•  MOST DISPUTES – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – MASK A PREDOMINANTLY EMOTIONAL ELEMENT which underlies the stated issues, and ‘hidden agenda’ is the primary obstacle which precludes sensible resolution.  Non-binding Informal Mediation is a process of coaxing parties to focus on “surfacing the agenda” to ensure that each party listens and clearly hears the other’s core issue(s), which then facilitates negotiation and compromise on what-it-takes-to-move-forward. This is a consistently proven process which can efficiently & effectively resolve personal issue dimensions of disagreements between business associates, conflicts among executive teams or Boards, prenuptial or divorcing spouse agreements, and dysfunctional family disputes including succession & estate matters. Sessions are conducted in neutral and relaxed settings which minimize stress and promptly lead to optimal and cost-efficient resolution. Before disputes become enmeshed in legal process, talk to Dennis about this proven strategy. An example of the potential impacts from early discussions: CA Code mandates “Financial Disclosure” from each party prior to entering a property or support agreement. However, pursuant to a recent Court of Appeals decision, Disclosure is not required if parties reach their property settlement prior to filing for dissolution. [LA DAILY JOURNAL – Sep 29, 14]
  • ALCOHOL AFFECTS MALE MEMORY WORSE THAN FEMALE. As holiday season approaches, be aware that a ten-year Univ. College London study of 5,000 men and 2,000 women who consumed an average of 2½ drinks daily (beers or equivalent alcohol) found that males had “lowered reasoning & organizational abilities” and women showed “deficits in organization and planning skills.” But only the men “sped up memory loss by six years” versus light-to-moderate or non-drinkers.  [THE WEEK – Jan 31, 14]
  • SOME CALIFORNIA PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE SEEN NASTY NEW TAX BILLS. When California values decreased a few years ago, many owners benefited from Prop 8 “temporary reductions in taxable value of real estate.” Now, as values have recouped, so have assessed valuations – with allowable bumps as high as the originally factored Prop 13 value increased by 2% annually from date of acquisition. [WELLING CPA NWSLTR – Oct 24, 14]
  • “WE ARE KNOWN BY THE RELATIONSHIPS WE KEEP.  Perception, for most, is reality and much of success in life really does have to do with whom we attract, our people skills and the alliances we make… The people we choose (and vice versa) impact how we use our time, make decisions, do business, and what values we hold.”  So developing rapport, purpose and high quality in relationships is critical, and can be optimized through effective communication including: (1) Listening well, paying attention and letting others finish their thought before responding; (2) Focusing and showing interest by maintaining eye contact; (3) Avoiding “sarcastic snide asides or making personal character attacks”; (4) Avoiding gossip – which “provides others a poor opinion of how you’re likely to (de)value them”; (5) Being honest, open and willing to both hear and speak without “attachment to being right”; (6) Not assuming you understand or are understood – asking, clarifying where important; (7) Caring about and remembering what may be important to the other person. [BARRYEISEN.COM NWSLTR]                                             
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered.”

      THOUGHTS ON LIFE IN RHYME & SCULPTURE, latest work from Dennis Gray (Duitch), is in 2nd printing and now available for holiday gifting.  “Life’s no more than a balancing act, with each of us on stage / No rights or wrongs, ifs, ands or buts; we react and turn the page…  Thoughts on the complexities, joys and tribulations of relationships, business, politics, economy, environment and finding one’s purpose amidst the craziness and uncertainty of life in our times.”

In hardcover (personally inscribed as requested) at www.DennisGraySculpture.com;  in paperback at most national bookstores and from Amazon www.amazon.com/THOUGHTS-LIFE-RHYME-SCULPTURE-Printing/dp/1631224468/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1414736936 ;  or as a downloadable e-book directly from the publisher at  www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781631224461.