EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING
What is “WORLDVIEW MEDIATION™” and “SILVER LINING MEDIATION™”
By Dov Silberman
Experience shows, particularly in commercial matters, that even when mediations are successful, the participants are generally afterwards unhappy with the result, usually for two reasons:-
- They feel that it was imposed on them by pressures which they could not resist at the time, and
- For quite a while afterwards, when replaying the mediation in their minds, they feel they could have achieved a much better outcome.
Worldview Mediation™ and Silver Lining Mediation™ are two components of a new method that both enhances the chances of a settlement and also provides participants with an optimistic view of life after mediation, thereby allowing them to get on with their lives positively and productively.
In mediations, and indeed in general negotiations, I feel that it is most important to explore as much as possible the personal worldview of each participant. That is, their general philosophy of life and how they interpret what happens to them. This encompasses the depth and strength of their philosophic, cultural, moral and spiritual beliefs and values which make them the person who they are.
Whatever form of mediation is used, one of the primary roles of the mediator is to move the participants from their “positions” (what they say they want) to their “interests” (what they really want).
For example, Jill is a homeowner. Her position is “My swimming pool must be finished by December 15th, and time is of the essence in the contract”. Her interest is really “I want to go on holiday without worrying about what is happening at home”.
Jack is the swimming pool contractor. His position is “I have paid for Jill’s materials, but the supplier unexpectedly told me they will be supplied late, so that prevents me from finishing the pool on time, hence I should not be penalised for late completion” His interest is “I do want to get the pool finished as quickly as possible, but without losing my profit, so I can get paid” .
Without investigating Jill’s worldview, it may not be realised that she is rejecting any compromise because she has been brought up to have a very strong moral belief that “a person’s word is his bond”. She feels that, if in the past she has sacrificed profits and maybe even incurred actual losses to fulfil her word, then so should others.
Further discussion may elucidate that she may also have an equally strong belief that children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers. If she realises that Jack is relying on most of his profit from this job to pay for his child’s medical operation, then she would be more than happy to compromise the situation with a solution such as “Jack and Jill will split the costs for a trusted/neutral third party supervise the work while Jill is on holiday”.
Having articulated their worldview beliefs and values during the mediation, “Worldview Mediation™” has allowed each participant to expand the range of their “interests” and each participant has a greater awareness of where the other person is coming from, and the strength of their feeling. For people of the same culture or faith, there is an additional advantage of emphasising the deeper common grounds between them This allows a new sharing and understanding which the participants can use to achieve a settlement.
Silver Lining Mediation™
Having identified which aspects of their worldview is relevant to the situation at hand, each participant in open or closed session works through how the settlement is actually good for them because it is in harmony with their personal interpretation of the world, their beliefs about reality, and their general philosophy of life.
In the above scenario, Jack, while having to lose some of his profit to pay for the inconvenience of being supervised, gets sufficient money for the operation, and is happy because that is what he really wants. Jill, although knowing that one of her principles has been compromised and having to pay some money to resolve the matter, is also happy because her negative feelings have been cancelled by the good feeling that she has helped a child in need.
In other words, each of the participants have found their own Silver Lining.