldened to tell stories differently and have been able to share more diverse perspectives in our stories without feeling like we were falling prey to false balance.  False balance is a term used a lot in the journalism world, when there might be two opposing sides of an argument but they are not equal. Traditionally journalism says this person says this and this person says that, which doesn’t help you make sense of what any of that means.  Those two viewpoints might not be equal at all, such as in the case of a climate change denier and a climate change expert, when they don’t have the same expertise. So this helped us through the really tricky subject of how to tell stories about Canada’s natural world in a way that includes more of the voices of people who are working in natural resources industry.

What have you learned that has been helpful in journalism?

 A huge part of complicating the narrative journalism is the types of stories you choose and the types of people you choose to speak to. The looping technique is really helpful in journalism by just letting someone tell their story, having them feel heard, and then they allow you into their world. We have come to feel less like we need to package a story up with a bow and have all of the answers.  Sometimes it’s just as impactful to share the perspective of people you don’t normally hear from in the news.  One example is our story called Life after coal that featured several coal miners in Alberta who were about to lose their jobs because of the coal power phase out in Alberta. Alberta is the heartland of oil industry and extremely polarized, so how do you report on environmental issues in a place that is extremely reliant on the oil industry?  This training and its line of thinking has been really useful in the thorniest of situations like this. That story was especially surprising for people to read on The Narwhal as we are seen as an environmental news outlet.  But realistically no news outlet was sharing the voices of the people who are most impacted by that policy change.  So we are now emboldened to tell stories like that.  When you allow for that complexity, it cuts to the core of the issue more.  The perspectives of those coal miners were really intriguing and surprising. The Life After Coal piece was a finalist for an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists Association for the best labor reporting in Canada.

Another thing we found really helpful is the list of questions that complicate the narrative. Questions like “what do you wish people on the other side of this debate knew about you?” The whole approach is about increasing understanding. I’m not sure that traditional journalism holds that at the center. So if you are literally trying to understand someone and their perspective, it shifts everything you do a little bit.  People in the natural resource industries often feel vilified right now in a world that is trying to move off fossil fuels. Being able to talk to them about that and how they feel about some of those environmental issues is really fascinating and way more interesting than a typical story from environmentalists about those things. 

We have done a few other stories in the same vein since then.  In our story about fishermen and the crashing salmon stocks, we wanted to tell the story through the lens of the fishermen who are no longer able to catch those salmon. A lot of the people in the small fishing community were then sharing that story and talking about the story in a way that they wouldn’t have if we had just written the more typical “talking heads” story about that type of thing.  The story was picked up by the local newspaper in Victoria and ran as a weekend feature. 

How have your conversations with sources changed since you started this new approach?

The roleplaying we did in the trainings was so helpful to play out how one of these conversations might go.  These are difficult conversations so just having a few tools such as looping, keeping asking those questions, and asking questions to deepen understanding.  More often now, we want to make sure sources feel heard in a different way than we would have previously.  Typically a reporter is kind of curt with people, going mmm, mmmm.  I now have the confidence to go in and have these difficult conversations in a new way where we will be able to reflect the viewpoints of those people in our work.  And we believe there is truly value in that.  When we do this, it can be kind of disarming.  People may come to a conversation with a reporter with their backs up a bit, especially if it’s a controversial topic.  And they might have ideas about who we are at The Narwhal.  So using these techniques helps put people at ease because they realize that we truly want to understand them and the issues better and that is our bottom line.  They may be willing to say things they wouldn’t have said if they felt guarded and needed to be protective of themselves.

What has been the response to your stories from your readers/listeners?

We did a six-episode podcast about how one bear ended up dying that reflected a more complicated view of the situation. People just absolutely loved it, giving rave reviews about us getting into the nitty gritty of it.  There is a misunderstanding right now that online readers just want short, clickbait type stories.  Some people do but on the whole people want meaningful journalism that helps them makes sense of the world.  These techniques of complicating the narrative help us as journalists to make sense of the world, which in turn helps our readers make sense of the world.

What is next for The Narwhal?

We have ideas about the future and how we can continue to complicate the narrative. After a little bit of conflict mediation training, we are looking at all of our work through that lens. We often write about trophy hunting, which is a very controversial thing here.  Recently, I have had trophy hunters reaching out to me saying we love The Narwhal, we read it, we believe in protecting the natural world and we are curious if you would come to coffee with us and hear us out.  I would love that and hope to truly learn more.  We are still looking at how to do this.  It might be a Q&A with a trophy hunter.  Or we might get in a conflict mediator and have a conversation between the differing sides of that issue. We have also talked about another podcast focusing on complicated conversations, which we think would be very interesting.  And perhaps a monthly feature on complicating the narrative.  We are really jazzed as a team, looking at ways to embrace conflict.

