group facilitation

  • GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION – WHY? GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION – WHY?

    GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION – WHY?

GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION – WHY?

I have been a Group Facilitator and Mediator for nearly 28 years. When I started in the field in 1987, it was new to me and new to everyone I encountered. I was fortunate to have a sponsor for my training and early years of work in the field in Jefferson County, Colorado. The County retained me as a full-time mediator and facilitator for large land use proposals (mining operations, recreational sites, landfills, hazardous waste sites, etc.). It was a baptism of fire for a conflict resolution professional, but it allowed me to devote all of my professional energies to this fascinating field. As I gained more experience in the field and grew to respect the positive results of the process, I thought that more and more people in all walks of life would come around to using mediation as a way to solve all manner of conflicts. This has happened, but to a much more limited extent than I had hoped. Too many good mediators have left the field because they could not find enough clients. So, I would like to once more make the case for what has been come to be known as alternative dispute resolution or ADR (alternative because it does not follow the typical path of using confrontation in the courts – or other venues – to solve problems).

There are so many reasons for using ADR that I know I will not remember all of them, here. However, all of the reasons are compelling ones. Many of you reading this will probably say: “Why didn’t he list that reason?” All this tells […]

By |July 2nd, 2015|Group Facilitation Denver, Mediation|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION – WHY?
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    GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit? GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

    GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

As a Group Facilitator and Mediator, I know that my primary job is to help people talk to each other about their wants, needs, positions, feelings, opinions, etc. – in other words, all of the elements of any disagreement, whether major or minor.

 
If I do this well, parties typically come to some sort of resolution of their conflict.  A group of relatively like-minded individuals may reach agreement on an action plan for their group (e.g., the Board members of a non-profit organization).  Two individuals in a workgroup may sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning how they will work together in harmony (or, at least, without overt hostility) in the future.  A large group of people with very diverse points of view may agree on a way for a project to move forward (large environmental projects often involve such antagonistic groups).  However, I must always remember that my success is not an agreement reached, but a real conversation completed.  If I fixate on agreement, I may not know when to quit.

Toward the beginning of my career in conflict resolution, I was asked to facilitate/mediate a group of 20 to 25 people who were at odds over a proposed major rock quarry.  There were representatives from the landowner proposing the quarry (his attorney, environmental consultants, etc.), citizens opposing the quarry (nearby landowners concerned with the potential impacts of such an operating quarry), attorneys and consultants for the citizen opponents, representatives of local and national environmental groups, local government regulators (planners, public health personnel, etc.) and anyone else who felt that he or she had an interest in whether or not the project should be approved.  The group was commissioned by local government officials (who would eventually […]

By |March 4th, 2015|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?