Creating Long-Term Success Through Expanded "Partnering" - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 59, No. 1
Gerald S. Clay is a founding partner in Stanton Clay Chapman Crumpton & Iwamura in Honolulu. He has provided partnering, mediation and arbitration services in over 1,000 disputes. The co-author of Before You Sue: How to Get Justice Without Going to Court, Clay serves on the graduate school faculty of Hawaii Pacific University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann L. MacNaughton represented the American Bar Association as a Delegate to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. Co-author and lead editor of Environmental Dispute Resolution: An Anthology of Practical Solutions, she was appointed in 2003 to serve a three-year term on the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law. A consulting attorney-mediator, facilitator and conflict management coach with more than 25 years of experience advising multinational energy companies, governmental organizations, and NGOs, she is a founding member of Stakeholder Solutions LLC, headquartered in Houston, Tex.
John F. Farnan Jr. is a principal with the Pittsburgh office of Navigant Consulting, Inc. He has over 20 years of public accounting, auditing and consulting experience, and has served as a mediator.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Avoiding disputes on construction projects and other long-term ventures can add significantly to the bottom line. The authors explain how their eight-step approach to partnering can help create the conditions to reduce or avoid disputes. A key feature of their approach involves the use of a Web-enabled information sharing system.
Evolving business practices continue to place pressure on lawyers and dispute management professionals to seek more efficient and economical methods of avoiding and resolving disputes. Since disputes are costly, avoiding them altogether can add significantly to the bottom line. To minimize the potential for disputes, key project participants and their employees must share the same goals and develop good communications strategies so that they can discuss and resolve any bumps in the road. The technique that can help achieve these ends is appropriately called “partnering.” Sometimes called “structured collaboration” or “alliancing,” partnering not only can minimize conflict, it can maximize the capacity of project participants to discover new efficiencies and opportunities. In these ways, partnering can create new value for the participating stakeholders.
The partnering process creates a proactive environment in which the participants learn the importance of teamwork. For partnering to have the desired effect, project participants must develop a working relationship based on mutual respect and trust. The seeds of cooperation and collaboration cannot grow when the participants suspect each other’s motives and agendas. Consequently, the partnering process stresses the importance of:
• honest communication and
• moving beyond differences to achieve common goals.