Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
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Ark. court orders arbitration in LegalZoom case - THV 11

Ark. court orders arbitration in LegalZoom case - THV 11 | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Ark. court orders arbitration in LegalZoom case
THV 11
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' highest court says a lawsuit that accuses an online legal document services company of illegally practicing law in the state must instead go to arbitration.
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Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice
Expanding the critical perspective of justice to suggest restorative processes and ADR as tools for reparation.
Curated by Rob Duke
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How the justice center and a local artist are bridging the gap between teens, law enforcement - News 5 Cleveland

How the justice center and a local artist are bridging the gap between teens, law enforcement - News 5 Cleveland | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Community policing has been a hot topic and because of that, a local artist is teaming up with the Juvenile Justice Center to close the gap between the teens and law enforcement.
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Proposition 57 a debacle for Jerry Brown because of potential early parole for sex offenders - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Proposition 57 a debacle for Jerry Brown because of potential early parole for sex offenders - The San Diego Union-Tribune | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
California voters may have to clean up a mess they inserted into the state Constitution in 2016 at the governor's behest
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Americans Want Prison Reform. But Does Trump?

Americans Want Prison Reform. But Does Trump? | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A poll released Tuesday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation found widespread public support for rehabilitation efforts in local criminal justic…
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To parole or not to parole? Debate sparked after panel says Inland killers have redeemed themselves, should be freed –

To parole or not to parole? Debate sparked after panel says Inland killers have redeemed themselves, should be freed – | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
The case that particularly tested Ramos’ patience is the case of Herman Clint Monk, who is accused of killing his estranged wife Denise in 1992.

At the time, Denise was living in Virginia with the couple’s 2 ½-year-old child, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release. Monk had reached out to her in the hopes of reconciling.

On the night of the slaying, the release said, Herman Monk drove her to a secluded mountain fire road and then shoved her off the cliff in the Lytle Creek area. Evidence at trial showed that the fall didn’t kill her – so Monk climbed down the cliff and hit Denise in the head with a rock.

Related: Man convicted in 2003 murder of Redlands student Kelly Bullwinkle up for parole
Also granted parole in January were the following inmates convicted of murder:

Robert Seabock, who killed a Chino prison guard in 1972;
Francisco Villasenor, who around 1993 shot and killed a victim after breaking into the person’s  Chino apartment to steal back drug money he believed the victim had;
Mark Barros, who in 1990 stabbed his girlfriend to death in a Winchell’s parking lot in San Bernardino;
Christopher Asay, who killed a driver of an armored car in 1987 in Baker. Asay’s sentence was commuted to 25 years to life in August. In his application for clemency, he wrote: “I know that I cannot change the past, but I can and have done everything within my power to repent and improve myself.” Since being imprisoned, Asay has worked as a reader for the blind and taken self-help programs; and
Gilbert Colon, who shot and killed a 16-year-old boy in a San Bernardino apartment parking lot in 1993.
The specific reasons why individuals qualify for parole is not released until their hearing transcripts are made available, which typically is 30 days after their hearing.

The board’s ruling doesn’t mean the inmates will be automatically released. The board must alert the California Governor’s Office within 120 days and the governor then has 30 days to accept or reverse the decision.
Rob Duke's insight:
California seems intent on destroying any credibility we might have in the RJ community that there are different ways to deal with crimes.
This indiscriminate release of serious offenders is not RJ, but undermines reform efforts as citizens begin to doubt that the "get tough" system was not working.  Instead we may see voters demand for a return to that vertical system.
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From Minneapolis to Inglewood, the shifting politics of NFL stadium design

From Minneapolis to Inglewood, the shifting politics of NFL stadium design | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Any large-scale project we choose to build now in the urban core of L.A. County should be analyzed, even simply as a thought experiment, in terms of what else its site might contain, using a version of the "highest and best use" test that keeps our housing supply squarely in mind. Imagine — as I found myself doing repeatedly during the hard-hat tour of the stadium site — those 298 acres dedicated almost entirely to a mixture of affordable and market-rate housing.

