Archive for the ‘jessica carter’ Category

Guest Blogger: Jessica Carter, Kiwi Mediator Extraordinaire

October 7, 2009

Please enjoy the following submission as the second installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series.
Today’s guest blogger is Jessica Carter, Senior Advisor Mediation Practice at the Department of Building and Housing in New Zealandand you can read more about her [here].

Commands, Hints and What Lies Between

I spotted Malcolm Gladwell’s recent bestseller, ‘Outliers’ at a bookstore at JFK just after April’s ABA Conference in New York and I suspect I’ve joined a group of travellers that have happened upon it in the same way. It grabbed my attention as I browsed, on the lookout for a good read on a long journey, and it promised to tell ‘The Story of Success’.

I recommend it. It’s the kind of book that has a chapter or two, or a subject or two, that grab you and stay with you – ask anyone who’s read it “what part spoke to you the most?” For me, it was two aspects which related to mediation practice.

First, Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something, therefore a champion chess player, a concert pianist, will have dedicated 10,000 plus hours to reach their level of expertise, and most likely an Olympic athlete and an expert mediator will have done the same. That’s a lot of practice, mediators! And it resonates with the view that mediators should think of themselves as having the “beginner’s mindset” and being in a “permanent state of learning”.

Second, Gladwell’s examples of mitigated language and miscommunications on the flight deck and how this featured as a contributor to airline disasters in the 1980s and 1990s was compelling reading for a mediator. He described 6 levels of responses that people utilise in communication and ordered them from zero-mitigation (the command) to the most mitigated statement of all (the hint). In brief, they are:

1. Command (a direct and implicit instruction is given)

2. Obligation (a view or an opinion about an action is expressed)
3. Suggestion (the speaker suggests that others join in the action, leaving room to disagree)
4. Query (the question is asked and the listener can decide the action)
5. Preference (the speaker lets the audience know what they would like, without making it clear that they have to follow through)
6. Hint (the most mitigated communication of all – you can understand it if you can decode it!)

When I read this, I thought of those situations in mediation when one party uses the polite and culturally-comfortable preference or hint and another is immediately frustrated because their personal mode of communication is ‘command and control’. The commanding party expects the listener to receive the communication as it’s stated and act on it. The hinting party expects the receiver of the information to decode the meaning (possibly a longer process) and then act on what they perceive the meaning to be. A polite way of expressing your needs? Well, yes… if the parties in the room understand your intention!

I unintentionally communicated this at home for 3 years and realised I could have used Malcolm Gladwell’s book some time ago, and been more successful. I badly wanted a bass guitar for Christmas and as Christmas rolled by twice with nothing under the tree in a long case I wondered why my family had ignored my requests. I let them know my wish to learn the bass (5 – preference) and mused that it would be great to learn the bass sometime (6 – hint) until last Christmas when my son, armed with a shiny red guitar said: “Mum, you have to stop hinting and just come straight out with it! Say what you mean!” Oops, he was looking for the mode of communication that he responds to, no.1 – the command, and was frustrated by my indirect approach.

Understanding the cultural barriers which prevent (or promote) certain types of communication has implications for people who work in teams too. Outliers lives up to the expectations on its cover, and sets out a series of stories and case studies about why and how people have achieved expertise and success.

You can Learn more about the book Outliers from Gladwell’s site [here].

’09 All Star Guest Bloggers

August 27, 2009

There are many brilliant ADR professionals out there (much more brilliant than me) that for one reason or another, they do not write as much as they should or blog.

A few months ago I had the idea to reach out to some of these all-stars and ask them if they were interested in being part of my 2009 roster of all-star guest bloggers. I can happily say two things:

1) I am honored that each person I asked agreed!

2) I think all the readers will be just as happy as me to be able to read unedited writings from some of the most brilliant people in the ADR field.

The postings will be on the following dates:

September 23rd D.A. Graham [read]

October 7th Jessica Carter [read]

October 21st Noam Ebner [read]

November 4th Alex Yaroslavsky [read]

November 18th Jose Pascal Da Rocha [read]

December Colm Branningan

Listed Alphabetically

Colm Brannigan

After undergraduate and graduate studies in history, Colm received his LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1981 and an LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 2003.

