Civil and Medical #Mediation from #AlbertSquareMediation – Management, an Important Skill for Doctors

Civil and Medical #Mediation from #AlbertSquareMediation – Management, an Important Skill for Doctors
2017-11-20 | By Dr Russell Foster #AlbertSquareMediation's Medical Consultant and Medical Trainer

What do you think of when you hear the word “doctor”? Most non-medical people I pose this question to will inevitably describe the first thing that springs to mind, usually some sort of stereotyped semiotic such as white coats, stethoscopes, syringes, pills and so on. This is not wrong, unusual or noteworthy, as media portrayals of doctors will almost always include one or more of these. As an aside, it is always interesting to consider how television and films seem to often portray doctors as brilliant, maverick, caring, hard-working to the point of parody and all this despite their dismal private lives, rage against the system and an ability to never eat, sleep or go to the toilet.

Actually, when I think of the word doctor, I think of both the noun as well as the verb, having been doctored myself – twice. Yes, I am actually a ‘doctor, doctor’, not quite a doctor’s doctor, doctored doctor or any other potential permutation. Incidentally,’ doctor, doctor’ is not a typo or a form of Tourette Syndrome, and I now fear that some explanation is needed. I am medically qualified as well as academically a doctor. I hold a medical degree which entitles me to call myself doctor, even though this degree, at least in the UK, is an undergraduate degree. I also have a doctorate, a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), which is, ironically enough, not in philosophy but rather in biochemistry of the bowel (don’t ask – I was young and there is a story attached). So I have in a sense been doctored twice, and both times were painful, albeit in different ways. I have recovered, however, and I sense a future blog about this, so stay tuned!

But I digress. What I think I am getting at is that stereotypes of doctors abound, and I don’t think most people would argue that doctors are associated generally with only one facet of their work, namely patient – facing, clinical activity, usually in a hospital or GP surgery. But there is more to being a doctor than this: To be honest, I am thinking more and more that being a doctor means being a polymath, someone with learning and ability in a number of fields, not just clinical work. When you think about it, this makes some sort of sense, and by way of evidence just look at any medical school curriculum and the vast array of disparate facts that neophytes have to ingest and retain long enough to pass some rather nasty exams. Having been there and done this, to this day I wonder why I had to memorise biochemical pathways and other such brain-numbing stuff, but maybe this will be vital in some future aspect of my career. Or maybe not. I am still waiting to find out…

So, apart from seeing patients, doctors do much more besides, at least to some degree. Of course doctors as a species are rather diverse, and their work takes place through myriad specialties, places, practices and more. My career, for example, includes clinical work, teaching, research, medico-legal endeavours and that old chestnut known as ‘management’. It is this last that I want to comment on now.

When most doctors hear this term they may well form antibodies, run away, have a rant or a tantrum or worse. Once they have calmed down they may likely equate this motive term with politics, endless useless and boring meetings about meetings, dull bureaucrats who exist to make the life of a doctor all the more difficult, endless dry reading of policies, procedures, edicts, rules and regulations that really should be marketed as a cure for insomnia. Yet there is much more to management that this, at least in the real world. In basic terms, I interpret the concept of ‘management’ to be about processes, specifically the facilitation thereof. In that sense we all ‘do’ management whether we realise it or not. Every time we do our jobs, whatever they may be, there is an element of management, be it formal or otherwise.

It is sad that the study/process of facilitation is so contaminated with politics that the word has become anathema to doctors and beloved of politicians in whatever context. Yet without good management in the wider sense systems are likely doomed to suboptimal running with suboptimal outputs. Yet management can be difficult, not least in large systems, where there is more to go wrong and more ‘managers’ to interfere. I particularly disliked ‘micro-management’ in a previous clinical post where apparently well-meaning bureaucrats would hover endlessly and try to ensure that every second of my time at work was spent ‘productively’, that is, doing what comrade bureaucrat wanted. This invariably involved a lot of meetings, memos, emails, words of varying substance and much wasting of time. Again, I suspect that this would form the basis of another blog.

