Thursday, April 29, 2010

Linking Turns

Back in February I went skiing and took a lesson to update my turns. Today's skis are built to turn with a parabolic arc built in while yesterday's skis were mostly straight and pretty hard to turn. During the lesson I had to unlearn old habits and listen closely as my instructor encouraged me to link my turns, from edge to edge, using the skis arc. I was encouraged to flow with the mountain and with my skis rather than fighting with them.

This idea of linking turns shows up in mediation. Each step of the process can be linked and I believe it is part of our job as mediators to manage and facilitate the links. When we ask a specific question or inquire about topics to discuss or ask if participants want to meet privately, it should be done with a larger mediation process goal in mind. We should link our mediator actions to both our overarching mediation approach and be in conjunction with the needs and requests of participants. As we link steps of the mediation process together this also helps participants connect with the process, and in so doing, the process works its magic and facilitates decision making.

Next mediation - think about linking turns down the mountain.