Attention! Transgressors, Tresspassers and Poor-Choicemakers will be loved

Beware! Tresspassers, transgressors and poor-choicemakers will be loved.


As always I blog in peace. And today I blog-at the tail end of what has been some of the craziest busy weeks of my life. Averaging a 16 hour work day and sometimes working through the night. I must honour my colleague Gerhard in this for his work, commitment and the value he has added over this period.

My swimming has taken a bit of a dive. (Yoh! That’s lame. No?) But I look forward to a little rest over the Christmas season and getting back into a disciplined swimming training routine.

I guess our busy-ness is indicative of the extent to which more and more individuals, communities and organizations are looking for Alternative methods of Dispute Resolution and also restorative solutions.

We are engaged in more and more legal disputes, school disputes, workplace disputes, family disputes and community disputes where we are bringing about restorative solutions. We often encounter a general perception that restorative solutions are softer, structureless and without result. It is not so! When done properly restorative processes achieve far greater truth, accountability and ultimately behavioural change. Whereas a punitive environment fosters, fear, denialism and often arrogance, a restorative process, properly done, fosters a high degree of learning.

Our methods in non-violent communication are taking hold. I was recently honoured to receive a dedication in a friend’s book, The Artisan and The Well, by Dino Brown. He says the following:

I have a friend that is revolutionary in the communication business, she teaches people to communicate effectively, and in her career she had influenced presidents, and stylists alike – her ability to teach this concept of communication through a process of mediation, so powerful that she will change the justice system in her country, and endeavours to make it a standard lawful practice, which as you may expect will save people millions, and protect those that are misunderstood. To date as a result I have actually learned how to communicate, and still have lots more to learn, but I have changed how I teach, and included this module in my courses right at he beginning. Some key points of Communication are 7:

7 Principles of Communication:

1. I will listen to you with the prime intent of understanding
2. When you are distraught I will avoid my natural tendency to fix and solve. I will be silent and present and I will get out of the way as you start to reveal yourself.
3. When I am prompted, and if I have something beautiful to add to the silence I will speak
4. I won’t play devil’s advocate
5. I will not point out your weaknesses or your mistakes. I will point out your value
6. I will be loyal to you when you are not present
7. I will make no assumptions, I will validate how you feel and I will speak no words that violate you

As you know we offer accreditation of Mediators and Arbitrators via a distance learning program or a five day workshop. Our next five day workshops are:

1.         2 to 6 December 2013 in Johannesburg.

2.         13 to 17 January 2014  Durban

3.         3-7 February 2014 Johannesburg

4.         24-28 Feb 2014 Cape Town

The accrediting agency is ADR Network SA and so you will be able to use the title Mediator and Arbitrator (ADR Network SA Accredited)

We are currently offering a 50% discount on either the Distance Program or any of the above five day workshops on condition that registration forms and proof of payment is received by 30 November 2013.

Past trainees include International Judges, university academics, attorneys, advocates, teachers, business leaders and others.

On completion you will be entitled to join our panel for referral work in Mediation and Arbitration

On registration you will be added to the closed discussion group for trainees on facebook.

Please get in touch urgently if you wish to register on this basis.

By the way, big up to Mackelmore at the music awards last night. After his speech my daughter Che asked if he had been hanging with me.

As always



Commercial Mediation: Blue Ocean Strategy and Co-operative Business Practice


I blog in peace. And today I blog about the application of mediation in commerce. And I want to specifically speak about co-operative business practice.

As many of you know, Gerhard Borstlap has recently joined ADR Network SA as our Operations Director. He is something of a philosopher in his own right, as am I, to the extent that we are seekers of wisdom. So we have been exchanging a lot of thoughts, ideas sharing and merging to some extent our own philosophies and those of others. Gerhard has a great interest in game theory and military strategy. And we believe that in as much as we are absolute proponents of non-violence and non-adversarialism, there is much to be learned from such theory and strategy that can be utilized in displacing what we regard as unhelpful systems and mindsets.

In resolving commercial conflict I often tell business owners and leaders that I regard competitive practice in business as average, mediocre at best, and ultimately detrimental at worst. And so I have been engaging with business leaders about co-operative business practice for some time. Recently a representative of a large group has asked to engage us on a transactional mediation mandate to set up co-operative partnerships with multi-nationals. Very exciting stuff.

But this morning before dawn, a light bulb went on for me and I realized that my philosophy and those of Gerhard’s merge and accord in a very powerful way. He talks a lot about blue ocean strategy and the art of war.

Allow me to explain: Red Ocean Strategy is about bloody competition in business. Thus the read waters. It is about confrontation, combat and ultimately conquering or destroying competitors who are regarded as opponents or enemies. It is about dividing up shrinking demand. It is about benchmarking. It is about head to head combat with rivals. We all know that this involves casualties along the way. It involves deteriment and often total destruction. Businesses bleed. Often to death.

BlueOcean Strategy makes competition irrelevant by creating uncontested market space. And I am going to expand here and say that it also involves destroying enemies or rivals by making them friends. We can compete with our rivals or we can co-operate with them, help them even, want the best for them. We can take business to stratospheric untapped unfathomable levels.

We believe that in business the ultimate way win victories is accomplished without combat. Sun Tzu says that the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. We regard the enemy as adversarial patterns, competition, rivalry. We dismantle this by making competition irrelevant. Creating uncontested markets. Applying co-operative business strategy.

Corporate strategy has been profoundly influenced by military strategy. Rivalry, competition, combat. It has been about confronting an opponent and about fighting over a given piece of land that is limited and constant. But we know that the market is not constant. And it is not limited. So this kind of strategy adopts key constraints of war strategy.. Limited terrain and the need to conquer the enemy to succeed.

Superior strategy is accessible. It lives in a higher realm. Co-operation. Collaboration.

So how do we make this shift. We use the weaknesses of current strategy: rivalry, combat, competition to displace it with co-operative business practice.

Sin Tzu says who wishes to fight must count the cost. The cost is high. It is damaging. Often fatal.

So in practice how does this work. Organizationally you can take a big picture look and invite us in to systematically shift your business practices from competitive combative business practices and culture to co-operative business practice and culture.

Transactionally, transactional mediation is a powerful model of mediation used to create co-operation in legal contract and business relationship negotiations. The scope in commercial mediation is untapped. And it is powerful.

Both Gerhard and myself do public speaking around these topics. If you are interested, please email and

For ADR Training in Mediation and Arbitration

As always, and until next time, peace.



BlueOcean Strategy

The Art of War

Gerhard Borstlap