Guiding Principles

The  Blue Lion Conflict Solutions acknowledges the following guiding principles for conflict resolution in everyday life:

  1. Conflict Exists: Whether in the form of a minor disagreement between two people or a major dispute between groups, conflict is predictably present in homes, work, and community settings.
  2. Multiple Causes: In any given situation, a conflict can have multiple causes (e.g., communication breakdown, fear, lack of negotiation skill, etc.).
  3. Danger and Opportunity: Like crisis, any conflict has the potential for good or bad outcomes (broken relationships or growth); more precisely, how conflicts are addressed can spell the difference in parties’ achieving a sense justice, peace, and healing, or not.
  4. Four Ways to Resolve Conflict: See Figure 1 below.
  5. The Preferred Path: behavioral science best practice suggests that in order to preserve relationships and encourage growth of individuals and organizations, “collaborative” methods (direct conversation and/or facilitated/mediated conversation) should precede “higher authority” methods (see Tables 1, 2, and 3 below).
  6. Standard Solutions: Experience suggests that parties in conflict desire one or more of the following standard solutions, delivered to them by a perceived opponent, or offered by them to another person or group, in order to achieve healing, a sense that justice has been served, and reconciliation with former opponents/enemies: acknowledgment/ apology/repentance; restitution; plan for the future [corrective action]; and forgiveness.
  7. The Role of Attorneys: Experience suggests that acknowledgement/apology/repentance, forgiveness, and mutually agreeable corrective action (three of the Standard Solutions) are virtually impossible to achieve through litigation. Litigation is better suited for forced restitution (the fourth Standard Solution), and publicly establishing right or wrong according to legal standards. With compliance (actually doing what one promises to do), accountability (owning up to wrong doing), and aiming to put all the Standard Solutions fully in play, Blue Lion Conflict Solutions encourages parties to use the Two-Track method of attorney representation whenever possible. In the  Two-Track  model, if parties engage legal counsel they hire their own Track 1 attorneys (aka Negotiation Attorneys) to resolve the matter through Steps 1-4 of the Preferred Path (especially Negotiation and Mediation, Steps 3 and 4), and use different Track 2 attorneys (aka Trial Attorneys) for arbitration or litigation (Step 5).  A Two-Track Procedures Manual provides structure to protect the legal rights of parties at each point in the process. Early experience with this model suggests that engaging dedicated Negotiating Attorneys (and leaving trial preparation and representation, if needed, for separate Trial Attorneys) saves time and money, in addition to yielding more comprehensive and satisfying outcomes for the parties. For more information, visit www.twotracklawyers.com.
  8. Help Along the Way: In the heat of the moment or “when push comes to shove,” parties are often filled with anxiety and do not know which way to turn to begin resolving the conflict. Accordingly, the Blue Lion Conflict Solutions makes use of “help along the way” options: convening/help line services, courses, and covenants to integrate the Preferred Path into family, church and work life.
  9. “Systems” are Important: Blue Lion Conflict Solutions grew from decades of experience in partnering with internal teams to design custom systems for the early resolution of conflict in businesses, churches, and governmental organizations. One of the chief lessons learned is that the best way to protect individual and organizational rights is to “hard wire” the Preferred Path into policies and procedures.

Figure 1

Four Ways to Resolve Conflict

1
Avoidance

2
Collaboration

3
Higher Authority

4
Power Plays

Take No Action

  • Individual Initiative
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Chain of Command
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation
  • Strikes
  • Violence
  • Verbal/Written/Physical Combat