Friday, August 25, 2006

Red Letter Day! Oprah likes Conflict

You heard it hear first! Managing conflict is becoming mainstream with consumers. Ask me how I know and I'll cite the recent article in the September
issue of O Magazine.

Conflict Expert Featured in O

In an article entitled, "The Two Self-Defeating Habits of Otherwise Brilliant People", the author profiles the work of "corporate peacekeeper", Anna Maravelas, who believes that knee-jerk anger and self-blame create much of the conflicts at work (what a great title).

Maravelas, author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress, is a psychologist by training and now works with companies to eliminate lose-lose behaviors that jeopardize the bottom line. While I can't comment on the book until I read it, I can say based on the article, that she's put a hipper spin on a few of the common themes in workplace DR. (If anyone reads the book I'd be curious to read your thoughts in the comment area.)

Hitting the Big Time!

Okay, I know, another book about workplace conflict isn't exactly earth-shattering. But people, this book and author got the attention of Oprah, or at least her editors. That means that Jane Q. Public who reads Oprah now knows that there are people and processes that can help her deal with conflict at work. That's critically important.

We, mediators, tend to believe that mainstream folks see mediation as a choice
for problem-solving. Truth is, unless the matter is a divorce, mediation probably doesn't rate in the top five choices. I say this based on a conversation I once had at a party where upon hearing what I did for a living the guest responded, "I didn't know you could do that. I always thought you had to go to a lawyer to solve problems." See?

What We Do with our 15 Minutes?

We seize them like a former reality TV star would do! Put in other words,
we need to maximize the media exposure by sharing it. The more we talk about how more people are recognizing the value of conflict work and mediation, the more people actually will value it. Every one of us needs to spread the word.

What can you do?

1. Write a letter to O magazine praising the article.
2. Send a note to your local paper tying it to your practice.
3. Post an appropriate message on the Oprah message boards.
4. Write an article commenting on the author's views and publish online.

Of course, this list isn't complete but it should offer a starting place. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Right now holds untold opportunities for growth
for our field and our individual practices. The tools and attitudes are there for mediators to have successful, profitable practices if we chose to learn, engage and practice as business people.

To paraphrase Oprah, this is what I know for sure:

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



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