Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Minute Mediator !

Many of you may be familiar with a book on management, "The One Minute Manager" by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (first published in 1982) which follows the quick saga of "a bright young man who was looking for an effective manager." Through his efforts he meets the "One Minute Manager" and various co-workers who extoll the virtues of the "old man" and explain the concept of being a One Minute Manager. I just got hold of it recently and it's a great read with some very focused insight that matches our work as mediators.

One aspect that hit home for me was the One Minute Manger's statement about whether his management style was "results-oriented" or "people oriented." He said "How on earth can I get results if it's not through people? I care about people and results. They go hand in hand." Thus, the One Minute Manager is a "both / and" kind of guy. It's not either / or, it's both. This should be true for your work as a mediator.

You need to work both your "soft" people and (it shouldn't be "or") your "hard" negotiating skills when you work as a mediator. This helps mediation participants fully engage in the process and evaluate their choices about how to proceed. So, the next time you are in the middle of a tough negotiation, take a look around the room - how are folks doing? Is there something you can do to help the negotiation discussion move forward by paying attention to the people?

As mediators, we, like the One Minute Manager, should care about people and process results.

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