ABSTRACT

A conflict generator turned conflict resolver, Frank Blechman tells us that many skills he’d used in adversarial settings turned out to be very useful as well when it came time to craft cooperative working agreements. Blechman argues that very often, if we want to get things done on complex public issues, we will need to build supportive coalitions—which will mean practically reconciling, at least temporarily, the differing priorities, interests, and values of coalition members. Because building support from others typically means looking for areas of agreement even when we don’t see eye to eye about everything, the distance between the skills of coalition building, dispute resolution, and advocacy can get very small indeed.