But there is definitely more to management than meets the eye. Let me give a slightly tangential example: Within my increasingly vast home library of books is a collection of management textbooks, and here I will refer specifically to one I used when I studied management in the dim and distant past. Don’t worry, a didactic lecture is not about to be inflicted, merely an illustration. Looking at the titles of various chapters in this tome is instructive, and here is a random selection from the product range on offer:

Organisations, managers and the environment
Strategy, policy and direction
Managing operations and projects
Leadership and Management
Teams and Groups
Management and Motivation
The Management of Conflict

Looking at these just on their own and ignoring that pesky word ‘management’ for a moment suggests that these are indeed relevant to doctors, and of especial note is perhaps the last one, the management of conflict. So next time a doctor says that they don’t ‘do’ management, just smile sweetly, back out slowly and seek a second opinion. For any doctor who doesn’t understand at least the basics of management has rather a lot of learning to do…

Welcome Soila to Albert Square Mediation

Brav-LogoFamily #Mediation and Parenting Training from #AlbertSquareMediation (ASM) – Children and Parental Conflict – Nine Changes to Watch Out For in Your Children
2017-11-17 | By Soila Sindiyo, ASM's new team member who is a renowned parenting expert – ASM is delighted to welcome Soila and looks forward to publishing many more of her very astute and illuminating blogs and promoting her parenting classes.

Conflict is a normal part of family life. What matters is how parents handle it and deal with it.
If your children are witnessing and living with continuous parental conflict, then there is a pretty good chance that this situation might be affecting them in various ways. This applies both to children whose parents are divorced but still engaged in conflict as well as cohabiting parents.

You are your child’s expert so you will know best if he/she is experiencing any of the following, at what intensity and how frequently. If it has been going on for more than a few weeks then you might need to seek some support in dealing with the situation. The sooner the better.

• Behavioural problems: perhaps the most common, most noticeable change and can include but not limited to aggression and disruptive behaviour. Children will often express stress and the lack of adequate support through behaviour as opposed to words.
• Sleep disturbances. Your child is finding it difficult to fall sleep or remain asleep through the night whereas this was not the case before.
• Psychosomatic symptoms. Your child maybe suffering from physical pain which has no apparent medical basis. The pain is very real to him/her. This could be caused by the stressful situation in which they live.
• Underachievement at school
• Low self-esteem and/or is exceedingly self-critical.
• Regression. Your child may be showing behaviour more consistent with his/her younger self; behaviours that they had outgrown but have now reverted back to – may include bed wetting for instance.
• Where your child is no longer interested in things that she/he used to enjoy doing or participating in.
• Your child has increased fears such as fear of the dark or might become very clingy towards one parent for fear of losing him or her too (in the case of divorce).
• Developing feeding problems

We, as adults and as parents, can and do underestimate children’s capacity to understand feelings and relationships. Speaking with them and answering their questions as much as possible can go a long way in helping them deal with the situation.

Also, and this may sound odd, giving them permission to speak with you or someone they trust can also open doors for communication to happen spontaneously hence avoiding a whole lot of problems down the line. Just letting them know it’s ok and letting them see that you, as the parent, can handle and contain their fears, worries and anxieties allows them to come to you.

5 Ways Video Can Reduce Hostile Work Environments

In light of tweets and technology and world leaders attending our upcoming Vietnam conference November 11-13th…

5 Ways Video Can Reduce Hostile Work Environments

By Top Notch Cinema 

Video has completely revolutionized and created an impressionable imprint on the corporate world. From using video content to enhance sales to establishing effective internal communication, video continues to change the landscape of the workplace. Top Notch Cinema ( discusses five ways video can improve the workplace environment and create harmonious, productive surroundings.