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Crossing the Racial Divide

By Gary Friedman

Eric and Gary in serious thought in discussion regarding racial bias and conflict

“You know, Gary. The difference between you and me is that I need you and you don’t need me.” When I heard this coming from Eric, an amazingly talented and courageous black man, I was completely taken aback. Eric and I were part of a multi-racial training team that was preparing to present a program on racial bias and transformation. We were committed to being honest with each other, particularly as part of our investigation of the deep underlying personal layers of racism that we were exploring.

I knew that there was a lot that I didn’t understand about both the perspective of people of color and my own unconscious racism. As I took in Eric’s statement about both himself and me, my first instinct was to respond by saying that it wasn’t true that I didn’t need him. But as he talked and I began to reflect I felt that there was some truth in what he said. After all, I had spent many decades living in ignorance of so much of what people of color were experiencing and at least on the surface, it hadn’t interfered with my life. I had managed to successfully create a work life of practicing and teaching mediation with very little contact with people of color. Living in a rather affluent community, I also knew that the professional mediation community was almost entirely white, so to that extent, what Eric had said about me was true. And I knew that as a white professional with some status in the professional community, I could open doors for Eric that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Yet when I acknowledged the truth in his statement out loud, I felt awful. It clearly stung him to hear me confirm his statement, and I felt guilty, arrogant and sad.

But this was just the entry point of our discussion. As we talked more, we both realized that this statement was apparently true on the surface, but there were underlying layers that revealed a different picture.

At a deeper human level, I knew that my relationship with Eric was important, both because it offered me a rare opportunity to talk with a person of color who I cared about and who was willing to explore the deeper issues of racism that separated us and was causing so much pain in the world.

My picture of myself as a white liberal, not racist, had been punctured by the deep conversations we had been having about the many ways in which my privilege as a white man had provided me with advantages not available to him. Simply the differences in the color of our skin, for starters, opened doors for me and closed doors for him that made life easier for me and harder for him. So on this deeper level, my relationship with him mattered a lot to me.

But this wasn’t just personal. It was also cultural.  I know that I need this relationship to shake things up and help me learn about the parts of my life that have been dulled or repressed by my whiteness.  We, white people need to have people of color in our lives because the need for social change is so urgent and profound that all of us are affected by our current system in ways that erode the quality of lives for all of us.  And most of all we  need to heal the deep wounds that we all carry whether we know it or not from 400 years of white supremacy.

When I first responded to him acknowledging that he was right about my not needing him , I said “you know, Eric, while that might be true that I could walk away from our relationship and on the surface my life would continue rather undisturbed, what I realize is that because I choose to be in relationship with you, it actually feels stronger to me. Our friendship matters a lot to me and the fact that it is something I want might be a greater commitment than if I felt that I didn’t have an option to not have you in my life. And on a deeper level for you, maybe you don’t need me at all. While I might be able to open doors for you that might otherwise be closed, your emotional well-being may not be dependent on me. And I think that there are even deeper levels of this question of the difference between need and want that we haven’t explored.”

Eric responded “Maybe, but your saying you didn’t need me really hurts.” When I put myself in Eric’s shoes, even though it was painful, it felt important to understand how different the world looked to him than me, how layers of pain that came from our cultural differences added to the gulf between us.  And how we both suffer from the institutionalization of discrimination that we carry today from so many years of inhuman treatment.  And at the deepest level, I think we both know that the change can’t happen without each other.

 Knowing this, I could already feel like I was being changed by this experience. There was a lot more to go, but we had opened something that felt quite profound that was bringing us closer to each other.

If you are interested in learning more about intentional conversations between the races, check out our upcoming training on October 5-6, 2019.

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Complicating the Narratives

Complicating the Narratives

What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious?

By Amanda Ripley / Solutions Journalism Network

 

Amanda attended our Self Reflection in Action training in February 2018 during her research for her work on changing journalism, particularly focusing on the question of how to address conflict.  Amanda is a thoughtful writer who inspires journalists to bring new skills and direction to their work for the benefit of all of us.  We highly recommend her article.  Here is the beginning of her article at Solutions Journalism with a link to read the rest.

Last summer, 60 Minutes brought 14 people — half Republicans, half Democrats — to a converted power plant in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. The goal was to encourage Americans to talk — and listen — to those with whom they disagree. Oprah Winfrey led the conversation, her debut as a 60 Minutes Special Correspondent — and her return to TV news, where she’d started her career as a Baltimore anchor four decades earlier.

