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My Approach

My main focus as a mediator is the business case for settlement.  It's about helping each of the people involved in a dispute to work out what they can expect to gain and to lose by reaching a deal at mediation as opposed to another process for settlement - typically court-based.  It's useful to build a rough picture of the business case that the other side will be looking at too in order to get a better understanding of what will be driving and constraining their offers and responses. 

So it's just about finding ways to increase your gain with the least pain to the other side and moving steadily to agreement, right?  

Well, no - there's always much more to it than that!

Conflict can have a very powerful effect on how people see and understand what's going on around them - and can lead to some surprising errors of judgement!  The business case will show up when a party is about to head off in the wrong direction.

This focus fits with my background as a management consultant, project manager and business change manager - specialising in negotiating and building business cases and benefit plans for projects - and my professional training as a management accountant.  I also think it's a good one for organisational projects.  Settlement options are likely to have an impact well beyond the immediately affected team or product  - they could even have a significant impact on the overall business.  So it's worth getting the business case clear and, after all, project specialists are used to working with business cases.

The reason why I'm passionate about mediation is that it gives people the opportunity to find their own way out of a dispute - one that works for them and minimises damage to their life, project and/or organisation.  The role of the mediator is to keep them focused on that job and to help keep the path to settlement as clear of obstacles as possible.  The business case is the best tool I can have to do that job.