My guest blog this week comes from an old friend, St Valentine of Terni.
Val is the widely recognised third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages he's been associated with a tradition of courtly love. He is considered an expert in matters of the heart, and even has a day named after him.
Who better to remind us all about the secret power of love you can find within mediation?
Over to you Val.
You’ve got a dispute with a really important client. and face financial ruin as the relationship has died and they are threatening court and legal costs and all out war. Then, a friend, your lawyer or someone on the train tells you you there is a way that you can survive.
Jump forward two weeks and you are walking away not only with a resolution to the dispute but with a new deal and a celebratory drink at the nearest pub.
It’s not fantasy, it is reality - this ability to repair ruined relationships is one of the most commonly overlooked benefits of mediation.
The mechanics of mediation help preserve and even enhance your relationship with the other party - even during a massive fall out. Imagine the scenario above - you fall out with a supplier that is vital to your business - or your biggest client threatens to walk away because of an unresolved dispute over an invoice. You can't survive without either and if you go to court you go to war, any realistic chance of keeping that client, and keeping your business afloat, disappears immediately.
Not with mediation.
Everyone thinks about the dispute at hand and how to settle it or fight it, but I am constantly amazed at the power of mediation to take a problem, work with it and come up with something new that the parties are happy with. I have seen parties be aggressive and even violent towards each other (and me!) and then hours later walk away smiling with a new deal and a new working relationship. This is because mediation isn't just about sticking to your position and arguing you are right and the other party is wrong, it is about trying to find a solution to a problem, and often the solution is to continue to work together.
This can be the difference between trading or not - if you go to court you go to war, if you mediate you can rebuild a vital relationship and benefit in many different ways.
With c. 70% of mediations settling on the day or within a couple of weeks after, what’s to lose?
On this of all days, make love, not war.