At Fuller Mediations we utilize a problem solving process to help guide the parties to a constructive resolution. By using this process, we create a structure for settlement discussions and negotiations that helps the parties stay focused on their most important issues and interests as we work to constructively resolve their disputes. To help the parties get to a constructive resolution we:
- Set the Table Before people in conflict can begin to effectively discuss resolving their disputes, they must feel the discussion and negotiating environment is a safe and comfortable space in which to have difficult conversations. The first thing we do when we are working with parties in conflict is to create an atmosphere where people can — in a dignified and respectful way — have constructive conversations about their disagreements. In this environment, we discuss and agree to ground rules and a game plan for working through the conflict. Having the parties commit to constructive behavior during the process is with the goal of maximizing each party’s own success, not simply for the purpose of trying to make people behave nicely.
- Find Out What Really Matters and Why One of the first steps towards resolving conflict is to clarify exactly what are the issues in dispute and determine why each issue is important to each of the parties. We call this “finding out the whys behind the whats.” Having a clear understanding of what is important to each party and why is essential to generating constructive options and solutions. Before trying to resolve anything, we work with parties in conflict to determine the major issues in dispute and the goals, interests and concerns of each party concerning those issues and the process to resolve those issues.
- Inform the Deciders Before attempting to resolve conflict it is important to gather enough information so that each party can make informed and considered decisions. Unless people in conflict can make informed decisions, they will not likely make effective or durable decisions. Full disclosure of information creates safer negotiations and more creative and constructive options and resolutions.
- Mine and Refine for the Most Constructive Resolution After we have worked through the process outlined above, we help people generate creative and constructive options for resolving their conflict that are consistent with their goals and interests. Through thoughtful discussions, evaluation of the options and negotiations, we work to find the most constructive options and solutions available that are consistent with what really matters to the parties.
- Make an Empowered Decision Most serious conflicts will confront impasse at some point in the conflict. When trying to resolve impasse, we try to help people set aside disabling emotions such as anger, bitterness and resentment so that they can effectively problem solve and make empowering choices. The entire constructive resolution process is designed to create an environment where people in conflict can move from retaliation to resolution and resolve conflict constructively instead of destructively.