IMG_11171) Videos have proven to be an essential tool in lead generation, brand development and awareness and sales. In using this as a promotional and sales tool, not only do conversion rates increase leading to more sales, it also creates consistency and clarity in the company’s brand.
2) Video content not only improves the external output, but can seamlessly manage internal procedures with consistency. Training videos are a perfect example of this; without them, staff can deviate from expectations, goals and responsibilities. Training videos are an effectively clear point of reference, boosting effectualness and productivity in a cost-effective manner.
3) Every employee wants to feel informed and connected to their place of employment; personalized communication via video can bridge the gap between executives and employees, developing an environment of connectivity and open communication. Instead of sending out an impersonal email, highlight and feature important company news in visual content format that informs, motivates and inspires!
4) The safety and comfort of every employee should be primary concern in every corporate setting. Communicating expectations of every workplace member in regards to their role in creating a safe work environment can be distinctly portrayed in a quality video. Clear depictions of appropriate and inappropriate behavior eliminates any confusion, minimizes hostile workplaces and serves as an excellent point of reference, if needed.
5) Overall, internal video content not only boosts external results of any business; it stimulates a constructive framework for each and every employee. By setting expectations, maintaining consistent, cohesive communications and eliminating unsafe practices, video content fosters a positive, productive and profitable environment.



Introducing Brāv Lions & Brāv Ambassadors

Brav-LogoBrāv Ambassadors are those trained the Brāv way who may or may not travel to manage the conflicts of others. They also can provide information, feedback and stars to those companies, countries, regions, towns, etc that are in compliance with Brāv standards. Any thoughts on either and tying it in to any divisions and/ or campaigns? Somewhat inspired by the Michelin guide: History: In 1926, the Michelin guide began to award stars for fine dining establishments. Initially, there was only a single star awarded. Then, in 1931, the hierarchy of zero, one, two, and three stars was introduced. Finally, in 1936, the criteria for the starred rankings were published:[3] 1 Michelin star: “A very good restaurant in its category” (Une très bonne table dans sa catégorie) 2 Michelin stars: “Excellent cooking, worth a detour” (Table excellente, mérite un détour) 3 Michelin stars: “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” (Une des meilleures tables, vaut le voyage).[6]

Mediation…in space? #ASM in Space

IMG_1100By Dr. Athar Yawar

The year is 2100. Years of corporate dominance have led to the world having a single economy: hence, it made no sense to have more than one government. Plato argued that democracy would lead to populism and eventually to tyranny. What he did not foresee, perhaps, is that tyranny, to survive, often depends on buffoonery. The tyrant cannot fail gracefully, or even ironically, and escalating terror is not always possible. Hence, the tyrant must present a facade of compelling, menacing illogic.

Brav-LogoElections for world president, such as they were, therefore became a contest between embodiments of staggering idiocy. Knowing that they were being ruled by fools made people feel curiously comforted. No matter how miserable their lives, the madness of the ruler gave light relief.

And, by and large, their lives were really miserable. By 2050, most skilled jobs had been outsourced to robots. In a wildly unequal society, many people found employment only as entertainment or as exceptionally cheap labour. The exceptions were people outstandingly good at interpersonal skills, who provided a warmth or insight that no algorithm could quite match. Among these were the professionals at Associated Serfs’ Mediation, known as Albert Square Mediation before Albert Square was replaced by a slave market with heliport. The board of Albert Square Mediation had kept the same initials; the firm’s post-2080 title reflected the company’s social conscience. They were happy to mediate between serfs and masters, formerly known as employers, and to do so with a degree of honesty and transparency that occasionally created a frisson of risk.

2080 had certainly been an eventful year. More than 100 years after the Voyager spacecraft had been launched, alien life had made deliberate contact with the Planet Earth—or Banana, as it was then known, since its name changed yearly according to corporate sponsorship. The aliens had been attracted by radio signals—not from astronomers, but from misaligned satellites beaming Laurel and Hardy films and I Love Lucy. The aliens had been reassured, by what they had seen, that they confronted a great civilisation. After 3 months of discussions with the leaders of Planet Earth—sorry, Banana—the aliens felt sufficiently disabused, and disappeared, never to be seen again, muttering polite nothings about the standards of our snooker players.

