!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program of the US Air Force has put a wealth of materials related to ADR online.1

For example, among the documents made available form the second Worldwide ADR Conference held last year at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, is an excellent treatment of "Negotiating with Difficult People" (pdf), presented by Linda Myers, Associate General Counsel in the Air Force's Office of the General Counsel.

Myers' presentation covers:
  • Remaining calm in a difficult negotiation situation.

  • Staying focused on your goal — getting your interests addressed.

  • Establishing common ground.

  • Acknowledgeing differences while expressing optimism that they can be resolved.

  • Creating a favorable climate for negotiation.

  • Putting a problem-solving frame around the other party's statements.

  • Deflecting attacks.

  • Exposing tricks.

  • Helping the other party accept a good outcome without losing face.

  • Aiding your cause by educating the other party.

  • Making sure the final agreement can be implemented with manageable risk.
What I find so appealing about this 21-slide overview, is that it applies to any type of negotiation with a difficult counterparty, not just to the types of disputes the Air Force typically has to handle (i.e., acquisitions and contract disputes, EEO complaints, labor-management disputes, and environmental disputes).

1 In the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996, ADR is defined to include "any procedures in which parties agree to use a third-party neutral to resolve issues in controversy, including but not limited to, facilitation, mediation, factfinding, minitrials, arbitration or use of ombuds, or any combination thereof." Less formally, you can think of ADR as a "set of common sense techniques and processes to resolve disputes in a faster, cheaper, less adversarial, less formal manner that can achieve as good results or better than the traditional means of settling disputes." (Source: "Appropriate Dispute Resolution" [PowerPoint], a briefing for Tinker Air Force Base Supervisory Personnel.)


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