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10 Principles of Resource Dispute Management Cheat Sheet by

principles     management     resources     dispute

1. Natural resource disputes are a complex ..

Natural resource disputes are a complex combin­ation of human relati­ons­hips, process, and substa­nce.
It is a common mistake to focus only on the substa­ntive issues often ignoring human relati­onships and procedural details of the collab­orative process. Building and mainta­ining positive relati­onships with others involved in the dispute is as important as unders­tanding the data and technical issues associated with the problem. Procedural details comprise how the collab­orative process operates. You must contin­ually assess if the collab­orative process is accomp­lishing prescribed and mutually agreed upon goals. You must be prepared to take steps to alter the process if goals are not being met satisf­act­orily.

2: Find a solution first understand the Problem

In order to find a satisfying solution you must understand the problem. This may require one on one discus­sions with indivi­duals affected by the dispute. It may also require visits with those who are not as directly involved but perhaps more informed. Investing the time to understand the problem results in more productive meetings designed to solve the problem.

3: Carefully plan your strategy & follow through

Care­fully plan your strategy and follow it through.
Heated disputes usually puts pressure on those involved to find solutions quickly. Even though these pressures may be great you must strategize a sequence of steps that will best address the situation. A standard strategy at a minimum requires partic­ipants to:
define the problem constr­uct­ively,
determine mutually satisfying procedures to negotiate,
identify issues and interests of those involved,
develop options to solve the problem,
agree on the solution, and
decide how to implement the agreement.

4: Must build constr­uctive, working relati­onships

Even if the best technical experts are hired to determine possible solutions, the resulting inform­ation will not be helpful unless people can use it cooper­ati­vely. Basic criteria for cooper­atively using any inform­ation include trust, inform­ation sharing, following through on resolu­tions, and implem­enting agreem­ents. Poor commun­ication among indivi­duals involved in a dispute eventually lead to mistrust, polari­zation, and a breakdown of the collab­orative process.

5: Negoti­ations begin with defining the problem

Partic­ipants in a collab­orative process must agree on a constr­uctive definition of the problem prior to resolving the dispute. Ideally, the problem should be owned mutually by all stakeh­olders. Its definition should include a broad range of explicit issues and may synthesize several defini­tions. How a problem is framed can define the range of possible solutions.

7: Lasting solutions are based on interests

For solutions to be lasting they must be based on interests rather than positi­ons.
Interests define the problem. It is very common, however, for interests to gel into positions. Positions are steadfast decisions that we make based upon our interests. Positions are the trenches we dig for ourselves to remind us of what we cannot tolerate rather than what we can. Positions suggest that others needs are unreas­onable. If positions determine the direction of the negoti­ations, resulting agreements are not likely to be either mutually
satisfying or long lasting. In order to focus on interests rather than positions, partic­ipants should ask themselves "­why­" others have taken a particular position (Fisher and Ury 1983). This enables them to get closer to the underlying interests. Focusing on interests enables more options and solutions to emerge and gets to the heart of the problem.

8: Dispute management process must be flexible

Keeping the process flexible does not imply it lacks structure. Any collab­orative process must be carefully thought through prior to beginning it. The initial plan serves as a rough draft that provides direction but can be modified as partic­ipants and issues require.

9: Anticipate problems that might arise.

Even with carefully planned processes you may encounter unexpected disasters. Negoti­ations are naturally dynamic. It is difficult to predict exactly what will be said when. Still, having an idea of the potential problems that might occur will help you to prepare for attacks, outbursts, and sugges­tions to suddenly alter the agenda or change the goals of the process. Sometimes problems that arise can be used as opport­unities to reshape the process if it is flound­ering. In this way the partic­ipants can take more ownership of the process by addressing problems as they arise.

10: Work to help solve the problem and not ..

Work to help solve the problem and not to create new proble­ms. Poorly designed and managed collab­orative processes can worsen the dispute, creating more polari­zation, fear, tension, and related disputes. Collab­orative processes must be carefully structured to manage disputes so that key interests are involved, the problem is constr­uct­ively defined, education and issue sharing occur, and relati­onships are nurtured. Yet, the process must remain flexible enough to constr­uct­ively meet unexpected issues and compli­cations as they

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