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The Principles


  • Dwell on desires not demands

  • Learn what they yearn

  • Concentrate on common ground

  • Exploit differences, don't split them

  • Stretch the solution

















Actual Conflicts Settled


  • Vice Presidents in conflict
  • Project team leaders versus department heads 
  • Differences caused by company reorganizations
  • Lack of trust within a department which led to company-wide bottlenecks
  • Union management disputes
  • Problems with crossfunctional teams
  • Resistance to implementing company best practices
  • 6 month delay in project implementation due to lack of cooperation between IT and QC
  • Department heads clash
  • Manager subordinates disputes
  • Budget fights in communities
  • Underage drinking in a family camp
  • School disputes
  • Parent-Teacher issues
  • Disputes between state officials and local agencies
  • Transforming the relationships between unions and management
  • Building cooperative partnerships with suppliers
  • Team misunderstandings
Conflicts, Candor, and
Collaborative Conversations
  To enhance the ability of participants to:
  • Fully appreciate the viewpoints of others 

  • Create an atmosphere of candid conversations

  • Surface, not suppress important issues

  • Constructively deal with differences of opinion

  • Provide feedback in a non-threatening, personal way

  • Reach agreements that meet the interests of all parties

Gardiner Associates' Sweet Spot


Steve’s interest in conflict resolution began when he read Roger Fisher and Bill Ury’s classic book, Getting to Yes. It was required reading for a Negotiations class he was helping a colleague teach to Champion International Timberlands employees. At the time, he had been through the Chester Karrass Negotiation program and found the “Win-Win” approach of Fisher and Ury so much more beneficial. 


A couple of years later, at the request of Champion’s President, Steve began training management teams and union officers to use the “Win-Win” principles in collective bargaining. Thus began a three year effort to teach joint union and management groups at all mills and plants how to use what was termed Interest Based Problem Solving. It was a breakthrough in the industry and helped transform the relationship between unions and management from the traditional adversarial mode to a more cooperative process. Champion also began insisting that  outside contractors agree to undergo joint Win-Win training with their Champion counterparts on major projects so over the life of the project both sides could seek additional mutual gains. Teams began using the principles to resolve disputes amongst themselves and with other departments or teams.


While at Purdue Pharma, Steve used the Interest Based Problem Solving approach regularly with individual and group conflicts. He has employed the approach countless times to help nonprofit groups, associations, community agencies and educational organizations settle their differences.


Today, it is the strong suit for Gardiner Associates. So, whether your issue is between individuals, departments, teams, or organizations; whether it is a minor problem or a full blown conflict, the firm will be happy to conduct workshops for you, provide coaching or mediate live disputes.

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