Offering: mediation, conflict management, facilitated meetings, and planning assistance


Jeanne Franklin
fax: 703.533.8977

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Franklin Solutions provides assistance to clients, be they individuals, businesses, or groups, by working with them to resolve their specific disputes through mediation, and by helping clients manage conflict so they can move forward productively. Conflict is inevitable; it surfaces in business as well as in so many other areas of human endeavor. Law suits are one form or stage of dispute. Also, dispute can exist more subtly, exerting a corrosive influence upon productivity.

Franklin Solutions helps clients to:  avert or resolve unnecessary conflict; minimize the harmful and costly effects of unresolved conflict by addressing it promptly; harness positive outcomes from substantive disagreement; and, from the clash of ideas and concepts, make new beginnings.


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Still Waters: Finding Answers

Fine leaders and dispute resolvers share a job and a skill in common. They must create enough sense of safety and reassurance for those experiencing tumult and upset. The job is to make space in which to hear, think, and evaluate.  Mediators are trained that reducing the effects of an overly stimulated amygdala is key to unlocking human potential to think analytically and problem solve. This is a neurological fact.

Fine leaders and dispute resolvers are also “neutral” in that we must control ourselves to serve not our personal interests but the common good - be it of corporation, family, or a country. It is a sacred trust. Others – our clients, our constituents, our stakeholders - depend on such a form of unselfishness.

In the America of January 2017, we are experiencing a kind of shock - there is more than a jumble of emotion including confusion, fear and anger. These can quickly become very destructive. Public hysteria must be averted. Information must be calmly and accurately presented in quiet ways so that people can receive it. Reaction and action must be based on a measure of correct information, some calm, wisdom, strength, and good will toward others, the public good.

There will not be agreement on all policy questions – we are a large and diverse country. But some things are settled. The Rule of Law is our bulwark in America. Ability to take in good information, using process, are foundational to hopes of recovering still waters and forward movement to discover and protect the public good. Legal process – our rule of law – facilitates our being able to do that.

Maybe as we are considering our responses, the populace shares with leaders and dispute resolvers this duty to recall that it is not “all about us.” It should be about the public good and the common ground. But how can we discern that if we cannot even talk to each other and hear each other?

What can each of us do to build space and dialogue, discern and serve the long term interests of our great country that we are so privileged to receive from our founders and all those who have brought it forward along the way?


Breaking Up

This post does not refer to romantic relationships. Instead, it reframes the role of the discussion facilitator, the neutral dispute resolver, the problem solver. In short, achieving break through can require breaking up.

It is not simply a case of the facilitator listening carefully and empathetically to each person involved in a conflict or conundrum although such attention paid is vitally important. (The listening is how we learn and model a learning attitude which can engender fresh ideas.)

The role also involves employing some strategically chosen techniques as necessary to break up log jams - be they presumptions, assumptions, prejudices - frozen, locked-in-place opinions - that thwart forward movement, that even may thwart needed forgiveness. 

It is shocking to many people (perhaps most of us) to think there is another way of viewing the world from their own view. It is equally shocking for such individuals to see themselves as narrow minded or prejudiced. It is "the other guy" who is intolerant, who is wrong, the problem, a barrier to new ideas - isn't it? These are common and honestly tended states of mind, not ill-intentioned ones. 

We neutrals cannot make persons want a result they don't want. We can't make a person see something differently or that at least there could be more than one way to view the world, the problem, the conflict. But we can try to convey the idea that there just might be more than one way of seeing the picture and that there just may be a shared interest in seeing more of the whole picture - not just one's own view of it - in order to come up with some solution to unpleasant or unproductive argument. 

Perspective is intriguing. Think of the classic example of the sketch that some see as a rabbit and some see as a duck. The sketch that some see as a beautiful, elegantly dressed woman and that others see as a gnarled, irritable old woman. If you walk for exercise, select a landscape view or two and note the appearance. Then come at the view, an object in the view, from another location or two to see what it looks like from different angles. Sometimes, we are surprised to see it differently. Entering a room from different doors can help us notice something we completely overlooked before. 

Checking several views of the same problem can be enlightening. It is not that our perspective will be proven wrong. It is that we might become able to see a way to accommodate more of each perspective without fully surrendering our own. The log jam is sprung free and ideas can flow.  

I close this with a wish for a satisfying and healthy New Year.


The Longer, Broader View of ADR: Small Changes Can Make a Large Difference

A theme, not too subtle, throughout a number of my blogposts has been that ADR is not a limited service to be used only after a lawsuit is filed or threatened. Early intervention to improve work relationships and management is recognized and used in some quarters. I along with some colleagues have pushed for it in healthcare as therapeutic, cost cuttting, and as a means to preserve human resources. Some large corporations have built concepts into their in-house General Counsel offices with reported success.

ADR law professor, system designer, and thought leader, Nancy Hardin Rogers of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law (and former Ohio Attorney General), recently shared some of her vast knowledge and fresh ideas in the American Bar Association's Fall 2016 Dispute Resolution Magazine. In an interview there, she recalls the early years of ADR, fighting for its recognition and use by the legal profession. Now that ADR is increasingly used by lawyers, she focuses her work on broadening its application in community to vexing problems in the public and private sectors. She uses past experiences to underline her point that "...I still believe that even minor process changes can lead to major improvements in people's lives." (at page 22). Practical and hopeful, Ms. Rogers' leadership challenge makes a person want to roll up sleeves and get to it - now!