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Leaders should work to ensure that their organization's narratives and values are made real within the organization as well as in the world, says the conflict transformation and mediation expert. One of the tasks of leadership is to ensure that the organization's external narratives -- the set of values and aspirations they project to the world -- are lived out within the organization as well, says David Anderson Hooker, an experienced mediator and expert on conflict resolution.
As a consultant, Hooker often works with organizations to do what he calls a "narrative alignment," making sure that their external and internal values are in sync. How do they organize their personal life? Do their relationships, resource allocation and the structures in their life align with the values that they are committed to in the world? Doing such work -- making sure that an organization lives up to its own story -- is difficult and challenging, but not doing it is a failure of leadership, he said.
He has worked for more than 25 years as a mediator, community builder, scholar and advocate. He has a J. Prior to his appointment at Notre Dame, he was a senior fellow for community engagement strategies at the University of Georgia's J. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. He has also served as assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia.
The following is an edited transcript. I've been doing mediation for about 25 years. It started with family and neighborhood disputes, and when I was in graduate school, even roommate disputes.
You know -- "They don't keep their room clean enough"; "they party too loud. I was at the University of Massachusetts in when they had a riot. But it became a race riot. I had the opportunity over six months to talk to smaller groups and eventually to the whole campus, to converse and to redesign a relational covenant for the university, and I realized that's really what I love.