The first mediation was a construction defect case, the second – a joint venture dispute.
In private with the claimant party in each case, I wondered out loud what measure of responsibility they might factor in for their part of the dispute they now found themselves consumed by.
I explained this may be important when evaluating any proposal on the table later in the day.
In the construction defect case I enquired what that measure might be – on the basis that they had accepted the cheapest tender by far from an outfit that turned out to have a sorry history in this town – sure from their perspective the builders were cowboys – but they could have found this out had they bothered to enquire prior to contacting.
In the JV case it was more along the lines – what would they factor in for their own decision to partner with someone who was perfectly honest and competent, but just ended up not to be a good fit for them?
The responses were interesting.
The construction people resisted the exercise; the JV people were, it turned out, angry at themselves for a rare lapse in judgement and happy to learn (and pay for) a lesson that would stand them in good stead for the future.
As they said, a little harshly I felt – ‘if you lie down with dogs – you get up with fleas’.
… crumbs or fleas. Hey, I get it.