Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

Advanced Communications Technologies

Friday, June 4th, 2010

 

The Futurist is a magazine that covers trends, forecasts and ideas about the future and is published by the World Future Society, a non-profit educational and scientific organization chartered in Washington, D.C.  Their website is www.wfs.org.

The Futurist May-June 2009 featured an article titled, Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World/Forecasts and Implications for Business, written by Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies.  During the next few weeks we will be presenting segments of their article as they relate to businesses and business owners.

Advanced communications technologies are changing the way we live and work.

  • Web 2.0 services are building communities nearly as complex and involving as those existing wholly in the real world
  • MySpace and Facebook have a total of more than 180 million members who form communities of friends, most of whom have never met except on the Internet.
  • However, the millennial generation has already abandoned e-mail for most purposes other than communicating with “clueless” parents and grandparents.  Most have adopted instant messaging and social network Web sites to communicate with their peers.
  • Telecommuting is growing rapidly, thanks largely to ever-advancing communication technologies.  About 80% of companies worldwide now have employees who work at home, up from 54% in 2003.  The number of telecommuters in the United States reached an estimated 20 million in 2006.
  • At&T says that 90% of its employees do some work away from the office, while 41% work at home one or two days per week.  This saves the company a reported $180 million a year.

Implications

E-mail promised to speed business.  Instead, it absorbs more time than busy executives can afford to lose.  Expect the nascent reaction against e-mail to grow as many people eliminate mailing lists, demand precise e-communications rather than open-ended conversation, and schedule only brief periods for dealing with mail.

Instant messaging is likely to be even more destructive of time for the under-30 set.   However, e-mail is a major contributor to globalization and outsourcing, because it  eliminates many of the obstacles of doing business across long distances and many time  zones.

Unfortunately, e-mail and other modern communications techniques also have  made possible a variety of crimes, from online fraud to some forms of identity theft.

The next Futurist article: Specialization

THERE ARE TIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE YOUR MEDICINE

Friday, May 21st, 2010

There are areas of mediation and conflict resolution that are all too often ignored by even the largest of companies. If I had to characterize the omission, it would be close to not having automobile insurance, not taking fire precautions, not locking your car door in a city or not taking preventive medication.

A positive case in point that may illustrate the type of problem that arises is a story of a large fortune 100 company, whose financial division included a marketing department and the CIO’s (Chief Investment Officer) department.

These two groupings employed well over 1,400 people. The “powers that be” decided that it would be worthwhile, due to the departure of the executive in charge of marketing, for the CIO to take over and combine the functions of both of these departments. The problems that arose from this combination were many and yet, when we investigated, it was in large measure due to the perceptions that each department held of the other.

According to Marketing: “The CIO department sits in an ivory tower and makes (word altered here) “stuff” up that has no application in the real world and expects us to make it palatable”.

According to the CIO group: “Marketing doesn’t really do anything anyway. They throw parties and put names on hats and golf balls”.

The challenge here was not the mechanical or functional merge between these diverse portions of the same organization, but rather the cultural merger. Could the perceptions that each held of the other be changed? What were the factors and blocks that stood in the way? Would the organization take an active structural role through a shift in the way it rewarded the employees so that cross group and team function was a portion of the bonus structure? Was it possible for the individuals at the top of this grouping to genuinely attribute value to their interaction with the other department and model that for the whole group?

In this case, perceptions were changed and structures were shifted through the application of mediation and conflict resolution approaches. After a year of our input we found that a natural synergy had been developed, that project managers for the CIO service would always request participation by the Marketing department in the earliest stages of development and the reverse was also true. These departments became intertwined, and the group leaders requested that the leadership structure be moved into the same suite of offices so that they could cooperate more easily. Through the wisdom and sensitivity of leadership, mediation help was asked for at the right time and the results were excellent.