In general a good rule of thumb for building a humanely scaled urban neighborhood is to aim for the density of brownstone Brooklyn or central Paris, which is to say the density created by four- and five-story residential buildings, with taller buildings and retail spaces both threaded through it and strung along its edges. Anyone who has spent substantial time in either place knows those neighborhoods are a far cry from the tower-filled nightmare districts opponents of new housing often raise as the inevitable product of denser land use. In reality they tend to be tree-lined and walkable: low-rise enough to feel convivial, but with population density high enough to support local shops and public transit.

Brownstone Brooklyn has up to 50 residential units per acre. That means the Inglewood site, using some admittedly back-of-the-envelope math, is big enough to hold 15,000 new apartments without feeling overstuffed or overburdened.

Fifteen-thousand! In one fell swoop!

It's a myth that we don't have enough land in Los Angeles to solve the housing crisis, or that solving it will require turning ourselves into some over-packed version of Hong Kong or Manhattan. We're suffering through that crisis for a number of reasons, but chief among them is our tendency to behave, when it comes to major land-use decisions, as if it's still 1960, as if we can find acreage to build new housing and at the same time please the billionaire owners of sports franchises with regulatory and other concessions.

Replace a racetrack and its parking lot with a professional football stadium (and its parking lot), with plans to sprinkle in some housing in a separate phase? That swap should sound logical to you only if you believe the housing and homelessness crises are no big deal. And I haven't talked to anybody in Los Angeles lately who believes that.
Rob Duke's insight:
This goes along with the jobs/housing mix post earlier.  Smart planning is a justice issue and it's relevant in Fairbanks as much as Los Angeles.
Any time you see a large homeless population, that tells you that your city leaders haven't been doing enough to promote a healthy jobs/housing mix.
This means you need to promote incubator spaces so people with good ideas have a chance to cheaply rent space to start up businesses and manufacturing--believe me--every town has these people.  This should include live on site properties, as well.  Remember HP, Microsoft and Apple all began in garages attached to single-family homes.
Next you need to have mixed neighborhoods that have density housing on a scale to support businesses and commercial interests while creating walkable scale and transit hubs.  This appeals to those who are working and successful as much as to those who are just starting out or re-starting.  Imagine having 1000 units of affordable housing in downtown Fairbanks with good transit access (have phase another couple thousand market rate housing).  Suddenly, 1000 families have viable living space without the need for a car.  Mix in some markets, restaurants, shops, etc. on the ground floors (and stop encouraging sprawl on the edges) and your downtown could also be successful once again.
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A Texas man vowed to forgive whoever killed most of his family. Then he learned it was his son.

A Texas man vowed to forgive whoever killed most of his family. Then he learned it was his son. | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Thomas “Bart” Whitaker is scheduled to be executed on Feb. 22. His father is trying to stop it.
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North Pole residents kindle burn-ban rebuttal

North Pole residents kindle burn-ban rebuttal | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
FAIRBANKS — Opponents of rules on wood burning are hoping to have a big turnout at the town hall meeting hosted by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor on Jan.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is a good place for macro processes to find interests and only then craft a set of solutions.

Elinor Ostrom would probably have recommended a more horizontal regulation scheme from the beginning.
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Grandmothers of Chicago’s Restorative Justice Movement

Grandmothers of Chicago’s Restorative Justice Movement | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Grandmothers of Chicago's Restorative Justice Movement
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Prosecutors reveal why Rand Paul was attacked by neighbor

Prosecutors reveal why Rand Paul was attacked by neighbor | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
It was the last straw — or in this case the last twig.

Rene Boucher, 58, was charged on Friday with assaulting a member of Congress, a felony, months after his sneak attack on Sen. Rand Paul in November, according to officials.

