One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

As mediators, we spend much of our time contrasting mediation with, and distancing ourselves from, litigation. Before your eyes glaze over, that is not for this post. Instead, this post draws out one of the many similarities between mediation and litigation, especially when mediating a litigated case. Mediation has, some would say unfortunately, become a more…

Much has been said and written about the demise of the joint meeting in mediation. In my experience, such a view is premature and, I fear, is potentially wasteful of the power that mediation brings for creative problem-solving. I am also aware of how much the clients and others appreciate a creative approach to the…

It’s not easy to blog once a month, even on a subject I love. Often I sit down to write with no real ideas or inspiration. Sometimes I end up that way too (as you may have noticed!). It becomes easy to dread the approach of my monthly publication date. Often the pressure lies in…

Recently, I was ruminating about analogies between cricket and mediation. Cricket is a much-loved sport in Scotland. Sadly, nowadays, changes in the climate mean that cricket in my home country is more often affected by summer rain and damp conditions than a generation ago. Its future is less certain as a result. I have always…

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…