Interview: Mosten on Peacemaker Practice Self Survey

I recently had the opportunity to interview ADR legend Forrest “Woody” Mosten.  Woody has been on the forefront of Mediation and Collaborative Practice and is the founder of Unbundled Legal Services.  Woody also happens to be a friend and mentor of mine and my co-author of “Building A Successful Collaborative Family Law Practice” published by the American Bar Association in 2018.  You can find the video below.

You can find the Peacemaker Practice Self Survey reproduced below.


Forrest S. Mosten and Kevin Scudder[1]

Peacemaker Professionals are lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals who deliver services to clients in a number of roles: Advisor, Information Provider, Organizer, Legal Counselor, Mediator, Evaluator, and other forms as service-provider.

How do you distinguish yourselves from other Peacemaker Professionals in your community? What differentiates our work from a traditional provider are the values and personal attributes that define who are, and which govern our actions.

Hi, I’m Kevin from Seattle.  I am a Peacemaker who works with clients to create their resolution, rather than having one imposed upon them. My aim is to help clients get the information they need to make decisions they need to make in a timely, clear, manner and to provide a service that exceeds their expectations in all areas.

 This self-survey is designed to be a working template for you, as a Peacemaker Professional, to reflect upon the core definition of your practice. It is the foundation for the development of your Practice Signature, mission statement, business plan, or Peacemaking work.

This Self-Survey is designed to help you understand and develop your Practice Signature in a step-by-step approach. There is no need to do the Survey in one setting, but it is recommended that you write out your answers. While it may be time consuming, this work will pay dividends over the years.

Once completed, share your answers with other colleagues, your practice and professional support groups, and even with your family members. By being asked questions and taking the opportunity to think about and express your answers, your Practice Signature will become more deeply ingrained and authentic.

I.                  TAKING PERSONAL STOCK:

 What values guide your personal life and who do you thank for instilling those values?

  1. What are your core personal values?




  1. Looking at your list of core personal values, if you had the chance to express gratitude to someone for each value you listed, who would that be, and why?




  1. List a few of the events in your life that have shaped your core





In his 2019 article, Four Powerful Habis of the Most Mentally Strong and Successful People, Scott Mautz writes the following

it’s easy, especially in times of change, to lose sight of your core, your most closely held values. Remembering your values in times of adversity is a source of strength, resolve, and perspective, and keeps you grounded.

Values are those little things we do each day that exemplify who we are. They’re the daily little impressions that leave a huge permanent impression. If I asked you to write down your most closely held, non-negotiable values, could you? My survey work conducted in classes I teach at Indiana University indicates that only 30 percent of people can write down their non-negotiable values within any reasonable time frame.

If you fall into the 70 percent, take some time for introspection to write your values down and keep them in front of you. If you can do that, it makes you much more likely to live each day in support of your values versus in spite of them. It’s greatly helpful in times adversity, as it’s during such times that our true character shows, aided by our values. Our values are the arm around our character that holds it steady and guides it down the right path.

  1. Think about how your values have changed over time. What values were once important, but now have less



Examples of Values:

Authenticity; Achievement; Adventure; Authority; Autonomy; Balance; Beauty; Boldness; Compassion; Challenge; Citizenship; Community; Competency; Contribution; Creativity; Curiosity; Determination; Education; Equality; Fairness; Faith; Fame; Friendships; Fun; Growth; Happiness; Honesty; Humor; Informed; Influence; Inner Harmony; Justice; Kindness; Knowledge; Leadership; Learning; Love; Loyalty; Meaningful Work; Openness; Optimism; Peace; Pleasure; Poise; Popularity; Recognition; Religion; Reputation; Respect; Responsibility; Security; Self-Respect; Service; Spirituality; Stability; Success; Status; Trustworthiness; Wealth; Wisdom.

[Borrowed in part from]


What values guide your professional life?



  1. Provide an abbreviated list of your different jobs, starting with your first job and ending with your current



  1. For each of your jobs write down what was important for you at the time. Why were you in the job you were in?



  1. Write down the things about your job that you



  1. Write down the things about your job that you like (what makes you wake up in the morning and want to go to work in the morning and stay all day).



  1. What do you want to change about your practice and why do you want to make that



  1. Describe your ideal work



  1. What are your key personal attributes and how are they reflected in your Peacemaker work? Or not reflected in your Peacemaker work?



