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Federal ADR Events and Materials

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Date Title of Event
March 24 Positivity in Workplace Conflict Management

This session explores the role of positive psychology – the scientific study of happiness and well-being – in the management of workplace conflict. We will discuss positive coaching, positive trainings, and positive facilitations. The goal of the session is to share insight on current studies and trends, available resources, and possible next steps in integrating positivity into our practices. We will consider whether and when to draw on the principles of positive psychology as a valuable and integral part of ADR work.

Vik Kapoor
ADR Attorney Advisor, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Executive Council Member, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution
January 29 Unconscious Bias and the Mediation/ADR Process

This session focuses on strategies, issues, and insights into how Unconscious Bias impacts our perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors in today's workplace. Real-world case studies and current research are provided to increase awareness of the elements of the Mediation/ADR process that may be impacted by biased communication and perception. The discussion includes: 6 ways Unconscious Bias sneaks into our language, perception, and decisions; techniques for avoiding the "Pygmalion Effect"; why we underestimate how universal stereotypes are; and how the same behavior can have different meanings to different observers.

Charles "Skip" Pettit
President, International Training Consortium, Inc. and former Defense Equal Opportunity
Management Institute Adjunct Faculty Member
Dr. Lester Hoffman
Harvard University PhD & Faculty Member, Bias Expert, Researcher, and Author of 3 Books on Bias
November 17 Consequences of Workplace Intimidation: The Boss Whisperer and Other Tools for ADR Professionals

This session will provide psychological insight into aggressive interaction in the workplace. We will examine individual behaviors which cause emotional distress and disrupt organizational functioning. The speaker will share the Boss Whisperer process and other tools that can assist organizations with eliminating toxic behaviors. The session will also address the current research on the consequences of, and responses to, workplace bullying.

Lynn M. Fraser, Director
Alternative Dispute Resolution Office
Federal Election Commission
October 16 Where do you Stand in the Feedback Loop? Make Feedback Work for You

This interactive session during Conflict Resolution Month will delve into the complex topic of giving and receiving feedback.  The presenter - a preeminent trainer and coach - will discuss how to use our skills and knowledge to help people in organizations work together effectively on communication, performance, and behavior issues.  The session will focus on the use of metaphor, narrative, and strategic questioning to:
  1. show parties we hear and understand what they are saying;
  2. help them recognize the nuances and complexities of what they are talking about; and
  3. provide opportunities for new perspectives and change.  
John Settle President,
SETTLEment Associates, LLC
Mediator, Group Facilitator, Coach/Mentor, Trainer, and Consultant
September 19 The Melodrama of Conflict: From Passive Victim to Active Hero

Conflict stories tend to be melodramatic in their content and structure. In this workshop, we will examine the different characters that populate the melodramatic narrative and the development of the melodramatic plot. We will also consider how the melodramatic narrative distorts and structures people's experience of conflict. Counter-intuitively, we will see how some of the elements of tragedy can better prepare people to manage their conflict more effectively. We will explore practical strategies to move towards a more active, realistic, and constructive approach to manage conflict.
June 24
ADR Settlement Agreements

This program will discuss settlement agreements for contract disputes and protests resolved using alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Topics will include the perspectives of neutrals, judges, government attorneys, and private sector participants regarding:
  • Drafting
  • Organizational approval processes
  • Negotiation strategies
  • Language
  • Non-negotiable items
  • Mandatory clauses and more!
  • May 14
    Your Brain on Conflict

    If you couldn't attend or had problems hearing the presentation, you can now view the video recording of the entire discussion.

    In this workshop we will discuss basic brain structures and functions - how they affect behavior and are affected by behavior. We will also discuss neurotransmitters that are important in both producing and interpreting behavior. This knowledge will form the basis for a discussion of how we can influence behavior during times of conflict. We will take typical situations faced by managers and employees, and apply the knowledge of neuroscience to guide us towards more satisfying and effective interactions.
    April 10
    Workplace Disruptions, Reorganizations, and ‘Change Fatigue’: Can ADR Support Resilience?

    If you couldn't attend or had problems hearing the presentation, you can now view the video recording of the entire discussion.

    Today's government employees often operate in an environment of continuous change such as the sequester, agency re-organizations, furloughs, revision of job duties, and more. The responses to such adverse situations include succumbing, surviving, resilience, and thriving. How can ADR professionals assist employees to move towards resilience or thriving? This workshop will examine perspectives on crisis management, resilience, continuity, dealing with "change fatigue," and learning to "manage the unexpected."
    March 10
    Respectful Confrontation

    If you couldn't attend or had problems hearing the presentation, you can now view the video recording of the entire discussion.

    This workshop will explore how the principles of Respectful Confrontation are necessary for effective leadership in our new work culture. These principles are based on the belief that it is possible to stand in your power, speak your truth, hear the truth of others, and have your needs met in a way that will not cause harm. The use of Respectful Confrontation principles results in a shift in behavior, insight into yourself, and an ease with tackling challenging situations with integrity and understanding.

    What is the Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Working Group?

    We are the central forum and resource for information about the federal government's use of ADR. We advance the use of ADR through:

    • Coordination of multi-agency initiatives
    • Promotion of best practices and programs
    • Dissemination of policy and guidance

    Federal ADR Programs and Contacts


    By Mail:

    Joanna M. Jacobs
    Director and Senior Counsel
    Office of Dispute Resolution
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 4529
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

    By Email: