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The power of “the BOP” when dealing with conflict

May 01, 2024

In this blog, I want to build on those ideas by explaining a key source of power in negotiation and conflict situations: your ability to understand and exercise what I call the BOP–your “best option possible.”

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Don’t give up your power when dealing with conflict

Apr 01, 2024

Over my many years of doing conflict resolution and collaboration work, it has become very clear to me that we have a serious problem with power. People involved in conflict often describe themselves as powerless. Or they ask questions such as “How do you negotiate with people who have more power than you?” or “What do I do if they have all of the power?” Or they wonder how parties can collaborate when there are serious power imbalances.

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Commitment: A core conflict competency

Mar 01, 2024

Over the past year, I have published a series of blogs exploring the key skills that are necessary for making conflict productive, or what I call the core “conflict competencies.” Prior blogs have explored the conflict competencies of calm, curiosity, compassion, creativity, courage, and communication. In this blog, I want to explore one final core conflict competency: commitment.

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Communication: A core conflict competency

Feb 01, 2024

In 2023, I wrote a series of blogs exploring key conflict competencies. There are two competencies I identified in that blog that I have yet to fully describe: communication and commitment. In this blog, I am going to discuss communication. In my next blog, I’ll dive into commitment.

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2023 EDR blog year in review

Jan 04, 2024

As we enter the new year, we are reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going. As part of that, we’re looking back at the EDR blog topics we covered last year, which included an overview of the EDR program’s future direction, discussion of why conflict tends to be so challenging for people, and exploration of key conflict competencies—i.e., key skills for making conflict productive.

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Destructive conflict tendencies vs. productive conflict choices

Dec 01, 2023

In my last blog, I described what conflict competence is and summarized the key conflict competencies that empower us to deal with conflict skillfully and productively. In this blog, I build on those ideas to explore the choices we make when dealing with conflict and the way in which different choices lead to very different outcomes.

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What is conflict competence and what are the core conflict competencies?

Oct 26, 2023

In this blog, I want to pull these concepts all together by explaining what conflict is, what conflict competence is and why it matters, and what basic skills—or what I refer to as “conflict competencies”—are required to make conflict productive.

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Courage: An overarching skill for making conflict productive

Oct 01, 2023

I therefore believe that we need to develop an additional important, overarching skill or conflict competency in order to make conflict productive in our personal and professional lives: courage.

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Compassion: A prerequisite for calm, curiosity, and creativity when dealing with conflict

Sep 01, 2023

To get beyond this limiting mindset and to be calm, curious, and creative when dealing with conflict, I think we need to lean into another word that starts with C: compassion.

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Curiosity is a superpower when dealing with conflict

Jul 26, 2023

So how about curiosity? What does it mean and look like to approach conflict with curiosity, and how do we do this?

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To make conflict productive, focus on co-creating mutual gains outcomes

Jul 02, 2023

The mission of the EDR program is to foster a culture of collaboration around environmental, natural resource, and broader public policy issues. In other words, we strive to help people work together to create a better today and tomorrow.

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The power of calm when dealing with conflict

Jun 01, 2023

To make conflict productive and to avoid it becoming destructive, we have to get out of this win-lose mindset and instead focus on what really matters, and one key way to do this is to ask ourselves and others “What would be a productive outcome in this situation?”

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How to focus on what really matters in conflict

May 01, 2023

Over the last few months, we have published a series of blogs that start to explore why conflict is so hard for us, why it so often results in negative outcomes, and how we can make conflict an opportunity for positive change.

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Want to make conflict productive? Focus on what really matters

Apr 01, 2023

If you’ve been reading our recent blogs, hopefully by now you’re convinced that conflict “just is”: it is a healthy, normal, unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, we tend to see the world through a win-lose, zero-sum mindset, which leads us to treat conflict as a threat. And when we do that, we tend to react poorly in situations of conflict, which leads to bad outcomes and reinforces our belief that conflict is a problem.

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Why we tend to see conflict as a problem—and why it matters

Mar 01, 2023

In our prior blogs, we have explained that conflict just is: It is a normal, healthy, unavoidable part of life. Therefore, we need to learn to deal with it effectively, and that is what collaboration is all about. And the good news is that doing so not only helps make life a lot easier; it can be enormously productive and beneficial for all parties involved in the conflict.

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The problem with conflict is that we see conflict as a problem

Feb 01, 2023

Even after many years of work in the field of conflict resolution and collaboration, I continue to be amazed by the extent to which productively working through conflict provides opportunities for positive change and growth.

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The future of the EDR program: Extra (effective) dialogue required

Jan 03, 2023

When Michele Straube founded the Wallace Stegner Center’s EDR program in 2012, she somewhat jokingly suggested the EDR acronym stands for “extra dialogue required.”

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I abhor the word “compromise”

Oct 10, 2022

I overheard a conversation the other day in which one person said that marriage is just one compromise after the other. I had a visceral reaction to that statement, partly feeling sad for the person’s marriage, but mostly just mad mad mad about the word “compromise.”

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Introducing the Gateway & Natural Amenity Region (GNAR) Initiative

Sep 26, 2022

The Wallace Stegner Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) program fosters a culture of collaboration around the environment, natural resource, and broader public policy issues, with a particular focus on Utah and the Mountain West.

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Seeing the forest for the trees: An environmental psychologist’s guide to sharing ranching landscapes with wildlife

Sep 12, 2022

Most aspects of life in the early 21st century go beyond easy analysis and resolution. The subject of ranching, particularly in the context of wildlife conservation in the American West, is bound then to aggravate anyone who demands singular causes and fixed solutions. The stories of ranchers have been told in countless forms over the years, yet rarely have they actually been told by ranchers themselves.

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Meet EDR Initiatives Facilitator Jordan Katcher

Aug 29, 2022

Meet Jordan Katcher (she/her), who joined the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) program team at the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center in August 2022.

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