2100 brought a different challenge. These aliens did not come for cultural exchange, or for trade as it was conventionally understood. They made it very clear, through a series of silent movies, that they wished to eat the inhabitants of Planet Shell (formerly known as Earth).

“But suppose we’re poisonous?” asked the world’s leading biologist.

“That’s just a risk we’ll have to take,” communicated the aliens via a mime suspiciously resembling a Noh drama.

The people of Planet Shell quickly realised they had three different problems:

Aliens wanted to eat them;
They didn’t know what else would satisfy the aliens;
They weren’t quite sure what the aliens would like as a starter.

The aliens demanded, via a series of bleeps and a deafening gong, to be taken to the planet’s leader.

The people of Planet Shell took one look at their leader and invited him to enter a very dark cupboard, smeared with mustard.

“What we need,” said a civil servant clutching a dictionary and a witchdoctor, “is a mediator.”

“Gas or electric?” asked the high priest of all voodoo slaves (Surbiton branch).

“Not a radiator, a mediator,” came the reply, as the witchdoctor silently conjugated Greek verbs. “Someone to help us negotiate with these carnivorous aliens. Someone to help both parties to go away happy, Or at least satisfied. And I don’t mean in a culinary sense.”

The world’s civil servants scoured the internet (so much easier, if less reliable, since everybody had had chips implanted in the prefrontal cortex) for a suitable mediation firm. There was one key problem. Most mediation firms were nothing but a safety valve: a way for masters to continue to oppress serfs, while observing human-rights law. Very few firms openly and conscientiously sought to elicit and respect the views of both parties.

In the ruins of what had been a Victorian house, on the edge of a heliport, the head of ASM blinked as he was summoned into space.

“Me?” he said. “I last had a paying customer in 2097. The serfs just pay in kind. Weirdly, it’s usually cabbage, Still, good for the eyes, I always say…”

He was invited to stop speculating about his eyes and start speculating on how to save mankind.

“Well, it’s very simple you see.”

“Go on,” said the civil servant, toying with putting the gun down.

“These aliens want to eat us all. But that isn’t necessarily what they actually want.”

“On the contrary,” said the civil servant, “they’ve made that abundantly clear. They keep sending us ultimatums laced with ketchup.”

“Yes, but what people actually want isn’t always the same as what they say they want,” averred the mediator.

The civil servant insouciantly waggled the gun. “Go on.”

“People want things for a reason. Maybe the aliens are hungry. Or frightened. I would be—in fact,” he said, glancing at the gun, “I am. Or maybe they’re angry about something. At any rate, it can’t hurt to ask them why they’re so keen on eating us. Then maybe we can present an alternative.”

Reasoning that, on the planet formerly known as Earth, the dominant life form was the common cold virus, the aliens had spent years learning how to sneeze sociably, but had not mastered the art of speech. It did not help that they had no larynxes, and could only communicate by expelling air rapidly from their breathing apparatus. Long conversations, on their planet, meant certain death.

Fortunately, the mediator had vast experience of interpretation.

“If you’re short of air,” he said, “just use body language. Raise one tentacle for yes. Two tentacles for no. Three tentacles means you’re happy. Four tentacles mean you accept Berkeley’s conclusions on the nature of existence. Five tentacles mean you’ve rejected Berkeley in favour of a shallowly Marxian materialism. Six tentacles means you’re hungry. Seven tentacles means you’d like a cup of tea.”

The head alien goggled and scooted backwards.

“It seems a little wary of your tea,” remarked the civil servant.

“Tea is nothing to be frightened of,” said the mediator. “It is the cure to all human ills. Except perhaps being eaten. At least if you’re a biscuit.”

The civil servant glared balefully. “Perhaps,” he said in a voice that could have chilled a thousand suns, “it would be best not to liken ourselves too blatantly to widely accepted snacks.”

The mediator, unusually for those days, used a pen and paper. It was partly his way of respecting confidentiality. He had also found that using a pen encouraged creative thinking, often needed to overcome stalemates and address profound grief. He made brief, cryptic notes, just to get his mind going.

The alien stared at him with all 13 of its eyes, before grabbing the pen with two tentacles and manipulating the pad with another five.

“We are not hungry,” it wrote. “We have learned how to photosynthesise from your Banana bacteria.” (“It’s called Shell now”, the mediator whispered.) “Who, incidentally, are very impolite.

“But we are concerned. We have seen you on Banana kill and enslave each other. And it gives us an overwhelming sense of sin.

“We have read your Graham Greene novels and we understand sin. We are frightened of it. We cannot bear it. We cannot bear to witness your sin.

“We have read your holy books backwards…”—the civil servant arched an eyebrow—“…and forwards. We do not understand your sin. To sin is illogical.

“To be illogical is to be non-mathematical. To go against mathematics is to go against the universe. Every sin destroys the universe. We must destroy you before you destroy the universe.”

“I think I understand your reasoning now,” said the mediator. “But why eat us?”

“Waste not want not,” replied the alien.

“So what you need,” said the mediator, “Is to be less concerned about our sinning. Either because we stop sinning…”

“That would be best,” said the alien, in a way that would have been heartfelt, had it had a heart.

“Or you see it as harmless or even providential.”

“IMPOSSIBLE” wrote the alien in large black letters.

“Implausible,” said the mediator, “but perhaps not impossible. In a universe of infinite possibility anything is possible.”

“You are mathematical,” sighed the alien.

At this point, the president of the world, by repeatedly headbutting the inside of the cupboard, activated his communication chip—which, naturally, beamed to the space station, since this was the centre of earthly—Bananaly—Shelley—power.

“Tentacled sucker…” he began.

“Our tentacles have no suckers,” thought the alien.

“…on this planet, we kill all terrorists. And anyone who wants to eat my mother is a terrorist.”

“It is not personal,” wrote the alien. At this point, the mediator turned off the screen.

“You see what we’re up against,” he said to the aiien. “A man born to sin.”

“Born to sin?!” gasped the alien. It paused to recharge its breathing apparatus.

“I — do — not — know,” it said, “if you are demon or interesting theologian. But we must talk.”

Over the next few months, the aliens had animated discussions with a series of mystics about Original Sin, Inevitable Sin, Forgivable Sin and even Providential Sin. They learnt that pride was the root of all sin, and that, paradoxically, condemning another for his sin might be a greater sin than the sin itself.

“We are sorry,” said the head alien. “Perhaps we should eat ourselves.”

“That won’t be necessary,” said the mediator. “Biscuit?”

Learn more about our new partners…

IMG_1097Prerna Foundation is a socio – legal initiative by Adv. Jharna Jagtiani. One of our mission is to ease the access to justice for people at large. Our aim is to increase awareness about “Mediation” as primary mode of resolving any dispute.
We intend to educate and help people understand mediation and other legal aspects through internet and other online tools. Our online legal awareness initiative “Lawful Talks” – – is a platform that welcomes, encourages and more importantly talks to its viewers and everyone interested in the legal community.IMG_1098 In a broader sense, it will be covering and simplifying many aspects of law and dispute resolution mechanism.

“I truly believe that mediation is a party – centric and structured negotiation process where a neutral third party assists the parties in amicably resolving their dispute by using specialized communication and negotiation techniques. Keeping in mind the backlog of cases in Indian Courts, mediation should be the primary option of dispute resolution, and if it fails then only litigation should be looked at.” – Adv. Jharna Jagtiani, Mediator & Dispute Resolution Consultant.