I’ve been fortunate to be a part of mediations where there have been healings and complete changes of heart among the parties. What are the commonalities or are there any? Is there a dynamism or some type of force present, such as in Star Wars “the force be with you”? What is it?
These difficult questions need to be asked. I’m more than open to input from other mediators. Their perceptions might provide for a more insightful article and assist me in updating my book “Constructive Communication”.
My thoughts are not the result of a scientific study. They come from personal experiences as a mediator.
What has been true in all my transcendent mediations, is that the parties present have skin in the game and complete authority to negotiate. They are not restricted representatives.
The second item, which usually follows from the first, is that at least one of the parties, possibly due to the above, accepts responsibility and possibly more importantly thinks and feels beyond him/herself. There is empathy present and a recognition of the role of his/her ego’s role in the negotiation. If both parties fit into the categories of the first two items, resolution is a matter of both parties having an inclusive dialogue with some possible assistance from a mediator.
The third item is that the other party, even though centered on their rights, can sense the goodwill of the other party. This seems to open her/his heart to consider the perceptions of the other party.
So what makes the resolution transcendent? This the $64,000 question. To date, for me, there are four components.
Note that all four of the above are outside of or involve the will of the parties. They are truly transcendent. The negotiations may involve many intellectual concrete considerations but the ultimate decisive elements in a truly transformative mediation are transcendent. The common good, integrity, non-judgmental and will power are real but transcendent. Expressions of dominance and power have always been absent at the conclusion of my transcendent mediations.
The real questions are: why do some have these four components and others don’t, and how do we assure that future generations are given the opportunity to have them?
Every civilization needs to have citizens who can resolve differences in a transformative way. We need to assure the presence of the basic building blocks for it to happen. I would love to discuss this with you.
IndisputablyI just wrote this post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog on this subject. It summarizes empirical research showing the huge chasm in perspectives between many lawyers and their clients. Lawyers often...By John Lande