Lawrence Susskind, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Every day groups engage in debate and reach decisions using Robert’s Rules of Order. Although written with good intent, Robert’s rituals of parliamentary procedure and majority rule often produces a victorious majority and a very dissatisfied minority that expects to raise its concerns again in the next meeting, in the courts, or in the court of public opinion. Decisions made by the rules can be unstable, manipulated, and reaching less than ideal conclusions. There is an alternative – Breaking Robert’s Rules. Professor Susskind will outline the five key steps toward consensus building and address the specific problems that often get in the way of a group’s progress.
Lawrence E. Susskind is one of the country’s most experienced public and environmental dispute mediators and a leading figure in the dispute resolution field. He has mediated more than fifty complex disputes related to the siting of controversial facilities, the setting of public health and safety standards, the formulation and implementation of development plans and projects, and conflicts among racial and ethnic groups — serving on occasion as a special court-appointed master.
Professor Susskind is also the founder and for thirteen years President of the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), a not-for-profit organization that provides mediation and dispute system design services to public and private clients worldwide. CBI has facilitated the worldwide Policy Dialogue on Trade and the Environment that brings senior WTO officials together with leaders of environmental organizations around the world. CBI staff have also mediated hospital relocation plans and formulation of state health policy reforms, evaluated mediation and dispute resolution efforts for a variety of federal and state agencies, organized training programs for union leaders and their management counterparts, and initiated the Program for Young Negotiators and the Workable Peace Program to teach public school teachers how to teach conflict management and interethnic dispute handling skills to their middle school and high school students. Since 1993, CBI has worked in more than 15 countries and 30 states and provinces.