If I could tell people one thing from my years as a mediator, it would be this.
Choosing mediation doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak, or that you’re a “problem employee,” or that you don’t have a strong case to take to court. It doesn’t mean that you’re losing face or not standing up for your principles.
Choosing mediation means that you’re making a wise choice. It means that you want to succeed.
Here’s what choosing mediation means:
Choosing mediation means that you’re strong, principled, and fair. You know that people should have a chance to resolve problems before they’re put on a PIP. You know that an adversarial court system leaves everyone feeling battered and bruised; and that the law doesn’t always produce the best moral or ethical outcome.
Choosing mediation means that you’re working to get what you really need. You know that you can achieve outcomes for yourself in mediation that you can’t get in arbitration, court, or even standard HR procedures. You’ve assessed all of your options, and you know that the flexibility of mediation and a mediated agreement give you the best chance of getting what you really need.
Choosing mediation means that you know it’s never too late to get the best resolution to a bad situation. You know that a contract that hasn’t been adhered to, a business relationship you never should’ve entered into, or a coworker that’s been hell to work with – they may be bad situations, but you still want to get the best possible plan for going forward.
Choosing mediation means that you’re wise and always looking for ways to improve your business practices. You look at what happened to cause the dispute or conflict in the first place. Then you figure out what you can do differently that will avoid this problem going forward.
Choosing mediation means you want to preserve important relationships, whether business or personal. You know that you shouldn’t give up on a good relationship just because of one problem. You know how to deal with problems and preserve relationships so you can continue to benefit from them going forward. And you especially want to preserve relationships that are more than just business, especially if the dispute or conflict is with family members or longtime business partners.
If you’re facing a dispute or conflict, whether it’s with a business partner, a coworker, your manager, a fellow board member, a vendor, a client, or even a neighbor or family member, choosing mediation doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It means that you’re strong, principled, and fair. It means that you know that mediation is the best way to be fair, get what you need, get the best resolution, improve your business practices and preserve important relationships.