Federal prosecutors said Boucher "had enough" after he witnessed Paul stack brush into a pile on his own lawn, but near Boucher's property. Boucher then ran onto Paul's property and tackled him.
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How Increasing Drug Treatment Could Lower Crime

How Increasing Drug Treatment Could Lower Crime | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Sam Bondurant, Jason Lindo, and Isaac Swensen of Brookings studied what happened to crime when local substance abuse treatment facilities opened or closed. They found that an increase in the number of treatment facilities causes a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crime. This is likely due to a combination of forces: reducing drug abuse can reduce violent behavior that is caused by particular drugs, as well as property crimes like theft committed to fund an addiction. Reducing demand for illegal drugs might also reduce violence associated with the illegal drug trade. The authors estimate that each additional treatment facility in a county reduces the social costs of crime in that county by $4.2 million per year. Annual costs of treatment in a facility are approximately $1.1 million, so the benefits far exceed the costs.
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Sentencing Law and Policy: Spotlighting felon disenfranchisement in Florida

Sentencing Law and Policy: Spotlighting felon disenfranchisement in Florida | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
It didn’t matter whether their crime was murder or driving with a suspended license, nor whether they had fully served their sentence. In Florida, the voting ban is entrenched in the Constitution, and it’s for life.  Today, Florida disenfranchises almost 1.5 million of its citizens, more than 11 states’ populations and roughly a quarter of the more than six million Americans who are unable to vote because of a criminal record.

Felon disenfranchisement is a destructive, pointless policy that hurts not only individuals barred from the ballot box, but American democracy at large.  Its post-Civil War versions are explicitly racist, and its modern-day rationales are thin to nonexistent. It can make all the difference in places like Florida, which didn’t stop being competitive in 2000; the state remains a major presidential battleground, and victories for both parties in state and local elections are often narrow.

That could all change if a proposed constitutional amendment gets enough signatures to be placed on the ballot in November and wins enough support.  The initiative would automatically restore voting rights to the vast majority of Floridians who have completed their sentence for a felony conviction, including any term of parole or probation.
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30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Despite the lack of evidence, the theory has saturated society. In their 2007 paper, Lacasse and Leo point to dozens of articles in mainstream publications that refer to chemical imbalances as the unquestioned cause of depression. One New York Times article on Joseph Schildkraut, the psychiatrist who first put forward the theory in 1965, states that his hypothesis “proved to be right.” When Lacasse and Leo asked the reporter for evidence to support this unfounded claim, they did not get a response. A decade on, there are still dozens of articles published every month in which depression is unquestionably described as the result of a chemical imbalance, and many people explain their own symptoms by referring to the myth.

Meanwhile, 30 years after Prozac was released, rates of depression are higher than ever.

* * *

Hyman responds succinctly when I ask him to discuss the causes of depression: “No one has a clue,” he says.

There’s not “an iota of direct evidence” for the theory that a chemical imbalance causes depression, Hyman adds. Early papers that put forward the chemical imbalance theory did so only tentatively, but, “the world quickly forgot their cautions,” he says.
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Las Vegas shooting survivors ask, ‘What about us?’

Las Vegas shooting survivors ask, ‘What about us?’ | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
A group of about 150 survivors of the Oct. 1 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting delivered a recurring message Tuesday: “What about us?”
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DA won't direct clean sweep of pot convictions in San Bernardino County - News - VVdailypress.com - Victorville, CA

DA won't direct clean sweep of pot convictions in San Bernardino County - News - VVdailypress.com - Victorville, CA | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
"The problem with recent laws is that they really put the burden on the client to act," Public Defender Phyllis Morris told the Daily Press.
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Minor Offences | The Crown Prosecution Service

Minor Offences charged by the Police
The majority of cases prosecuted by the CPS are charged by the police, and many of these will include minor offences. When reviewing police-charged cases, prosecutors should consider whether a prosecution is the most appropriate disposal.

Where a prosecutor decides that a charged offence should be dealt with by way of a caution or conditional caution (or any other OOCD), the police should be advised and, if the OOCD is accepted by the defendant, the proceedings should be terminated.


