Is “Robert’s Rules” Out of Order?

To provide improved outcomes, when it comes to managing differing opinions around the Board table, this workshop will challenge the participants to replace “… Rules of Order” – and other procedural models – with enhanced interpersonal skills involving perception, curiosity and understanding – using interpersonal skills and content driven methodologies. It may take at least two people to resolve a dispute, but one person is all it takes to manage conflicts – this distinction will be clearly explained.

Participants, particularly those in the role of chairing meetings, should gain an appreciation for how much more powerful and effective they can become from very small shifts in their own behaviour, when interacting with those who may hold differing opinions. As our communities become exposed to multi-faceted problems involving people from diverse backgrounds there is a strong need to find enduring solutions with a broad base of support. When General Robert published his “Rules of Order” in 1876 he wrote the manual in response to his own poor performance in leading a church meeting that erupted into open conflict. The focus of these Rules is procedural and sequential (aka: the order of precedence). Without a doubt such order is preferred over chaos, however as chair-people we have probably all experienced the failure of this process to manage the conflicts and resolve the disputes that from time-to-time dominate our community meetings.

Stuart Simpson, President of Community Mediation Calgary Society and a retired Chartered Mediator with two-and-a-half decades of mediation experience, will explore how perception and reality may differ; how curiosity can be the key process to understanding; how listening can be more powerful than talking; and how converging consensual solutions can be achieved through respectful communication models that value and channel the diverging input and opinions of groups.