I use the acronym ADR all the time, yet very few people recognize it. ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution, a set of conflict resolution processes that avoid litigation. With ADR you stay out of court.

I don’t know many people who want to go to court so you would think that everyone would know about ADR. But, court offers you the option of having a public trial or what I call airing your dirty laundry. Some people want that public vindication, for a judge to decide your civil fate (ADR does not apply to criminal cases), and for the defendant to be punished or humiliated somehow.

That doesn’t happen with ADR. Most of the processes are about preserving relationships. Let’s look at Mediation, for example. Mediation uses a third party neutral or facilitator to help the parties communicate and come to their own resolution. That’s right- the mediator does not make the decision. It has been found that when parties, plaintiff and defendant, if we are using legal terms, can come to their own agreement then they are more likely to stick to that agreement.

Mediation is about people listening to each other, and understanding what is really going on. You really don’t know what is going on with someone until you can listen and talk to them. Court, because of certain rules, does not give you that opportunity. Litigation also does not allow for creativity- with mediation you can brainstorm all the possibilities and still come up with an agreement that works for you.

Think about ADR next time you have a conflict or dispute. True North Business Consulting provides mediation services along with negotiation coaching.