Alternatives to Prosecution
The alternatives to prosecution available to a prosecutor are:

(a) cautions;
(b) conditional cautions;
(c) Penalty Notices for Disorder (which can be suggested to the police as an appropriate disposal);
(d) reprimands and final warnings (for youths only);
(e) no further action.

Prosecutors should be proactive in seeking to use non-prosecution disposals for minor offences whenever appropriate.
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The missing link in policing | Police Foundation

The missing link in policing | Police Foundation | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Leading from the front, the New York Police Department has begun exploring mechanisms to incorporate sentiment analysis — data about public perceptions —  as a component of its flagship performance management system.

They are on to something important. The NYPD knows that it matters how members of the public feel about police services.

Police are dependent upon the support and cooperation of the public to be effective, and communities are likewise dependent upon the police to help create safe communities.

If you ask most police officers, they will tell you their role is simply to respond to police calls for service, fight crime, and arrest violators of the law as the intake process for the criminal justice system.

In this worldview, success is typically defined by numbers of arrests, citations, special initiatives. If crime rates are going down, and we are making a lot of contacts, citations, and arrests, we must be doing a great job.

However, ask most members of the public, and they will paint a very different picture.

They will invariably tell you they want to feel safe in their neighborhoods; they want police to be responsive to concerns they have about crime and other issues that negatively impact their quality of life. They want prompt and timely police services when they have been impacted by crime, and they want police to help them avoid becoming victims in the future. Anytime they come in contact with police, they want to be treated with dignity and respect.  
Rob Duke's insight:
This is part of the macro and mezzo of Restorative Justice....
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'Absolutely Shocked': Prosecutor Fears for Life After Murderer to Be Granted Parole

A Southern California prosecutor, who has prosecuted the likes of infamous New York real estate heir Robert Durst, said he's terrified for his life after a man he helped send to prison for the 198
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Community investment, not punishment, is key to reducing violence

Community investment, not punishment, is key to reducing violence | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
We need to move away from the mind-set that punishment is the answer to urban violence.
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Study Finds Crime-Predicting Algorithm Is No Smarter Than Online Poll Takers

Study Finds Crime-Predicting Algorithm Is No Smarter Than Online Poll Takers | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
In a study published Wednesday, a pair of Dartmouth researchers found that a popular risk assessment algorithm was no better at predicting a criminal offender’s likelihood of reoffending than an internet survey of humans with little or no relevant experience.
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When you cannot sue your employer

When you cannot sue your employer | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

IMAGINE wanting to sue your employer, because you have been harassed or discriminated against, only to find that your access to the courts is blocked. It turns out you signed away your right to use the judicial system when you started the job: somewhere, hidden in the documents that came with your employment contract, was a clause obliging you to resolve future disputes through private arbitration, rather than in court.

An increasing number of American employees find themselves in this situation. Over half of non-unionised employees are covered by arbitration requirements, estimates Alexander Colvin of Cornell University, based on a survey in 2017 of 627 private-sector workplaces. Such agreements have come under greater scrutiny after the wave of workplace sexual-harassment revelations last year. Gretchen Carlson, a former news anchor for Fox, a broadcaster, has called arbitration “the harasser’s best friend”. Prevented by an arbitration clause from suing the network, Ms Carlson sued her boss and alleged harasser, Roger Ailes, instead.

Arbitration was originally designed for commercial disputes. It has also become a common feature of consumer services: Airbnb’s terms of use include them, as do mobile-phone contracts. But such clauses increasingly show up in employment contracts, too. Back in the early 1990s, only around 2% of non-unionised workplaces used arbitration for employment disputes, says Mr Colvin. A number of Supreme Court rulings since then have encouraged its broader adoption.

The main advantage of arbitration, compared with litigating in court, is speed: a decision is reached, on average, a year before one is made in court. Instead of complicated legal procedures, the parties involved call in a neutral third person, often an expert in the industry. The arbitrator listens to the evidence and makes a decision, which is binding in most cases.

The popularity of arbitration is a sign of how very costly and technical the courts have become, says Andrew Pincus, a partner at Mayer Brown, a law firm, who advises companies on such procedures. Signing up to arbitration in advance, he argues, does away with jockeying for legal advantage over where the case is best heard, which almost always keeps the parties from settling. And it allows employees to make claims that would be too small to justify a suit in court.

Others argue that arbitration is ill-suited to employment disputes. In many cases, it and its terms are in effect imposed on employees, says Imre Szalai of Loyola University in New Orleans. New recruits may not look at the small print, or think it will ever apply to them. “It is a fantasy of consent, rather than the real thing,” says Katherine Stone at University of California, Los Angeles.

Another concern is that the process of arbitration favours employers. They often pick the firm of arbitrators. And individual arbitrators are more likely to encounter the employer than the employee in future cases. Both features may lead the arbitrator to be unconsciously biased towards the employer, says Victoria Pynchon, a former arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), who now runs She Negotiates, a training and consulting firm.

In some cases, biases are explicit. Ms Pynchon was warned at the start of her career that awarding punitive damages against employers could mean she would never arbitrate another case. Large arbitration groups, such as the AAA, do have codes of conduct that prohibit such partiality. But Mr Szalai, of Loyola University, questions whether these counteract implicit biases.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, recent studies suggest that outcomes and payouts in arbitration are, on average, significantly less generous to employees than those made in court, says Mr Colvin. But comparing arbitration and court cases is not easy: the terms of arbitration can vary widely, making generalising across them difficult.

Another criticism of arbitration agreements, voiced by Ms Carlson, the news anchor, is that they silence victims. Often the proceedings have confidentiality clauses attached that prevent the employee from speaking about the case, thereby protecting repeat offenders. Paula Brantner of Workplace Fairness, an employee-rights charity, contends that, without the threat of litigation and the negative publicity it brings, companies have less of an incentive to root out bad behaviour.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, legislators are now taking aim at arbitration in harassment cases. A draft bill banning mandatory arbitration in such cases was introduced in Congress last month. Supporters are cheered by the fact that the bill’s sponsors span both sides of the aisle. But lobbyists warn that its broad wording could be construed as banning arbitration in all workplace disputes. Previous such proposals have never got off the ground.

Indeed, arbitration’s scope could widen further. One open question is whether firms can ban employees who are subject to mandatory-arbitration clauses from filing class-action suits. The US Chamber of Commerce says such a ban is essential to avoid needless claims. The Supreme Court is due to rule before June on whether that would violate labour rights.

Such a prohibition has already been approved by Congress in the case of arbitration in consumer contracts (reversing a decision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Firms may even start slipping arbitration clauses into IPO documents, after Michael Piwowar of the Securities and Exchange Commission welcomed the idea in a speech last year. The courtrooms may yet get emptier.

Rob Duke's insight:
This is a big topic in ADR and RJ circles.  See the first case that came forward to highlight this problem, the Jamie Leigh Jones case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Leigh_Jones
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Homeless event will match Fairbanks in need with services

Homeless event will match Fairbanks in need with services | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Project Homeless Connect is a nationally recognized event that helps struggling individuals overcome barriers to housing, employment, and other needed services.
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Law enforcement offer addicts treatment rather than jail time

Law enforcement offer addicts treatment rather than jail time | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it
Law enforcement in Pennsylvania County is looking into a new program to help those battling addiction.

What do you think about this?
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The Problem with Most Meetings Is That There’s Not Enough Debate

So how do you lead a good fight in meetings? Here are six practical tips:

Start by asking a question, not uttering your opinion. In one meeting I was invited to as an adviser, the boss started out by saying, “I think we should do X; I would like your opinion.” Then he went around the table, and everyone in the room raised their hand in support, with zero objections. If you want a real discussion, start with a question. Why? First, it frames the problem to be debated. If the problem is too general, the discussion will go all over the place; if it’s too narrow, that will limit the options. So spend time thinking about the best question. And make sure it isn’t leading, meaning it doesn’t bias the answers. Second, it signals that you want real debate, not just a charade of one. Third, it invites people with different ideas to speak up.

