Re: Conflict Resolution
From: Unnat (
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 18:51:17 -0600
Hi everyone,

I must acknowledge Rob Sandelin on his advice some time ago re reaching an
agreeable pets policy.  Simply, try to understand the NEED rather than focus on
the WANT.

eg, I remember one member became adamant that the placing of the commonhouse in
the central terrace would mean that her son wouldn't have room to kick his
football.  I was one who reacted to this as an unreasonable 'block' to
concensus.  There was nowhere else to put the damn thing anyway!  The meeting
ended tense and unresolved.  Later I spoke to my friend.  Her real concern was
that she wouldn't be able to see so far into the common area - the visual
community - as she longed to do, because the commonhouse would be in the way.
This was a need that I could hear and empathise with.  So, the football thing
was a red herring.  We couldn't do anything about the location of the
commonhouse, but my friend did get to express her disappointment once she
located the real issue.  I was able to suggest design changes to that side of
the commonhouse that opened it up and created a special common area, ie a
covered craft space and cool sitting area in summer.  This concern has also been
absorbed into our landscaping plans.

This can be where 'tools' like 6 Thinking Hats can be useful to explore breadth
and depth and enable all our different ways of viewing the world to be heard and
brought together as equally valid components of the 'truth'.  It includes
expression of feelings and intuition.

Another more zen 'tool' is to ask WHY, 3 times.  eg, when things aren't
shifting, people are asked to reflect quietly, on paper, why they want what they
believe they want. Then ask themselves WHY about their response.  And WHY
again.  They might be getting to what they need by now.

I am temperamently pugnacious and find elegant conflict management an exciting
challenge.  It's such a thrill when it all comes together.

Warmest regards
Robyn Williams
Pinakarri Community
Fremantle, Western Australia

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