It was an extraordinary opportunity. For three hours, nine cameras captured the group’s conversation about Twitter, President Trump, health care and the prospect of a new civil war. The crew even built a special table, just for the occasion. The edited 16-minute segment would represent the first of a series of planned 60 Minutes shows focused on a divided America. It was a chance for a respected news outlet to go beyond the clichés and name-calling and excavate richer, deeper truths, at a time of profound division in America.

In the end, that was not what happened. The episode drew nearly 15 million viewers, making it the third-most-watched TV show of the week, according to Nielsen ratings. But the on-air conversation was strangely dull and superficial.

First, a heavyset man named Tom said he loved Trump more every day; next, a blonde woman named Jennifer said Trump made her feel sick to her stomach. Later, Winfrey went around the table asking each person for one word to describe the typical Trump voter, then repeating their answers. “Frustrated,” said Tom. “Frustrated,” said Winfrey.

What went wrong? How could one of the most successful, relatable interviewers in American history create such uninspired television?

Deep in their bones, talk-show hosts (like journalists generally) understand certain things about human psychology: we know how to grab the brain’s attention and stimulate fear, sadness or anger. We can summon outrage in five words or less. We value the ancient power of storytelling, and we get that good stories require conflict, characters and scene. But in the present era of tribalism, it feels like we’ve reached our collective limitations.

As politicians have become more polarized, we have increasingly allowed ourselves to be used by demagogues on both sides of the aisle, amplifying their insults instead of exposing their motivations. Again and again, we have escalated the conflict and snuffed the complexity out of the conversation. Long before the 2016 election, the mainstream news media lost the trust of the public, creating an opening for misinformation and propaganda. If the purpose of journalism is to “see the public into fuller existence,” as Jay Rosen once wrote, it’s hard to conclude that we are succeeding.

“Conflict is important. It’s what moves a democracy forward,” says journalist Jeremy Hay, co-founder of Spaceship Media, which helps media outlets engage divided communities. “But as long as journalism is content to let conflict sit like that, journalism is abdicating the power it has to help people find a way through that conflict.”

But what else can we do with conflict, besides letting it sit? We’re not advocates, and we shouldn’t be in the business of making people feel better. Our mission is not a diplomatic one. So what options does that leave?

To find out, I spent the past three months interviewing people who know conflict intimately and have developed creative ways of navigating it. I met psychologists, mediators, lawyers, rabbis and other people who know how to disrupt toxic narratives and get people to reveal deeper truths. They do it every day — with livid spouses, feuding business partners, spiteful neighbors. They have learned how to get people to open up to new ideas, rather than closing down in judgment and indignation.

To read the rest, click here.

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Conflict & The Black Family by Lacey C. Wilson

I grew up in a small town in Central Texas. My family, on the other hand, was not so small. My maternal grandmother, a Cherokee/African-American woman birthed 14 children, more than half of which were born in the home, including my own mother. This large offspring led to a host of aunts and uncles, nieces, and nephews. Sundays were reserved for family get-togethers that were filled with front yard BBQs and uncles attempting to out-dance each other. In the midst of our togetherness was an array of drunken tempers that (if out of control) could put someone in the hospital.

I have no doubt that my personal struggle with anxiety and sensitivity to conflict began in my grandmother’s front yard. I can say that the converse is also true: my resilience and my unyielding desire to create change within my community were born in that front yard as well.

I have since been fascinated with the conflict dynamic in Black families, particularly my role as an LGBT member of my Black family. This fascination is what drew me to conflict work and the legal profession in the first place; not only was my resilience and unyielding desire bubbling but my innate longing to heal and solve my community’s conflict. Witnessing my own family’s resistance to mental health, medical assistance and legal help due to racism and oppression led me to realize that my grandmother’s front yard inspired me to not only break the cycle of abuse but to become part of the solution.

So how do you communicate differently with your partner who makes you feel like you are the one to blame? How do you create safety in sharing your own feelings? How do you walk away from a conversation with your child or spouse, feeling like you’re more connected to them and not pushing them away? How can we approach all of these questions with respect to Black culture? Though I could write for days, I’ll start with two healthy suggestions.

GET COMFORTABLE WITH VULNERABILITY

We all have to not only realize the role that vulnerability plays in conflict but also admit that its role is essential. (Many people raised in Black families have not experienced this nor have they seen it modeled.) Looking through a lens of healing conflict: when you are hurt, sad or scared you need to be willing to explain this in a way your partner or child can understand you without feeling blamed or accountable. This description of negative emotion is not weakness; in fact, it is the complete opposite.