Help quiet people speak up (and don’t let the talkers dominate). Even with good questions, many people refrain from speaking up. Some are intimidated, particularly new hires and junior people. Others fear retribution. Some won’t speak their true opinions for political reasons. And introverted people dislike the discomfort of a rough-and-tumble discussion with loud voices. Yet many of these people have important contributions to make.

To draw them in, try to “warm call” them ahead of the meeting, as one top performer in my study did: “Sometimes I’ll talk to folks in advance of a meeting, saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to have this meeting. I know you have a particular viewpoint, and I think it’s very important that it gets heard, so I’d like to make sure you share it with the group.’” Then lend your support (“Thank you for that important input”). It’s better to try to get people to speak up in a group meeting than to revert to one-on-one discussions. When you get people to speak in meetings, you benefit from the group’s collective wisdom, so people can build on one another’s comments and ideas.

Make it safe for people to take risks — don’t let the sharks rule. Create an atmosphere of psychological safety, as Harvard professor Amy Edmondson calls it, a “climate in which people feel free to express work-relevant thoughts and feelings.” In my study, about one-fifth of participants (19%) were adept at creating such climates. As the data showed, those who scored highly performed better (the correlation was 0.63; perfect correlation would be 1.0, and random chance would be 0). A study of team effectiveness at Google showed the same.

To create such a climate, lead by example (“Let me just throw out a risky idea…”); support those who try (“I really appreciate you suggesting…”); and sanction those who ridicule others (“I don’t want that kind of language here…”).

Take the contrarian view. When I was teaching the American Express turnaround case at HBS, Harvey Golub, then the company’s CEO, came to class. He explained that he would often take the contrarian view: If the meeting was about raising the price for a service, he would show up and ask whether they should lower the price. It forced people to have really solid arguments for their views. A top performer in my study used a similar tactic to provoke a reaction: “I sometimes throw out a ridiculous answer; I find people will speak up and say ‘That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.’” You can also ask a colleague to play devil’s advocate, where you ask them, for the sake of argument, to take the opposing view. But make sure to get the opposing view on the table.

Dissect the three most fundamental assumptions. In the infamous Bay of Pigs Invasion, where President John F. Kennedy’s team launched a botched invasion of Cuba, his team failed to dissect a crucial assumption — that the invasion by some 1,400 Cuban exiles would lead to a popular uprising against the Castro regime. President Kennedy might well have called off the flawed plan had he known how shaky that assumption was. To avoid such calamities, go after assumptions like a prosecutor goes after a criminal: Do a deep dive yourself, get other experts to dive deep, and get the team to be extremely thorough. One of the managers in our study kept asking the team one tough question: “What are the key assumptions, and what data will make them flawed?”

Cultivate transparent advocates (and get rid of the hard sellers). When you buy a used vehicle on a car lot in the United States, the salesperson will tell you everything that’s good about the car and nothing that’s bad. That’s the hard sell — highlighting the positives and downplaying the negatives. You want people to propose ideas and be passionate about them, but you also want them to be totally honest about the potential negatives. The problem is that there’s a human tendency to shift from being a transparent advocate (showing the plan, warts and all) to becoming a used car salesperson: People are led astray by confirmation bias, where they pay attention to data that confirms their idea, and they escalate commitments by continuing to advocate for their plans even in the face of negative information. You can combat this tendency by forcing people to show the negative: “When you present in the meeting tomorrow, I want to see a slide with the five biggest risks, and we will spend lots of time discussing them, so be prepared.” Or you can ask for a pre-mortem: “Assuming your idea will fail, what would be the key reasons for the failure?”

