The Better Normal

Over recent days and weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the ‘New Normal’ and many of us are pondering what the post COVID-19 world might look and operate like, especially in our work lives. Whilst COVID-19 is, as we are often reminded, an unprecedented event, it has for many that I have spoken to awakened thoughts about how we conduct our business – and these conversations have been across the big and the small and within commercial and non-commercial organisations.

My colleagues from the Dispute Resolution Partnership and I have long spoken of the fact that when disputes resolve, even through mediation, the parties to the dispute often leave with the dispute settled but with their relationship in tatters. As mediators and observers, we witness the relief as the dispute comes to an end but wonder what life could have been like for people and organisations if the dispute had not got that far in the first place. And of course, in the workplace where conflict emerges between members of the same organisation or even within the board / executive team, a dispute can leave a bitter taste and present an opportunity for unhealthy sweet revenge to emerge at a later date!

Our day to day activities in the workplace and our key interactions with our stakeholders, suppliers and customers need not have as many conflicts as they do and the proposal for a ‘Better Normal’ is the essence behind the content in the newly published guide by the Dispute Resolution Partnership called ‘Volcano Insurance’; receiving some great endorsements from the likes of Bill Marsh, CEDR and CIArb.

“It’s called what?” – exactly! It’s about having the benefit of hindsight beforehand and to help avoid those infamous words of “if only I had realised that before” or “I’d do it differently a second time around”. So, what does that look like? The guide contains a lot about communication; not surprisingly, it has an emphasis on how to avoid conflict in the first place inside organisations and with stakeholders, it has ideas about how to ensure contracts and projects are established in a good way from the outset to avoid conflict. Should disputes arise, the guide provides insight into how to manage them effectively.

Ultimately, the guide offers a proactive approach to avoiding, managing and resolving disputes, something that I believe presents a ‘Better Normal’ for the future of our organisations. It might be the most useful read that you can find right now!

Volcano Insurance book cover