Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The secret to peace is the 3rd side: community

I have been reading a lot about negotiation lately. For whatever reason, the notion and science of conflict resolution keeps landing in my path demanding to be attended to. I try to pay attention to signs like that and take them as gifts from the universe that there is something for me to learn.

It started with How To Win Any Negotiation by Robert Mayer. A book that caught my attention while I was waiting at Kinkos a few weeks ago. I started reading it right in the store and bought it so I didn't have to stop.

Then, by chance this morning, I came across this TEDTALK by William Ury called The Walk From "No" to "Yes". Ury is the founder of Harvard's Program on Negotiation and is the author of Getting To Yes. He has spent three decades studying the science of negotiation and has helped resolve crisis ranging from corporate mergers to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union.

The video is 18 minutes and worth every minute but the part I found fascinating was his notion that there are actually three sides to every conflict, not two. Each opposing position represents one side of a conflict but he proposes that there is a third, very powerful side, which is community. How a community holds, supports, fuels, or ignores a conflict dramatically affects its outcome. Ury specifically talks about community and its affects on peace in the middle east but theory relates to any conflict.

The notion that the presence of a conscious observer affects what is being observed is nothing new in the world of quantum physics and I see these two efforts as being beautifully connected. Its inspiring and empowering to know that we as a community (for our families, our businesses, our country or the planet) can play a very powerful role in the transformation of conflict.

1 comment:

nancy compton said...

Ah, planets aligning on that one! Jim Lejeal, CFO at Rally, has been leading a negotiation the past few weeks that I have been fortunate to be a part of. Looking forward to comparing notes next week.

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