Monday, February 27, 2006

Coming Soon...ADR Practice Builder

As I was saying, getting feedback is awesome!

Thanks to everyone who wrote to say that
creating ADR Practice Builder would be, as
Martha says, a good thing.

I don't think one has to re-invent the wheel,
and I'm delighted to share not only the helpful
things I've learned, but also the mistakes
I've made along the way. (it's okay to laugh)

With the help of my terrific Research and
Development team, my goal is to develop an
easy-to-use, step-by-step plan for how to
start or grow an ADR practice whether it's
mediation or Ombuds or some other flavor.

So, stay tuned. And, by all means let me
know if there's something you'd like to see
included. (One person asked if I could add
a 'Deadly Mistakes' section, and I'm gathering
data now)

Here I am following my own advice: trying
something new.

Best, Dina

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Ideal Startup

Whilst tooling around the Internet today, I found this interesting list of characteristics for an ideal startup on Michele Golden's blog, Golden Practices. Michele is a professional services marketing guru who runs Golden Marketing, Inc..

You can check out the list here.

I was intrigued with one particular characteristic- scalable, meaning able to grow rapidly in venture capital terms. I once had the opportunity to pitch ATV, a Boston venture firm, an idea for a business that developed the communication skills of the management teams they funded. It was a nerve-wrecking experience to present an entire business idea in ten minute, but it was well worth the angst. Why? They turned me down.

Yup. The sage advise was to stop seeking funding because the business wasn't scalable. ADR businesses rely too heavily on human investment to be really scalable. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

But, I'm working on creating a scalable model that preserves what's best about the human connection ADR provides yet allows for rapid growth. If you've got some ideas, let me hear'em.

What does all this mean for you? Is the business you're building scalable? It doesn't have to reach level of venture-funded companies, but there better be a way to grow beyond cloning you. Otherwise, you don't have a business, you have a J-O-B.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Fragility

One of the neatest things about the internet, and blogs in particular, is that a person can share an idea and get a response. Simply amazing. That's why I'm pretty excited to share this email response to an early post about fragility I received from Dave Hall, a reader who has taken my mini-course:


I agree with both you and Keith on fragility.

I believe that Bill's concern for the relationship is tied to his concern for the other person. However, I would also pose a third reason.

I believe Bill is also trying to protect himself. If Bill has reason to believe his message will injure the other person, he may also be afraid of the reptilian response that the message may trigger which would, in turn, injure him.

This leaves us in a situation with at least 3 fragile items:
- the receiver of the message,
- the messenger
- the relationship between those two parties.

Thanks for the thought provoking piece.

My pleasure. Thank you, Dave, for your thoughtful response.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Monday, February 13, 2006

ADR Practice Builder

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to faculty and students at the UMass Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution in lovely Dorchester, MA. It was such a treat because I have a great affection for the students there who are committed to making the world a better place, and because I taught in that program in the 90s. (Also, it was really gratifying to know that 25 people would get up on a cold winter morning to attend a meeting--it's gotta be special for me to get out of a warm bed at that hour!)

The program entitled, What the BLEEP is an Ombuds, was well-received, but what really surprised me was the audience reaction. Several people asked if there would be additional coursework on Ombuds. (Yes, I'm developing curriculum now) Others asked if I would lead a marketing course- and you know how I love marketing.

So, now I'm considering it. And, I really want your input as I make this decision. Specifically, I'd like your feedback about:

    Should I create a business development program based on my years of experiences (and mistakes) building several ADR businesses?

    Should I change the name of this blog to ADR Practice Builder or add a second blog?

Truly, I need your help. I want to do this, but only if it will serve others well. Please make a comment here or drop me a private note at Dina at (replace at w/ @). Many thanks!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Never Work Alone

Who would've guessed that a renowned networking guru with a national presence and a conflict resolution expert (yours truly) would have so much in common? You never know who shares your views and goals unless you reach out.

Recently, Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and networking expert for Inc. Magazine, invited me to join him for a chat before his presentation to Yale alum in Boston (Keith says he bleeds blue!) to talk about our views on connecting.

Turns out we share many concepts and ideas about our respective work. Things like transparency, authenticity and fragility.

Take fragility for example. We each believe that the notion of fragility can motivate behavior changes, but that's where the similarity ends.

Keith believes that when a person- let's call him Bill- has to deliver a message he believes is awkward or difficult, Bill will try to protect the other person. Bill believes that people are fragile and need protection. Bill will adjust his behavior to avoid hurting the other person.

I also believe fragility drives behavior. I think that Bill changes his behavior because he believes relationships are fragile. Bill changes his behavior to avoid hurting the relationship or his self interest (he wants to keep the relationship)

Either way, this is the start of a great friendship. Keith and I are both looking for ways to bring our viewpoints in an integrated way to the people we serve. Who do you know that seems like a kindred spirit that you can connect with?
(Don't be shy about it. I worried about lil ol' me meeting Keith, the big-shot Networking guru for Inc. magazine until I spoke with him. He's a thoroughly warm, approachable guy who shares my passions. I bet it'll be the same for you.)

I'd love to hear what you think of this, so drop me at note at Have a peek at Keith's website, too

Monday, February 06, 2006

And, the winner is...

The contest for a tagline is over. Boy, there are
some really creative ADR types out there. I was pleased with
so many entries. And, truly it was tough to pick just one.

But here's the winner....drum roll, please!

Turning Chaos into Solutions.

This short yet catchy phrase was submitted by

Dr. Tom Taylor, Associate Director
FL Conflict Resolution Consortium

Tom, your bragging rights begin immediately. Your
brand new Peacepreneur mug will be on its way
to you soon.

If anyone else wants to be a pioneer (the mugs
are great conversation starters), I'll eventually add a link to them.

You might even want to give some to friends, colleagues
and clients to let them know they can be
pioneers for peace, too.

Thanks to everyone.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.