Debriefing Is Part Of Our Ethics

Debriefing Is Part Of Our Ethics

Written by My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs, ACP

Being honest in our own reflection can often be a challenge. As Lynard Skynard once famously sang, “Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth.” As Collaborative Professionals it is imperative that we take the time needed to reflect on the cases we have had. What were the successes you had as a team or an individual in the case? What are some of the difficulties you may have had to overcome either as a team or an individual?

After each case, successful or failed, it is critical for the professional team to debrief and discuss what went right and what went wrong.  Having the difficult conversations is never a fun thing to do, but these difficult conversations help us build stronger teams, become more competent professionals and overall better people. As trained Collaborative Professionals we all have learned skills needed to handle disputes in a mature manner, sometimes we just utilize more within our own professional teams.

IACP Ethical Standards 3.4 states that each professional has the responsibility, individually and as a team, to manage the Process effectively, efficiently and in a manner that advances the clients’ common goal of reaching resolution.  The standard places an obligation on professionals to inform each other of facts and circumstances that are likely to impair or improve the Process.  We are required to monitor the efforts of the professional team members and examine the impact of our conduct on the Process.

It isn’t always easy to accept criticism.  But the Collaborative Process demands that we reflect on ourselves and each other to better ourselves and provide a greater opportunity for success in the Process.

1 Response

  1. Ed, thanks for publishing this post. I cannot agree with you more strongly regarding the need, the requirement, for our Collaborative Teams to debrief all of our Collaborative cases, Resolution or Termination. The only suggestion that I have is that rather than being open to “criticism”, we should be open to “curiosity”. “What were you feeling when you . . . ?” “What was your thought process when . . . ?” “Are you open to some feedback . . . . ?” “Are you open to hearing what I was thinking . . . ? “Are you open to hearing how it felt to me (or to my client who reported . . . ) . . . .?”

    The case debrief is part of developing the skills of conducting “necessary conversations” in our work, and conducting our case debriefs in a timely way (no more than a month after the end of the case) is going to make us better Collaborative practitioners.

    And, if I may add, the Case Debriefs and use of the post-case survey is essential to collecting data on our cases in each community.

    Keep up the good work.

    Kevin Scudder

    Seattle Collaborative Law Center
    Seattle, WA

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