THE MEDIATOR LOOKS BACK
The problem with success is that it conceals your mistakes. When there is an achievement, the dominant tendency is to enjoy the moment and to re-live the sequence of initiatives that led to the positive outcome. Understandable but only half the story.
In our narrative, the Mediator made an important mistake. In the event, she “got away with it”. This occurred when she approached the Town Clerk to see if the Council Planning Department could accelerate consideration of the change of use application by the Local Businessman. Quite properly the Town Clerk, “a Friend at Court”, turned her down.
Consider the consequences if he had agreed to her request and managed to rush through the application and obtained a positive outcome. Allegations of “insider pressure” would surely have followed as prying eyes looked for mistakes + errors. The cat would have been out of the bag. The Mediator’s reputation would have suffered.
But there are positives, too, to bear in mind. The Mediator took a broad community approach and made contact with a cross-section of interested parties. She raised the profile of a sensitive local issue – and galvanised responses. She was active – not passive. She succeeded – not failed.
Mediation is a much under-appreciated tool of dispute resolution. It suffers from being an outgrowth of litigation + carries the marks of a process dominated by lawyers, procedures + legal issues. That is not to say that there is not a role for lawyers – there is and an important one but the prevailing culture must be open not closed minds – expansive thinking not narrow focus. And, bear in mind, that Mediation in the right hands, and in the appropriate circumstances can reach out + embrace people, organisations and structures.
Feedback is welcome – constructive and critical.
My next piece is a one-off article; “The Football Referee – Arbitrator + Mediator” to be followed by an Arbitration Narrative and then another Mediation Narrative.
NEXT POST – 20 SEPTEMBER 2021