Ombudsperson ADR: “Lofty Idealist” & the “Real World” of an OO

“Lofty Idealist”, do you know this person?  I do.  I love this guy/girl especially when I all of a sudden recognize them in our communications about the profession; there are a lot of us out there I’ve discovered… nice.  They are honest to the core, well intentioned at all times, take a practical approach to difficult situations, keep with an open mind and display a sort of naive’ innocence, hold to the highest of ethics and values as best they can; all the while knowing that at any moment “reality bites”.  To help you spot them as an Ombudsman ADR leader they could be left-handed, you might notice their prescription “rose colored glasses”, some volume of We The People: A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods on their bedroom nightstand, framed along side their degrees are Ethics and Standards “reminders” on the wall; and as you enter their office restroom, a abstract picture of Don Quixote thrusting a windmill is over the “throne”.  If you bump into them it will be in a coffee shop /  book store, community event or non-profit project where they know they can apply their skills and serve others incognito if needed.  If you get the chance to brunch with them you’ll notice a person firmly committed to their ideals, polite, attentive, altruistic about others in conversation and constantly pointing out “right from wrong” in the polarized paradigms of culture and society on each sub-topic of contemporary society in the conversation.  They also never complain or become a part of the problem, rather, recognize it’s important to stay “independent” so they can provide a solution and communicate it like “magic”.  Rarely do they “rage against the machine” because they realize they are within “six degrees of separation”, we are “all One” in the world.  They make the best of their position be it working from the “inside out” in a large entity they know is not perfect, or from the “outside in”, not polarizing and judging, but embracing conflict towards peaceful goals for all.  They live and breath it… don’t they?  They also know to take each day… one day at a time and that it’s okay to leave it undone for the moment if “loved one” needs them… tomorrow arrives soon enough.  Wise, ethical, inclusive and patient with everyone is this Lofty Idealist.

In the “real world” of disputes and conflicts Lofty Idealist “leads by example” at all times and is “collaborative” with all callers and email from “seekers of truth and justice” knowing “in the moment” that such lofty perspectives are relevant to each individuals perspective.  Lofty is a skilled communicator able to “cut to the core” issue as presented from one side of the table and where inequities are detected, provide counsel so as to enlighten or transform the “victim’s” mentality and/or perspective.

Lofty also knows in today’s economy the time required to do intake and analysis far exceeds most client’s bank balances and they negotiate fees based on their altruistic excesses resulting in a ratio of open cases over successes on formalized terms agreements.  The reality faced by Lofty, given the volume of disputes and conflict thrown at them, is that they can serve more people doing ODR than in person.  They are flexible in their business model and dispute resolution procedure by allowing sessions to flow into asymmetrical conflict or dispute coaching if they can’t get the other side to follow the 3rd C, cooperation, which is the true reality a majority of the time.  They are loyal and relentless with their client via empathetic and neutral sentence formulation and terminology so as to provide salve for the “internal conflict” the client often experiences.

There’s more to Lofty Idealist than is discussed here or than “meets the eye”, but you get the idea.  As time passes, and this will take decades no doubt, Lofty is like a soothing rush of a stream over the “rocks of ages”, gently shaping and changing culture and society one moment at a time, one day at a time, one client at a time.  In the same vein, Lofty has turned the loneliness of the profession into a pillar of solitude and strength so as to muster and prepare for the next “noble” encounter.  When given the chance, Lofty is more interested in communicating out in the “real world” at open community meetings about Ombudsperson ADR, non-legal informal methods and the “whys” of it all; rather than with “vertically aligned” peers or entities where “preaching to the choir” is of little innovative value to those we serve.

Finally, if Lofty Idealist “vibrates” with you as to how and where the profession is unfolding I’d say just let yourself “slip out of the box” and take the facts and constraints you face and have the courage to “paradigm shift” them yourself.   There’s no “right or wrong” about this, it’s about identifying what needs changed, proposing that solution, working it ad infinitum and then simply doing your absolute best work with all involved.  What I’ve noticed many times is you won’t get personal validation for you or your client… but all of a sudden “miracles can happen” and policy, rules, exceptions or “gaps” are changed… it’s subtle when it happens… keep alert out there.


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