The purpose of a meeting is to have a debate that will result in a great decision. How you as a manager or participant behave in those meetings to improve debate matters a great deal. Don’t hate meetings; make them better.
Rob Duke's insight:
All 6 points are great advice.
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Brian Calley: Being smart on crime is changing lives in Michigan

Treatment, job training can lower recidivism in prison population.
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How to Save a Meeting That’s Gotten Tense

How to Save a Meeting That’s Gotten Tense | Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice | Scoop.it

On March 30, 2017, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams stood in front of crowd of over 1,000 angry citizens. McAdams had recently floated the idea of situating a new homeless resource center in Draper, a city 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah. What began as an orderly public meeting soon degenerated into chaotic shouts, curses, and political threats as one Draper resident after another told the mayor emphatically that this would not happen in their backyard.

As volume increased and value declined, McAdams stood up. He was greeted by boos, hisses, and invective. Residents competed noisily for his attention in a way that guaranteed no one would be heard. In one remarkable moment, McAdams drew close enough to a microphone that his voice penetrated the din. Wearing a kindly and serene expression, he uttered a simple, sincere statement that brought remarkable and immediate quiet: “This is your meeting. If you want to yell and shout, you are welcome to do that all night long. I will listen as long as you want.”

I’ve spent thirty years watching this happen — but have rarely seen the effect with such immediacy as happened that night in Draper.

It can be surprisingly easy to bring order to a chaotic meeting — and to turn conflict back into conversation — if you know how. Perhaps you don’t have an angry mob yelling at your meeting but there are lots of crises that managers face when a meeting goes off the rails. Here are some examples:

Mutual monologue. The conflict is more apparent than real. People are struggling to be heard, repeating points with increasing intensity. You’re scratching your head trying to understand what all the excitement is about.
Battle of the silos. Team members are fighting for resources or authority to advance their parochial interests.
Hidden agenda. The stated conversation is different from the real conversation. For example, we’re discussing the location of an office and it appears personal commute distances are driving the decision.
Pandemonium. The problem isn’t so much presence of conflict as lack of order. The discussion shifts from topic to topic with no resolution. The result is lots of heat but very little light. It always falls to the manager to impose order.
Wounded warrior. The discussion has left someone feeling personally hurt. They are now lashing out opportunistically to salve their ego.
These are only a few of a much longer list of group productivity killers. Regardless of what’s happening in your specific meeting, the principal cause of most conflicts is a struggle for validation. This means that most conflict is not intractable because the root cause is not irreconcilable differences, but a basic unmet need.

Take Chris and Alan, for example. Chris is trying to staff projects. Alan is focused on staff development plans. Alan needs to pull employees off projects to attend trainings. Chris is frustrated because their absence interrupts project work. When overlapping and divergent interests (as exist in every team) are combined with communication that invalidates someone’s needs, the result is almost always escalating conflict and personal animus. For example, in a meeting where Alan is trying to get team input and support for an ambitious development effort, Chris takes pot shots at the fuzzy nature of the training objectives.

A naïve observer might conclude that the conflict is about competing goals or personal friction. It isn’t. The problem is that an unskilled manager is abetting invalidating communication. The solution is as straightforward as the problem: offer and deliver agitated participants a trustworthy process — one they can trust will allow them to be heard. Here are four steps for turning conflict into conversation:

Interrupt the chaos. All emotions have a tempo. Calm emotions like happiness and connection are slow and deliberate. Emotions of arousal like hostility and defensiveness are fast and confused. Pulse quickens, thoughts race, and words fly. One of the best ways to change the emotion of a group is to change its tempo. As you attempt to intervene, decelerate your pace of speech. You may need to raise your voice a decibel or two to be heard above the rumble. But once you’ve attracted attention, lower your voice and speed. For example, you might say slowly and calmly, “Hey team, let me take a moment to point out something I’m noticing.” 


