Today the conference continued. I had a major realization today; seems obvious, but it’s not necessarily to someone studying this stuff deeply:
I’ve been under the impression that the best thing to do, as Fisher and Ury describe it, is to get to yes. Getting short of yes is useless. On top of that, everything about ADR and mediation is getting to yes. I included dialogue efforts under that heading.
Today and yesterday, Professor Robert Bush taught me I’ve been wrong in this thinking. Totally off. To him, there is more than one goal; you can strive to get to yes – which is a problem-solving, directive goal – and you can live with no. Living with no can be a productive way to go after the dialoguing process. It’s about conflict transformation, not conflict resolution.
Here’s how it looks:
Dialogue/Contact -> conflict transformation -> living with no.
It’s changing the interaction between the parties in dispute. And that can make a huge difference in both parties’ lives.
And it’s essentially what transformative mediation is all about. It also makes dialogue all the more valuable for me.
Sure, it seems obvious in the title of the field: transformative mediation, duh. But do you realize it’s more transformation than it is mediation?
For a lot of conflicts, that’s enough.