At Third Ear Conflict Resolution, we’re dedicated to transforming conflicts into opportunities for growth, and mediation is at the heart of what we do. With over two decades of experience in this field, we’ve seen firsthand how mediation can bring resolution and reconciliation where it seemed impossible. Whether you’re a risk manager, CEO, funeral director, small business owner, or a licensed professional, these six key insights will help you make an informed choice when considering mediation.
1. Mediation Can Occur Before Litigation
Mediation is an informal dispute resolution option that you can use begin before lawsuits are filed. If you’re considering litigation, consider the out come you want. Do you want to preserve relationships, even those ancillary to the conflict? After I filed the lawsuit against my prior employer, I lost friends and opportunities in the industry. I might have kept both, if my employer had been willing to mediate. Instead, we went to trial. No one appeared on the employer’s behalf, and I won a default judgment. Neither one of us truly won the lawsuit, and there were several win-win solutions.
2. Mediators and Arbitrators Serve Very Different Roles
One common misconception is that mediators and arbitrators are interchangeable. In reality, their roles differ significantly. Mediators do not make decisions for you; they facilitate conversations between you and the other people impacted by the conflict. The goal is to reach a settlement agreement, not tell either side what they deserve or get. Mediators do not:
- Provide legal advice
- Make legal determinations
- Award damages
- Resolve objections
- Take testimony
- Focus on the past
They remain neutral, focusing on the interests of all parties involved. If you need legal counsel, we recommend you consult an attorney who has represented parties in mediation of cases similar to yours in subject matter.
3. Mediation Agreements Are Legally Actionable
Litigation-loving parties often ask why they would consider mediation if the settlement is not legally binding. They want to be able to get a judgment to enforce the settlement, if a party does not comply with the settlement terms. It’s true that parties might not comply when the courts tell them how they should end their dispute. That’s why we have an appeals process and the option to enforce judgments through the courts.
However, enforcement of mediation settlements is rarely necessary because the parties co-create them. Rather than defer to the courts, the mediator helps the parties choose terms they believe will resolve the disputes. Working through the tangible and intangible harms suffered or perceived, unmet expectations are revealed and addressed. This typically results in a future-focused agreement with actions each party can easily take.
Also note that if an agreement is reached in mediation, it is still legally binding and enforceable as a contract.
4. Mediation Can Be Transformative
Mediation isn’t just about settling disputes; it’s a transformative process. It invites you to explore:
- Your unmet expectations
- Whether those expectations align with your true desires
- How to achieve what truly matters to you
Operating in a unique space defined by compassion, respect, and professionalism, we will help you craft settlement agreements that empower all parties to take meaningful steps towards their goals. We leave behind the adversarial behaviors seen in courtrooms, focusing on:
- Clear communication
- Solutions beyond punishment
5. Mediation Can Build Your Conflict Resolution Skills
Our primary objective in mediation is to reach an agreement that rebuilds relationships, even if they change. Not every employee returns to work, but they often end up working in similar industries where they cross paths with former co-workers and supervisors. We try to prepare everyone for that and remind them that none of us should be forever judged by the biggest mistakes we made. Sometimes, it’s not possible. But even in these situations, mediation can equip you with invaluable clarity and confidence to navigate the next phase, whether it be arbitration, litigation, or another approach. You’ll discover that the benefits of mediation extend beyond the negotiation table.
6. Your Choice and Voice Matter to Us
Choosing the right mediator is paramount. We encourage you to explore your options and make a decision that aligns with your values and goals. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but when you choose to work with Third Ear Conflict Resolution, we promise to help you find peaceful and productive resolutions.
Whether you’re a risk manager, CEO, funeral director, small business owner, or a licensed professional, mediation can be a powerful tool for conflict resolution.