I grew up surrounded by women who very rarely cried or had conversations with me when I was sad. I grew up surrounded by men whom either ignored the existence of conflict or solved it with loud, hurtful words or a punch in the face. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Girl, stop your cryin’…you’ll be aight” or “boy please, wipe your eyes.. ain’t nobody got time for that”. I quickly inherited the notion that sharing negative emotions was a sign of weakness and rarely did I see these emotions communicated effectively. Thus, I never quite understood the notion of “vulnerability”. To be vulnerable is to be open, honest and raw. To be vulnerable is to know yourself and to be willing to communicate your feelings even when you feel unsure, alone or out numbered. To be vulnerable is to be willing to solve conflict. Without this vulnerability, I can’t imagine conflict resolution getting too far – in any environment.

LEARN EMPATHY

The blame game is old. The loudest person does not truly “win” the argument. Without the ability to empathize with your family members, walls are built. In Black communities, this inability to empathize during conflict creates what I am calling Black walls. In my Black family, each brick is laid with passive aggressive communication, the learned coping skill of shutting down, dismissal of others’ feelings, blame, and a healthy dose of shame. Each time a brick is laid, an opportunity to resolve conflict is lost and the wall gets tougher and tougher to break down.

With the aforementioned resistance toward communicating negative feelings and the lack of modeled empathy, one could already imagine the issues of conflict that arise. I must admit, throughout my entire life I did not views these as conflicts that were worth addressing. I viewed them as ways of life. Even when I began my own journey of self-growth and began my marriage which vows described vulnerability to the max: I never saw these conflicts in my Black family as ones that could be solved. I accepted them as they were and I code-switched (in a way) when dealing with conflict with them. These Black walls can be high and the bricks can be plentiful but each brick laid can be wiggled loose when practicing empathy.

Breaking down the walls that keep us from being willing to face our feelings and deal with conflict is a daunting task for any – not only those raised in Black families. I could honestly write on this topic for days. My role in my family and my culture has been a source of great strength as well as a great challenge. As a daughter, a sister, a niece, a wife, a mediator and a law student, I am learning more about myself every single day in regards to how I frame and handle conflict. Realizing how our own upbringing, culture and race shapes our ability to solve conflict is a huge part of breaking down these walls. My own intersectionality as a Black lesbian female has proven to be one of my strongest tools as a mediator. This might be a surprise to some; to others, it may be completely understood. I look forward to more discussions around conflict and culture!

Lacey, a Central Texas native, is a community mediator and legal apprentice, currently living in the Bay Area in California with her wife. She is studying law through the California Law Office Study Program. She encourages individuals to engage in a dialogue that cultivates understanding while seeking to mitigate the cultural, socio-economic, racial and gender biases that may keep us in conflict.

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Living in Tension

by Gary Friedman

 

A key skill for conflict professionals is the ability to live with the variety of tensions that present themselves to us as a regular part of our work life, particularly the tension of sitting in the middle of differences between parties. Now, many of us are being tested as never before by the political situation, where we are regularly facing a world of surprises, challenges, disappointments, evoking rampant fear. At least, I notice these many reactions within myself.

How do we manage ourselves during these troubled times? How will our efforts at work to live with tensions help us deal with the larger world? And how can we bring our understanding of what is happening in the larger world to help our clients deal with what is happening in their lives?

I don’t know. That is a fact that I have to accept. That’s hard to swallow but it’s also reassuring. So much of my life seemed quite figured out prior to November 8th, but the trauma of the election and subsequent events has opened me to a deep recognition of how much less I understood about the country than I thought. The world seems turned upside down a lot of the time, with daily events that only add to the challenge of living in these times.

While more than just a little unsettling, I have also discovered a major upside and interesting opportunity presented to me (us). There is a famous Buddhist saying “Not knowing is most intimate.” What I understand this to mean is that when I am clearest about what is happening within me and between me and others, this often creates a distance between me and others, and even within me, that is not present when I am struggling, confused, fearful and vulnerable.

The vulnerability that comes from not knowing creates an opening in me. I can feel more connected to more of the world when I admit my uncertainties than when I settle for an answer that closes off my curiosity. This can also happen between me and the parties I’m trying to help in my work.

With the trauma of Trump, there is no pretending that I understand all of what is going on, both outside me and within me. When I realize this and bring that attitude to my work, I feel more openness to the parties and recognize that easy answers are often not so useful as staying with uncertainty. In fact, uncertainty is closest to the truth of our situation. Anyone who believes that they know what is going to happen next is often disappointed to find out how wrong they are. That has never been more clear than it is now in the wider world.

If we can find the courage to recognize that we don’t know, and live with the tension of that, we have a better chance of expanding our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world. So all of our work as conflict professionals to learn and practice the skill of living with the tension of not knowing can serve us to better face the world now, and facing the world can help us be better conflict professionals. Perhaps a small silver lining but potentially important for us all.

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