By contrast if we look at the rise and fall of the Daimler-Chrysler merger, we can see that they believed a tremendous amount was to be gained by the merger of technical expertise and manufacturing capability. Indeed, the technical levels of both organizations were raised considerably. The final results only a few years later were characterized as deception and betrayal. The short lifespan of this merger was due to the lack of will to invest in making a conscious cultural merger. This might have been be carried out by consultants who had a wide range of communications, mediation and conflict resolution skills being brought in during the initial merger talks and not left as an afterthought to the financial or just to chance.

Sometimes it seems that even large companies with billions at stake don’t want to take their medicine. The use of the professional services of cultural mediators early on can be the “Spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down”.

Richard Dash

The Comodity of Time

Friday, April 9th, 2010

 In mediation, we learn the value of identifying the emotions that strip our spritits and psyches of being present, in the now.  Unfortunately, all to often in litigation these are these emotions are the very tools and essense of  “solving” conflict.  This post will address a perspective from a publication that we greatly respect. 

The Futurist is a magazine that covers trends, forecasts and ideas about the future and is published by the World Future Society, a non-profit educational and scientific organization chartered in Washington, D.C.  Their website is www.wfs.org.

The Futurist May-June  featured an article titled, Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World/Forecasts and Implications for Business, written by Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies.  During the next few weeks we will be periodically presenting segments of their article as they relate to businesses and business owners.  Here is our overview and perspective of their article regarding The Commodity of time. 

Time is becoming the world’s most precious commodity.

  • Computers, electronic communications, the Internet, and other technologies are making national and international economies much more competitive.
  • In the United States, workers spend about 10% more time on the job than they did a decade ago.  European executives and nonunionized workers face the same trend.
  • In these high-pressure environment, single workers and two income couples are increasingly desperate for any product that offers to simplify their lives or grand them a taste of luxury – and they can afford to buy it.
  • China’s rapid econo0mic development means its workers are experiencing faster-pace and time-pressured lives.  In a recent survey the Chinese new portal Sina.com, 56% of respondents said they felt short of time.  That 64% said they were never late and were intolerant of other people’s tardiness suggest a new cultural challenge to the traditional Chinese concept of a leisurely existence.
  • Technical workers and executives in India are beginning to report the same job-related stresses, particularly when they work on U.S. and European schedules.

 

Implications

 

            Stress-related problems affecting employee morale and wellness will continue to grow.  Companies must help employees balance their time at work with their family lives and need for leisure.  This may reduce short-term profits but will aid profitability in the long run.

            As time for shopping continues to evaporate, Internet and mail-order marketers will have a growing advantage over traditional stores.  Workers seek out convenience foods, household help, and minor luxuries to compensate for their lack of leisure time.

Time & Conflict

In the fast moving, ever changing world we live in, it is even more important than ever to be aware and conscious of how we, as well as others,  can often get caught up in that powerful, dangerous river of anxiety, fear, and anger.  How do we find peace within that very conflict and change?

There is a powerful  Eastern axiom that goes something like this:  “Meanings that we attribute to objects are subjective.  We make life real by the thoughts we project.”

In mediation, by creating space (time) between words and expressions, all parties are given the opportunity to listen and are guided towards actively understanding the other parties “truth”, as well as their “meanings”.  We can all practice this for ourselves on a daily basis, simply by practicing a basic technique.  When you feel anxiety, whether it by with another person, an event, etc:  accept the emotion that you are feeling and give pause (space & time).    You may find that in the brief time of the pause, that a subtle gentle light of empathy may appear within – and/or with a bit of luck, the other party will feel that they are actually being heard.

To our reader:

What techniques have you learned in your life experiences that bring you to a point of presense that allows your acceptance of another parties position? 

How does this post relate to your business experiences?

If  intellectual property is a part of the value of what you do, can you see how IP folks can often more readily adapt to mediation as a means of resolving conflict?

