Friday, May 2, 2014

Start the Music: Dancing through Mediation

I read Ken Cloke's newest book, "The Dance of Opposites" over the last weekend and then yesterday I attended an excellent training by my friends and colleagues at the IAM, Tracy Allen and Eric Galton at the United States District Court.  They reminded me of a concept Tracy calls, "People Moving" as a means to getting the parties out of position that appears to be heading towards impasse or "stuck".  In essence, the concept is simple in both dancing and negotiating:  if you stop moving, the dance is over.  Tracy reminded me that although we mediators are "on the move" throughout the day, shuttling between the two or more rooms in private sessions, the lawyers and their clients are physically "stuck" in a single "position":  a metaphor for the oppositional positions of adversaries in litigation.  Getting them out of their complacent seats, up on their feet, moving them to a different room, with different light and art work can sometimes be all it takes for them to gain additional perspective and to see the conflict from a different point of view.  Simple, elegant and brilliant!  I have reviewed Ken's book for an upcoming article and will publish it for you soon--but for now, I highly recommend getting out of your seat and getting a copy of it.  It is highly readable, ambitious and inspired--just like it's author, Ken Cloke.