He holds the designation of Chartered Mediator (C. Med.) from the ADR Institute of Canada and is a Certified Mediator through the International Mediation Institute in the Netherlands.

A former litigation lawyer, Colm has been a full-time mediator since 1999 with a wide range of experience in condominium, commercial, technology, employment, estates and family disputes.

In addition to practice, and writing articles and book reviews on ADR and ODR topics, Colm has been a participant and speaker in various dispute resolution and professional development programs and is a part-time instructor in law at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning in Toronto.

Colm is a board member of the ADR Institute of Ontario, co-chair of its technology section and co-editor of its newsletter. He also a member of various other professional organizations including the Ontario Bar Association – ADR Section and the Section of Dispute Resolution of the American Bar Association. He is the founder/moderator of “Mediate-Canada” an ADR listserv hosted by Google Groups.

Jessica Carter

Jessica Carter is Senior Advisor Mediation Practice at the Department of Building and Housing in New Zealand and a practising mediator. She is responsible for developing and monitoring standards of mediation practice, building and implementing mediation training programs, and advising on new mediation initiatives and developments for a large mediation team in New Zealand’s public sector.

Jessica is active in mediation, conflict management, negotiation, coaching, delivering training and dispute system design. She is a member of the Australian and New Zealand LEADR Panel of mediators, the Asia-Pacific Mediation Forum, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and delivered a Paper on raising mediator quality in New Zealand’s public service at the 2009 Conference in New York. Jessica has completed mediation and negotiation programs at Harvard Law School, a Master of Dispute Resolution in UWS School of Law in Sydney, and attended the International Ombudsman Association program for mediators at the United Nations Office, Geneva.

Jose Pascal Da Rocha

José Pascal da Rocha, JD, is a freelance mediator. He has developed his practice in international mediation.. His practice reaches from resolving humanitarian conflicts in Africa, commercial dispute resolution in the United Arab Emirates to the project management of a center for conflict resolution in Southern Russia. He teaches mediation at several universities, such as the Columbia University, New York, the Southern Federal University of Rostov, Russia and Military Academies of NATO forces. He has published on international mediation as well as diversity management, critical thinking and reflection.

Noam Ebner

Noam Ebner is a negotiation consultant and trainer, an attorney and a mediator. He divides his time between his home and office in Jerusalem and his teaching, training and consulting activities abroad.

He manages Tachlit Mediation and Training, which deals with a wide spectrum of disputes, ranging from business partnership dissolving to employment disputes and divorce mediation.

Noam has been on the faculty of Sabanci University since 2003, teaching the practical aspects of negotiation and mediation in the Graduate Program on Conflict Analysis and Resolution in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Noam is a Senior Fellow at the United Nations’ University for Peace in Costa Rica ( and teaches in the Werner Institute’s Graduate Program on Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University’s School of Law (

D.A. Graham

D. A. Graham is the University Ombudsman at Princeton University.

Before arriving at Princeton University, D. A. was the Student Ombudsman at San Diego State University for two years. Prior to that, he served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2001 D. A. received the Military Chaplain’s Association Chaplain of the Year Award for service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned B. A. degree in Speech Communication in 1990 and was the Founding President of the Alabama Student Society of Communication Arts (ASSCA). He also was selected as the first Student Ombudsman for the University of Alabama in 1994. D. A. attended the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1998. During this time he served as a Resident Director at Morehouse College where he received the Student Advisor of the Year Award. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan he received his Master of Human Relations degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 with a specialization in Mediation/Negotiation. D. A. is a member of The International Ombudsman Association (IOA), The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR-GNY) and The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)

Alex Yaroslavsky

Alex Yaroslavsky, NCM is the founder of Yaro Group, LLC – a dispute resolution consultancy specializing in workplace conflict resolution. Yaro Group’s services include executive coaching, training, facilitation, communication process analysis and electronic brainstorming.
Since 2000 Alex has been working with major clients in the financial services industry, including Citigroup, HSBC, Merrill Lynch, U.S. Trust and WestLB AG. His experience includes resolving commercial, organizational and cross-cultural disputes.

Alex teaches Dispute Resolution at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a mediator with New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. He is also a member of the FINRA and the New York County Lawyers’ Association mediation and arbitration panels. Alex was one of the first mediators to become certified by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in 2009.