Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Welcome - and an introduction

Welcome to Embracing Conflict.

I am a Collaborative family solicitor working in the South West of England. I have long been fascinated by the patterns that we see within family conflicts and have become more and more curious as to how such patterns are played out within other spheres, such as commerce, international relationships and communities generally.

As I researched more I had a similar feeling of excitement that I once felt in class as a 9 year old. We were working on right angles and had to cut out the corner from a piece of card which became our right angle template. We then had some experiments to see which corners our template fitted into.

I was amazed to learn that this same right angle fitted into the corner of my text book, my desk, the black board, even the school hall.

That feeling was then replicated when I came across material from the Harvard Negotiation Project, The Arbinger Institute and organisations such as The Search for Common Ground.

Here was a science of dispute, or conflict which explained how we respond to conflict and how we contribute to the situation and it was being applied to disputes of all sizes from the inter-personal to the international.

I developed a library for my family law clients to make this kind of thinking available to them and have since developed an approach to conflict rooted firmly in creating space to listen, acknowledge and explore differences safely and responsibly.

That in turn has led to a wild diversion in my career. Increasingly I am asked to present workshops and seminars exploring these issues and the application of conflict theory within the workplace. They are invites I am happy to accept and I look forward to developing that side of my career further over the coming years.

So, what is this blog "Embracing Conflict" for? I see it as a space to develop and share ideas that I can probably not get published on my company's website.

I see it as another means - together with my client contact and seminar presentations - to explore the idea that by heightening awareness of this thing called conflict, that we can step outside of conflict rather than allowing it to consume us.

Hopefully it can become a forum where workshop delegates might visit to explore the issues we touch upon there.

Let's see how we get on.

No comments: