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Brain reacts to fairness
I attended Auckland University back in the late sixties, studying English and psychology before heading overseas. Returned here a few years later after traveling the world to become a builder which was a hugely enjoyable and satisfying way of life: met lots of interesting people and worked on lots of interesting projects before finding myself increasingly called upon to make authoritative comments during construction disputes.
So for a number of years I have worked as a so called "expert", especially in leaky homes. This has not been nearly as much fun as building, but much easier on the body which is no longer quite as tireless as it used to be, plus I have learned a great deal from some very intelligent and articulate lawyers. During this time I also met a number of mediators and became inspired to learn more about resolving disputes and so undertook two quite intense years of study at Massey, completing a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies, specialising in Dispute Resolution. Later I completed the LEADR training and became accredited with that organisation too.
Along the way I was introduced to Kenneth Cloke - both metaphorically and later literally - and learned a great deal from him. He teaches a wide range of skills, but it seems to me that the basis is an appreciation of what it means to be human - a sense of innate worth, of infinite capacity which is available to be tapped. He signed my copy of one of his books: "with deep respect" and I just knew he meant it. True humility is profoundly powerful, found in those who see infinite potential in everyone. This has absolutely nothing to do with naive expectation. Rather, it is a state of highly intelligent respectful awareness, which has a subtle but powerful effect on disputing parties.
Currently construction related disputes seem to find their way to my door, and also relationship based ones. By that I mean disputes betwen individuals who for whatever reason would prefer to be able to work together again in the future. Please note I am NOT a psychologist and mediation is quite definitely not counseling - but as this article makes clear, training in various fields can be valuable.
I find the Chinese character below useful: the colours are simply to show the different parts. The composite represents what is involved in respectful listening: we need to not only use our ears to listen, but also our eyes. Beyond that, when really listening we are giving the speaker our undivided attention and connecting with our heart. Finally, the concept of the speaker being really important to us is symbolised by the Emperor. Taken all together, the parts add up to a way of listening I aspire to.
Kenneth Cloke teaches what he calls the "Zen of Mediation, which is what I do my best to practice:
Being as empathetic with both parties as possible, without losing ourselves;
Being as honest with both parties as possible, without being judgmental;
Being as committed as possible to revealing choices involving resolution and transformation, without caring one bit what each pary chooses.
If you think I might be able to assist in the resolution of the situation you find yourself in, by all means give me a call on (09) 413 9940. If I don't think I have the appropriate skills, I will do my best to connect you with someone who does.