Inquiry precedes Advocacy

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The general rule is this: inquiry precedes advocacy. If you (1) are uncertain about having reliable, complete information; (2) have not engaged all relevant stakeholders and (3) doubt that you have sufficient votes, power or other support to put your plan into action, then it is time for inquiry, not advocacy. However, if you (1) access to all the necessary information, (2) have obtained input from all the necessary people, and (3) have mapped a clear road to implementing a viable plan, then go ahead. Advocate you ‘solution’ or conflict, and begin to rally everyone behind you.

Inquiry requires courage. When competing voices all claim to have ‘the answer’ it takes considerable self-confidence to call for inquiry. Mediators often have to be willing to ‘not know’ because this ‘not knowing’ is often a key to the door that leads beyond the conflict

– Mark Gerzon from ‘ Leading through Conflict’

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