Monday, February 26, 2007

The Power of Failure

Roy Baroff of and I were chatting on a recent Member call when the topic turned to failure. I mean, what to call failure. The conversation was interesting so I wanted to share it with everyone, not just members.

What’s in a Word

Why use the word fail instead of something kinder like test or explore? Because there’s nothing wrong with failing- the word or the act.

I sign off every post with my philosophy for building both a strong business and an examined life: ‘Try, Fail, Learn, Grow’. I use the word fail intentionally. Failure has been disrespected far too long. Failure is our friend.

Failure is Useful and Inspirational

Go with me, here. Most of us would agree that the more insightful and lasting lessons grew out of failures. I find that especially true. The failure of others can be uplifting in a good way. Fred Smith and Walt Disney, who both faced bankruptcy, are prime examples of entrepreneurs who failed numerous times while refining their formula for success. I think of them both often.

Mediators and Failure

I ran across a terrific resource while researching a post about strengths that talks about failure. Check out this excerpt from the book, "Now, Discover Your Strengths," written by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. If you have a fear of failure as a mediator this article could change your mind

Or point your browser here:

What does this mean to you? Try to more stuff and make more mistakes. Every mishap is one step closer to success.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Thursday, February 22, 2007

Second Life in the Business World

Colin Rule is one of my favorite online dispute resolution (ODR) pundits. He never fails to find the most interesting intersections of technology and ADR. In a recent article in ACR Resolutions, Colin introduces us to Second Life, a virtual world.

Second Life

Second Life is a 3D online digital world created and owned by its residents. I made a quick visit to the site to check it out. It looked like lots of fun to explore and I plan to go back.

Linden Labs, the creator of Second Life, sought out Colin, who designed dispute systems for Ebay, to explore what might work for the 3D world where, uh, people inevitably have issues and fights.

Bringing virtual to the real world

Linden Labs' desire to bring real life processes to its online world got me wondering what would happen if the real world took conflict resolution virtual. What?? Ok, what if mediators encouraged disputants to create avatars and mediate in a virtual community?

It's not so far-fetched. IBM, which I credit as being the architect of 'modern corporate culture', currently uses this new technology to onboard new employees and train interns. And, if it's good enough for Big Blue....

Would virtual mediation change participants?

I imagine, certainly without knowing, that disputants might behave differently in a virtual world than in the real one. It kinda takes 'face-saving' to a new level. Disputants, feeling empowered by having such control, might decide to be more open to brainstorming and collaborative options. I mean, if you could turn yourself into the person you always wanted to be, wouldn't that experience transform feelings of defensiveness into expansiveness?

Let me know what you think?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mediation Mensch in the News

Mediation Mensch is honored to be one of the Featured Blogs selected on
To be in the company of such pioneers as Vicki Pynchon, Geoff Sharp and Diane Levin
is wonderful. I'm grateful and lucky to count them as friends and colleagues.

I strongly encourage you to read their blogs; respectively:

Settle It Now
- Victoria Pynchon

Mediator blah blah- Geoff Sharp

Online Guide to Mediation- Diane Levin

Throw in Mediation Mensch and you're in good company all around.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Elder Mediation on CBS News

Congrats to Arline Kardasis and the folks at Elder Decisions. These Boston colleagues let me know they hit the big time:

Next week CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30 PM will be running a series on elder care issues and Tuesday's segment will be dedicated to Elder Mediation. We are pleased that one of our Elder Decisions partners, Blair Trippe, was interviewed as were several siblings from one of our client-families. We hope this publicity will encourage families and professionals alike to seek out elder mediators when they face difficult decisions.

The producer has assured us that, if last minute scheduling changes occur or if you are unable to watch the show, you will be able to go the to view streaming video of the segment after the show has aired.

On February 28th and on April 26th we will again be offering CEU granting Conflict Resolution Skills Training Programs for professionals who work with elders and/or their families. Please check our website,, for more information on our mediation, consulting and training services.

We hope that you will forward this email to any friends and colleagues who are interested in the rapidly growing field of elder mediation.

It's clear from the press I've gotten recently for my Ombuds work (Inc and Entrepreneur magazine) and now this great press that ADR is getting more media attention.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Oh yeah, even if you're not ready for Katie, you can generate plenty of exposure and new referrals within 2-7 days. I'm talking about it on Tuesday's teleseminar

Friday, February 16, 2007

Meeting Wizard is Magic

One of the things I recall with less enthusiasm is chasing multiple clients to schedule meetings. You know, you call with dates and times. They don't respond. You ask again; they offer totally different dates. It's a nightmare that can consume your time and energy.

Recently, I found an online solution to scheduling woes that works pretty well called Meeting Wizard It's web-based software that enables you to set meetings quickly. You can either designate a specific date and broadcast that to attendees; or, you can propose several dates and times and poll attendees for the best one.

What I like most about MW is the ease of use and it's cost- free. I've tested it with several meetings and it works, although there are a few glitches. Namely, the software doesn't ask if you want to make a distribution list from the names you entered. Consequently, if you want to send a follow up message you need to reassemble the list from the online address book. Also, if you can miss notification of RSVPs if you set it to tell you once everyone has responded. If one person forgets to respond, you don't get any notice.

All in all, this is a good tool for automating one of the more time-consuming tasks of being a mediator or case manager. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


PS Things are blossoming over at --great new members are connecting in exciting ways and Getting Referrals - the 37 Cent Solution on 3/8 is filling up quickly. My wish is that each of you manifest your vision into reality-- it's too much fun!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mediators as Love Coaches?

Valentines Day approaches and my thoughts are drifting to love. Well, mostly to the down side of love. Lots of song titles come to mind like:

Love Stinks
Torn Between to Lovers
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

You see where I'm going. The course of true love- or any love for that matter- is not smooth. I'm wondering if us mediators- skillful communicators and keen observers that we are-can calm the 'sea of love'.

Now, I'm not sure how this would work, or even if it could , but I can imagine a mediation practice that helps couples to:

  • create habitation agreements that divvy up household chores
  • articulate their thoughts and expectations around childbearing and rearing
  • explore what level of honesty they want in their relationship

This last item really intrigues me. I have a theory about honesty...I think it's very difficult to negotiate with your partner about what honesty actually means. There's so much baggage around that word maybe relationships would be stronger if there was a way to explore it without the stigma of counseling.

Let me give you the example that started this thinking. In the recent movie 'Friends With Money', the husband tells his wife that her rear is getting big, to which she takes offense. He responds that as her husband, and because he loves her, it's his job to tell her things that are true, albeit hurtful. She vehemently disagrees, countering that as his wife her job is not to hurt his feelings. What relationship hasn't been through this loop?

This may be an item for a 'Take This Idea, Please' post. Let me know if you think I've been hit by a 2 x 4 instead of Cupid's arrow!

Try. Fail. Learn. Love!



Monday, February 05, 2007

Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls and Mediation Marketing

No Reservations, my favorite travel/cooking show, is quite a sort of inspiration for me it seems. First, globe-trotting host Tony Bourdain convinces me to confound expectations and now he’s got me thinking about how nesting dolls resemble niche markets. Go with me here…

Russian Matryoshka Dolls originated in Moscow in 1890 and gets its name from the Latin word for mother. The dolls range from largest to smallest in size, each one fitting nicely inside of the next.

Sounds like choosing a niche, huh. You start at the largest segment of the population and work you way towards a smaller one that’s sustainable and you feel passionate about working with.

Think about mediation as the largest ‘momma’ doll. Why not embrace the next doll? Think about a broad area to specialize in like workplace, family, commercial, divorce. But why stop there? Choose a sub-niche within your niche…like a marital mediator.

Laurie Israel of originally assisted divorcing couples. However, her interest in marriage itself and the experiences of her clients inspired her to shift to a sub-niche, helping couples communicate better so divorce is unnecessary.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Matryoshka dolls is their diversity. (There are over 450 traditional styles and 308 sports styles alone) They vary in so many ways- material used, shape, style, and subject. Yet, they all spring from a single idea. Your mediation practice can be just as diverse and still fit inside the big momma of mediation.

If you’re not sure how to do that, join me on Friday, February 9th at 1 EST for my teleseminar Sizing up Your Niche: the Mechanics of Picking a Niche. We’ll talk in depth about online tools that will make research a breeze, where to find out the ‘inside poop’ on your niche and how to make that first approach. It's 60 information packed minutes that can make marketing much easier.

-This teleseminar is a pre-requisite for enrolling in the upcoming Niche Action Group-

Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!