Mediation case study: running interference

Sometimes we come across cases where we unpick the threads of the dispute and find that it is actually the people behind the scenes who are escalating and inflaming the disagreement.

There is the apocryphal story of two business owners who went to lunch to resolve a dispute between their respective staff. They each put a number in an envelope and got the waiter to choose one and that was the final settlement.  They then bought some champagne and enjoyed a long and satisfying lunch.

If only it were always that easy to dispose of interference!

I mediated a case between three business owners who had fallen out. Each owner’s family was working behind the scenes to get involved in the dispute, muddy the waters and generally raise the temperature of the whole matter.

The business owners came to me for mediation and my first task was to get the other family members to “butt out” of the dispute so we could find a settlement. The families also agreed to keep out of the running of the business, which was incorporated as part of settlement.

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