Readers who are experts on the wartime British Prime Minister or have recently watched “The Darkest Hour” may find the above caption familiar. Yes, it has been inspired by Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” If you like the caption, feel…

As Chip and Dan Heath describe in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, we are rational beings with a “Rider” that logically analyzes our surroundings. Our Rider tries to direct our emotional side, “the Elephant.” Although we like to think our Rider is in control at all times, in truth,…

Try this thought experiment: imagine a mediator without empathy. How and what would they do? Would there be drawbacks? Benefits? The response to these questions probably depends on our own experience of empathy. This simple yet often misunderstood term masks a complex and fascinating set of ideas about human connection. Because we believe empathy is…

In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

Mediation existed in the Middle East hundreds of years ago. In fact, the notion of deferring to a neutral and objective third-party for a decision towards the resolution of a dispute is well steeped in Arabic/Islamic traditions. For example, one of the most famous stories of Prophet Muhammad’s early life is that of him being…

It was a comment made a few months ago and it has stayed with me: “But Anna, mediators are all tree-huggers.” There have been many variants of this type in response to my answer to the very English question: “So, what do you do?” These comments continue to irk me. Finally, as this year draws…

As the year comes to an end, I am expanding upon a story to which I referred in a previous blog, in the hope that it may provide a couple of useful reminders of what we do as mediators. I had eaten a chicken curry rather hastily at the hotel where I had been mediating…

A whole day of mediation without a “joint meeting”. The only time the lawyers met was to begin drafting the settlement agreement. The experts played no part. The day before, the principals had exchanged correspondence deprecating perceived personal insults directed at professional advisers which, it was felt, had damaged reputations. This was a long-running commercial…

Like all businesses, mediation ultimately depends upon (and needs to reflect) what the users want from it. That doesn’t of course mean that theirs in the only relevant perspective – mediators also have views on what the process can and should offer. But at the very least it’s a vital part of the equation (I…