All too often I hear the same story... It starts with the comment "I wish I knew you earlier". The story continues with an unfortunate tale of woe arising from an employment or business situation in which a dispute, conflict, or even simple misunderstanding escalated into a lost job, a dissolved partnership, and/or a costly legal battle. Inevitably their story is filled with regret or resentment that things were not handled differently. As a mediator specializing in employee relations, partnership issues, and business disputes, I can only agree... "I wish you knew me earlier too."
The truth of the matter is, sometimes timing isn't the problem....fear is. Mediation is something foreign to most people who wrongly confuse it with either litigation or arbitration. Some have even worked with a mediator who did not perform as a true neutral, or who pushed for an agreement when the parties weren't ready or in full agreement. Still others fear that they will be forced into a compromise they don't wish to make. So they sue, they quit, they suffer.
As a mediator this saddens and frustrates me. I know the value of helping people to hear each other, and to understand each other. I know that the fear they may be feeling will be quelled within minutes of the process beginning. And I know that the process makes it easier to communicate and resolve differences....making it possible to truly arrive at a win-win ending.
My hope is that this blog helps to chip away at the resistance, and that more people talk about mediation as an exceptional service and vehicle for conflict resolution.