Shift to process. Call attention to what is happening in a matter-of-fact way. This helps in three ways: First, you give egos and tempers a chance to cool by changing the subject of discussion from the immediate problem to the problem-solving process. Second, you help the group soften their judgements of one another by giving them a unifying common enemy: the ineffective process. And third, you advance team maturity by inviting all to take responsibility for inventing a more effective process. Be careful not to shame anyone for their role in the confusion. Lay out what appears to be happening, without assigning blame, and the consequences of continuation on the current path. Once you’ve described the obvious, ask the group to confirm your observation. This is a critical psychological step. When they explicitly acknowledge the process problem, they become committed to supporting the solution. For example, you might continue with, “We’ve been at this conversation for about 25 minutes now. In my view we are repeating a lot of the same arguments, but getting nowhere. I suspect we could go another three hours and be in the same place. Do others see this the same way?” 


Propose a structure. Offer a process that ensures all will be heard and slows the pace in order to quell the emotions. Then ask for commitment to it. For example, you might say, “Carmine, I don’t think we’re giving you a chance to lay out your arguments for the office remodel. How about if we hear you out first. The rest of us will attempt to restate your arguments until you feel we understand them to your satisfaction. Kam, then I suggest we do the same with your view of why we should put it off for three more years. Will that work?” 


Honor the agreement. Odds are that even with the new structure, lingering emotions will incite a few attempts to breach the boundaries. When this happens, you need not become punitive. All you have to do is point out the discrepancy, and ask if they want to continue with their commitment. For example, “Kam, you are beginning to explain why remodeling now is a bad idea. I think our agreement was to allow Carmine to continue until she has been well heard. Do you want to continue with that process or propose something different?” Given that the team bought into the structure, Kam is likely to conform to the healthier structure – or the others in the room will encourage him to.
This is exactly what Ben McAdams when he approached the podium during the public meeting about the homeless resource center. He remained calm and patient while the crowd erupted into jeers and shouts. When he sensed a slight lull, he interrupted the chaos and shifted their attention to process with his statement, “This is your meeting. If you want to yell and shout you are welcome to do that all night long, I will listen as long as you want.” Then sensing that they might be ready for his response, he proposed a structure: “If and when you’d like to hear what I have to say, I’ll take my turn. But not until it is quiet. I won’t yell to be heard.”

The crowd quieted down and he began to speak. Soon a man from the audience came on stage and stood intimidatingly close to Mayor McAdams. Rather than fight for control, McAdams simply honored the agreement. Facing the audience, the mayor said, “It appears someone wants the microphone, I’ll sit down and wait my turn unless you direct otherwise.” As the mayor gave way to the new arrival the audience yelled for the man to sit down and let the mayor speak. After a few uninterrupted minutes the mayor said something many took exception to with shouts and profanity. He once again honored the agreement by sitting down until their fury was dispelled by an even larger group who yelled at them to let the mayor finish.

In spite of the fact that the majority of those present adamantly disagreed with the mayor, their fury dissipated when offered a trustworthy process. They were capable of subordinating their immediate demands when they had confidence they would be truly heard.

While there are times when foes are so entrenched in their positions that simple interventions like this will be inadequate, for the vast majority of workplace group tiffs, this works. Next time conflict starts to boil up in your meeting, try focusing on the process rather than the content, and chances are that you’ll be able to defuse the anger and frustration long enough to move forward.

Rob Duke's insight:
1. Interrupt the Chaos;
2. Shift to Process;
3. Propose a Structure; and
4. Honor the Agreement.

This moves people away from unrealistic conflict (see Lewis Coser) and keeps the dialog away from topics that suppress conflict.  Instead it focuses on the failed process, allows tempers and egos to cool down, softening the combatants feelings for one another, thereby helping the entire team to mature and strengthen.
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Rob Duke's curator insight, December 29, 2017 12:01 PM
1. Interrupt the Chaos; 
2. Shift to Process; 
3. Propose a Structure; and 
4. Honor the Agreement. 

 This moves people away from unrealistic conflict (see Lewis Coser) and keeps the dialog away from topics that suppress conflict. Instead it focuses on the failed process, allows tempers and egos to cool down, softening the combatants feelings for one another, thereby helping the entire team to mature and strengthen.