You’ve seen it before, and you’ll see it again:
• Someone digs in his heels and adamantly refuses to admit he’s wrong, even though the evidence is clearly against him.
• Someone devotes far more resources to trying to defeat someone than she can possibly recover, even if she wins.
• Someone gets into a heated disagreement with a relative or co-worker about how to address a situation even though he’s not sure what he really wants.
• Someone fiercely resists a change that seems destined to make her better off.
What’s going on? Our minds evolved to deal with differences in the small, simple, homogeneous communities our ancestors occupied thousands of years ago. So they are easily confused and overwhelmed by the complexities of life. We cannot alter how our minds work, but we can learn to overcome their limitations.
Geoff Drucker has addressed disputes from the perspective of a lawyer, mediator, designer of dispute resolution programs, teacher, and trainer. He wrote Resolving 21st Century Disputes: Best Practices for a Fast-Paced World to fill key gaps he saw in our understanding of how disputes arise and get resolved. Geoff currently manages a health care dispute resolution program for the American Health Lawyers Association.
For More Information: Geoff Drucker
Assignment for week: Analyzing a 21st Century Dispute
Mastering the art of conflict resolution is like learning to play a sport or a musical instrument. Whatever level of skill you start out with, you can enhance through practice. And you’re never done. It is a lifetime journey.