Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional. - Max LucadoIn a perfect world, disputes would be easily solved. The issues we disagree over would be substantial, tangible and easily quantified. We would reach agreements quickly. No fuss, case closed. In reality, disputes escalate because of relational issues – a loss of trust, a breakdown in communications, perceived incompatible differences leading to prolonged misunderstandings, a fierce desire to triumph over an opponent, to name a few. This holds true for disputes in all sectors. We are only human after all. Our personalities, emotions and communication skills (or lack of) may get in the way of an amicable and efficient outcome. Mediation is a practical, cost-effective and efficient method that aims to meet the interests of all parties. Unlike litigation or arbitration, there is no winner or loser. Mediation enjoys the freedom of creative problem-solving towards a win-win outcome, one which all parties help to achieve. This leads to a more permanent and lasting solution.
When Patsy’s husband passed away suddenly, he left her with a young son and a five-figure inheritance. That inheritance, Patsy claimed, had been quietly siphoned by her in-laws. She wanted the money returned and to sever relationships with her husband’s side of the family.
This case involved a shareholders dispute over a six-figure sum. Adopting an adversarial approach common in litigation and arbitration, lawyers initially presented a fine-combed contract as ammunition. However, when the parties were invited to give their stories, they backtracked to an earlier negotiation which broke down.
Two business partners jointly owned more than half a dozen companies and subsidiaries (worth several million dollars) spread over four countries in a major industry. After two decades of doing business together and facing some financial losses and lawsuits, both parties did not trust each other anymore and wanted to sever business relationships. Said one partner, “I just can’t see eye to eye with him anymore. How can we carry on like that?”
When Ethan wasn’t picked to represent his school in a prestigious competition, his parents were very unhappy. They were certain that he had proven himself and that his two teachers were biased in their decision. Ethan’s teachers, on the other hand, felt that it was their prerogative to select students to form the best team for the competition.