Resonance is a term from physics that describes what happens when an object’s natural vibration frequency responds to an external stimulus of the same frequency.

Resonance occurs in nature when an object vibrates without you even touching it. Resonance happens when people fall in love with each other; and, resonance shifts when people fall into conflict with each other.

The reason that litigation is such a poor method for resolving disputes is that most—if not all—disagreements, fights, and “differences of opinion,” are about relationships, built on reciprocation and maintained through common resonance. When the frequency gets disrupted by an external change, the resonance goes away, and the struggle to resolution really a hero’s journey back to resonance. Litigation changes the frequency of the relationship between individuals and between individuals and organizations, from one of commonality and vibrating at the same frequency, to one of vibrating at different frequencies.

What does all of this have to do with the conflict resolution professional?

  1. Creating stories that resonate with audiences and clients who are seeking to get back into relationships with resonance, is one of the most important skills that peace builders must grasp in order to design, market, and promote products, services, and processes that will get the revenues.
  2. Creating resonances is about getting to the same frequency—at the same time—that audiences and clients are no matter when and where they are in conflict. Thus, peace builders must consider whether advocating for early-stage interventions (rather than primarily trying to promote late-stage resolution products and services) is a better way to proceed long-term.
  3. Creating the conditions for conflict resolution professionals and audiences to speak the same language—and thus be on the same frequency, will require conflict resolution professionals at all levels to abandon the higher language of “conflict as an opportunity for growth” and move toward the audience language of “conflict as a roadblock to be avoided, accommodated, or attacked.”

The first two are easy.

The last is hard.

Peace building is about doing the hard things, doing them well, and doing them consistently—and in a committed way—and building a field and a brand over time that audiences will flock too, that clients will gladly pay money for, and that peace builders can hand down to the next generation of professionals.

Relational resonance must move from the table between clients and the peace builder to the platforms between peace builders and the world.


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