We design, implement and manage efficient dispute resolution processes to help develop appropriate agreed solutions, or fair and sensible decisions, rather than fight battles.
Our goal is to save everybody pain, effort, stress, time and money; minimise damage; save relationships where possible, and bring everyone (including businesses, groups and organisations) out alive – and capable of moving on to meet their next challenges.
Most legal and other professional advisers (and their PI insurers!), prefer to mould their clients’ needs to fit their established workflows. This provides maximum predictability, administrative efficiency, and minimised risk. Arguably, the flea is trying to control the dog, and this explains why so many clients complain that they can’t recognise their own dispute by the time it finally comes up for resolution.
We take a different approach by focusing on the parties’ needs for practical processes and sensible outcomes. We then use our vast dispute resolution experience to recommend and implement processes that best suit those real needs and capabilities.
We believe that:
Uncontrolled problems grow into dangerous disputes; and dangerous disputes grow into disastrous conflicts.
For every dispute or conflict an optimal solution can be developed through an appropriate process. Optimal solutions never arise through chance, neglect or avoidance.
For relationship-based problems:
- A collaborative (interest-based) approach always produces a better result than an adversarial (conflict-based) approach.
- Adversarial responses settle issues, but they don’t address underlying causes. They may resolve the transaction, but the relationship stay damaged.
- For individuals to achieve closure the process must address the causes of conflict – positions, rights and obligations are just “surface-level” symptoms.
- “No” is usually negotiable – most situations can be improved through competent negotiation. It often requires external intervention to re-establish momentum.
- Most relationship-based conflicts require expert third party intervention – usually delivered through mediation. The physician cannot heal him/her self.
For “impossible” conflicts:
There is no such thing. We work to eliminate the impossible – what’s left must be “possible” (with apologies to Arthur Conan Doyle).
We developed Solutionism to help parties resolve genuine problems, disputes and conflicts.
Solutionism is a complete system of principles, methodologies and problem solving processes. It combines conventional financial, commercial, legal, accounting and business management knowledge with innovative problem solving, lateral thinking, negotiation, facilitation, mediation and dispute resolution skills.
Solutionism is all about delivering whole of problem responses, recognising that most situations have significant and separate human and issue dimensions that need to be brought into balance as part of any sustainable solution.
Solutionism’s ultimate goal is to produce best possible outcomes, under all the circumstances, after taking everybody through an appropriate problem solving, decision making, solution developing process that’s tailored to them, their situation and their needs.
We use Solutionism in our work. It’s especially helpful in facilitations and mediations when we’re engaged by all the stakeholders to manage the process. We’re then: “everybody’s friend and nobody’s advocate”, which eliminates the problem of: “who’s the client?” and encourages us to get on with resolving the whole dispute or conflict in a manner that produces the best possible results for everyone, under all the circumstances.
Long ago we discovered that every dispute or conflict becomes easier to manage when it’s approached as a problem solving challenge, through a structured process. Whenever we’re engaged as dispute resolvers we encourage parties to at least follow the basic outline of the process, as it helps to create clarity about the real issues (from everyone’s perspectives) early on, which is fundamental to designing and managing an efficient dispute resolution process.
We developed the CONSEPS process: CONscious SEParate Stages. Each progressive stage is only undertaken after the previous stage has been adequately completed.
Stages #1 and #2: deal with Present States: the current situation, here and now. This is the analysis part of our process – a factual and methodical series of activities that involve: (1) gathering, and (2) evaluating information.
Stages #3 and #4: deal with Future States: what could happen in the future – Possibilities. This is the synthesis part of our process – a series of creative and strategic processes to: (3) generate options as possible solutions, and (4) craft wise decisions into solutions, complete with workable implementation plans.
CONSEPS provides an almost infinitely flexible framework for problem solving and decision making: