Building Capacity...

—> Through Mediation and Conflict Resolution

The Center provides training in the processes, tools, and techniques of mediation and conflict resolution and it provides also the mediation services themselves for the client. We provide mediation (and mediation training) in these contexts:
  1. Conflict in the Organization

    1. Executive Management and Board of Directors
    2. Management and Employee
    3. Employee and Employee
    4. Organization and Organization

  2. Conflict in Public LIfe

    1. Service Provider and Client/Stakeholder
    2. Citizens and Government
    3. Victim and Offender
(Our mediation services do not extend to legal disputes in such areas as real estate, consumer affairs, family, contract, etc.)

For both of these areas of mediation (listed above) the Center employs a negotiation process based on interest and outcome. If we don't fully or accurately inventory the interests of the parties involved, or if we fail to define a clear resolution or outcome of the process which respects and reconciles those interests, we run the risk of only further exacerbating the conflict. Thus whether the parties in question are individuals, organizations, or government agencies, we operate from this universal principle.

In the context of the organization specifically, we see mediation as largely a capacity building exercise. Our focus is on achieving (or restoring) the functional complementarity or synergy among the roles in an organization — all against the backdrop of mission and policy. Where there is a history of ill will or finger-pointing, or where a conflict has grown larger and the principal parties have taken sides or split into factions, we employ devices which divert attention from establishing fault and blame and which instead put the focus on the pragmatic level of what works. This approach serves to depersonalize conflict and to realign the parties on the shared goal of moving an organization forward. (If necessary, we offer also individual structured sessions to assist in basic communication and conflict resolution techniques.)

For citizen groups or neighborhoods and government our approach is foremost to In the area of victim-offender our approach is based predominantly on the restorative model in which our focus is less punitive or about retribution than it is about restoring (to the degree possible) the injured party (or parties) to their condition prior to the offense. In the context of

We further articulate our underlying philosophy and approach below.

Assumptions

  1. People who genuinely want to create harmonious relationships know best what needs to happen between them.

  2. What participants in a mediation need from a consultant is a process that is fair, a facilitation that creates safety, and an environment where all issues and needs can be honestly expressed.

  3. The participants need to be able to trust that all parties to the mediation share the same desire for successful resolution.
Direct expression of heartfelt harm and explicit request for changes can be difficult. Our mediation services are conducted from the dual foundations of restorative justice and collaboration.

The Initial Mediation Process
  1. Individual/party interviews. Through these interviews the mediator:

    1. Assesses the perceptions of the conflict/issues

    2. Allows parties to tell their story and begins to sort out critical issues and interests.

    3. Searches for or tests ideas that may lead to resolution.

    4. Group meeting(s) in the presence of the mediator where each party is given block time to express the experience and identify issues from their own perspective without interruption and the other party is given the opportunity to cleanly listen and gain understanding of the experience and desires of the other party,

    5. An agenda – proposed by the mediator – of specific issues that each party shares a desire to resolve and a mediator-facilitated dialogue to develop collaborative resolution to those issues.

  2. Formal closure to the meeting with:

    1. An agreement on next steps (which may include additional meetings).

    2. Agreement on how communication about the session and/or the agreements reached will be handled by each party.

    3. Final opportunity to speak about the meeting itself and the level of satisfaction/commitment to the agreements developed during it.
Costs

Our fee for mediation services is $75.00 per hour. An initial mediation generally includes 1 - 1.5 hour interviews with each party (by individual or group), a 2 - 2.5 hour mediated session, plus one hour of report/summary preparation. This initial contract is budgeted at approximately $475-$500.

Mediators

The Center uses a core group of people who have been trained at CDR Associates — a premier mediation-training institute based in Boulder, Colorado. Center mediators have a variety of experiences mediating conflicts as well as providing other consultation services. Each also has several years experience working in public sector and nonprofit organizations. These experiences provide an understanding of the culture and environmental contexts within which conflicts arise. Some mediators are bi-lingual and/or have specific knowledge and experience with specific cultural communities in the metro area.

The Center can provide single mediators, co-mediators, or participate as a member of a co-facilitation team with other facilitators not currently aligned with the Center.