           

When to Consider Calling on an IP Mediator

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

 

It seems that our businesses and organizations are experiencing the constant white water of change, conflict and uncertainty.  It is a time when the question is not if there will be conflict, but how businesses will respond to conflict.  A mediator can be useful resource to help businesses and organizations constructively confront conflict.  It is timely to work with a mediator to resolve organizational conflict when:

  • Important decisions or difficult problems are avoided because of potential conflict
  • Watered-down compromises leave everyone virtually everyone disenchanted
  • Split decisions stand only until an inevitable shift in the wind, taking the organization off course
  • Group deliberations focus is on speaking and complaining, rather than listening, collaboration and problem solving
  • Power plays and appeals result in an estranged work environment
  • Chronic and acute conflict within the organization limits its ability to serve customers and stakeholders or fluidly adapt to change.

 

What an Impartial Third Party Mediator Offers

 

While the primary focus of a mediator is conflict resolution, a professional mediator sees conflict as the catalyst for positive change within the organization and between stakeholders.  In addition to the collaborative resolution of a conflict, mediation also offers:

  • A structured process that promotes civility, mutual respect and open dialogue.
  • A shared understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives.
  • Identification of practical workable solutions that address everyone’s needs
  • A shared focus on the realization of a desired future state.
  • An enhanced sense of commitment, accountability, partnership and esprit de corps.

 

How Business Mediation Reconciles Past Differences

Unresolved, conflicted and hurtful relationships in the work place have significant ongoing impacts upon a team and organization.  They are like a chronic illness, draining valuable energy from a work group or project.  The potential for negative ramifications outside of the organization are significant, as detrimental messages about the project, work group or organization spread as a part of the underlying turmoil.  The healing of existing wounds, restoration of relationships and moving forward on common ground are the key ingredients to reconciliation and positive change.  A business mediator plays a critical role in establishing a safe environment to come together reconcile the past and restore and establish new working relationships.  With a neutral third party professional facilitating activities and conversations that lead to understanding, parties take steps toward renewed working relationship in which they commit to working together to get the job done.

“Nothing endures but change.”

Heraclitus, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Greek philosopher (540 BC – 480 BC)

What is IP Mediation?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

 

Some variation or form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been around since mankind has used language as a means to communicate.  One can imagine that it likely began in the later stages of evolution.  Perhaps during a heated conflict, a moment of consciousness, a novel thought or insight arose, and a person saw that there might be an alternative to crushing the skull of the other party; that there might be an easier and less painful way to settle the dispute. 

As well, some form of Intellectual Property (IP) has been around since “the beginning”.  With the advances in technology, our business world has forever changed – and the IP has transformed from what was once on the periphery of a company’s essence, into often being at the very heart and soul of the value or worth of a business entity.  Even in modern society, when there is an Intellectual Property (IP) conflict, there remains the instinct to crush the skull.  Often this comes in the form of the socially sanctified act of litigation.  Now, although litigation can be a most necessary tool to resolve conflict in the world of IP (such as, let’s say, the early man’s act of skull crushing to save one’s own very life or business), it has resulted in a quandary – even though conflict is a necessary part of life, what we know as settling it is to either litigate or negotiate.  Either way, the biggest pocket book prevails and only the lawyers are the winners.  

Settling IP conflict through mediation saves time and resources – money and energy.  Mediation minimizes collateral damage on both sides, including long term resentments.  It allows business people to get back to business and get back to life.  In addition, it allows creative minds to get back to what they do best – create. In the challenging and changing business times that we live in, the very essence of corporate sustainability and corporate cultural integrity are at risk.  How we handle, or don’t handle conflict will be a determinant of our business survival.

In this blog we have a collaborative effort to present the concept of business mediation from the perspectives of highly skilled  professionals and experts in mediation, experts in specific industries, IP assessment/due diligence, IP financial analysis, and advanced business resolution strategies.  We look forward to sharing our experience, strengths and strategies and at the same time learning from you.

For a great article regarding IP Mediation, we recommend,  Efficient Alternative Dispute Resolution in Intellectual Property,    http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2009/03/article_0008.html