Examples of personal attributes:


accommodating    accurate      adaptable    adventurous ambitious analytical                             appreciate   diversity      appreciate feedback approachable                             articulate     assertive      authentic     autonomous calm under pressure      candid         cautious      cheerful collaborative                             compassionate                committed to integrity competitive                             confident     congenial    conscientious conservative                             considerate  consistent   cooperative

cost-conscious      creative       curious        decisive       dedicated dependable           detail-oriented                determined diplomatic disciplined                             discreet       driven         dynamic      eager efficient                             empathetic  energetic     enjoy challenges enthusiastic                             entrepreneurial               ethical         fair flexible                             friendly       generous     goal-oriented

hard-working        helpful        honest         imaginative inclusive independent                             industrious  influential   innovative   intelligent intuitive                             inquisitive   level-headed                   loyal

mature                  methodical  observant    open-minded   optimistic organized                outgoing                  passionate   patient        perceptive persistent                personable               persuasive   pleasant       poised polite             possess a good sense of humor        possess common sense practical             precise                      process-oriented         productive professional            punctual                    a quick learner rational     reliable resourceful            realistic    resilient    respectful results-oriented responsible            responsive                 seek challenges           self-aware self-motivated            self-sufficient            self-reliant       sincere spontaneous tactful            take direction well        take initiative   team-oriented tenacious  thoughtful   thorough   tolerant   trustworthy values-oriented versatile visionary willing to take risks

[Borrowed from Univ. of South Carolina:]


  1. What Peacemaker services do you offer?



  1. What other non-adversarial services do you offer?



  1. What is the target market for your services?



  1. Who are your referral services and how do they know about your Practice Signature?



  1. How do you communicate the availability and nature of your services to your target market?



  1. How do your services provide improvement or differentiation from other family professionals?



  1. What is our involvement with organized professional associations in the field?



  1. What is your ongoing involvement with other family professionals? How is such involvement “cost-effective”?



  1. To which professional journal subscriptions and software in the Peacemaker field do you subscribe?



  1. What is the extent of your volunteer Peacemaker client work in your community?



  1. What is the extent of your organizational work in the Peacemaker field?



  1. How do you help other Peacemaker professionals develop their professional craft/skills or profitability of their practices?


IV.            A Tool For “Seeing” Your New Practice Signature

 The Peacemaking Abacus

In his book, Mediation Career Guide: A Strategic Approach to Building a Successful Practice, Forrest “Woody” Mosten encourages the practitioner to explore the available “inventory of formats and interventions” in creating a Mediation Signature. [Mediation Career Guide, Mosten, F., 85].

A different set of formats and interventions exist for the Peacemaker. Some possibilities are set forth below. In looking at the different spectrums, where do you fall? Put an “X” on the line in a position that best describes you. If you do not see a spectrum that better describes you and your core values and attributes, make sure to add it to your own list.

Full Litigation <———————————————->No  Litigation


Full Service  <———————————————-> Unbundled Services


Full Team Interdisciplinary <—————————————–> Attorney Only


Experienced Practitioners Only <———————————————-> New Practitioners


Attorney / Professional Focus <———————————————> Client Focused


Stay True to Process <——————————————> Flexibility Based On Situation


Legal Result <—————————————-> Client Result


Stick to the Path <—————————————-> Off the Beaten Path


Risk Averse <————————————-> Risk Tolerant / Seeking


Conflict Adverse <—————————————> Embrace Conflict


Control <————————————————–> Delegate


Grounded <———————————————–> Spiritual


Holistic Approach <——————————————–> Legal Remedies


Transformational <——————————————> Transactional


Wealthy Clients <————————————–> Low Asset / Income Clients


Two-Hour Meetings or Less <——————————————-> Longer Meetings


Sole Practitioner <————————————————> Community


*              Based on The Mediation Abacus, Wade, J.H. “Mediation-The Terminological Debate.” Australian Peacemaker Journal, 1994, 5, 204; acknowledgment also to Adam Cordover.




[1] This practice building tool is a work in progress. Originally developed by Woody in his books Mediation Career Guide (2001) and Collaborative Divorce Handbook (2009, it was updated and improved by Kevin in 2016 and then further developed by him in his Chapter, Redefining Your Practice Signature and Creating a Profitable Peacemaking Practice in Mosten and Cordover, Building a Successful Collaborative Practice (2018). Kevin and Woody encourage mediators and collaborative professionals to update and improve this tool, use it to build their practices and to teach and mentor other peacemakers.


Adam B. Cordover is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and leading Collaborative Family Law Professional.  Adam is a member of the Board of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals.