If only we’d done it sooner ….
Following some recent multi-million pound commercial mediations, the thought struck me that there is one thing common to disputes - whether at this level or between two individuals who can't get on at work - they take up a huge amount of time and energy which could so usefully be spent on other things.
In one of the commercial cases the dispute had been going on for almost 9 years, a huge number of personnel had had to spend time on it, almost £1m had already been spent in legal costs alone, to say nothing of the cost of time and resources. The people involved on both sides, from senior directors to administrative staff, longed for it to be over. The companies both said they could have achieved major progress in their organisations if they had had that money at their disposal.
In another recent workplace mediation between 2 employees the issue had been troubling the organisation for 2 years, it had taken up hours of time at directors' meetings, repeatedly appearing on the agenda, it had resulted in many days of sick leave and had spread from the two people involved to at least 4 other staff, and if the cost were to be calculated in monetary terms the organisation said they could probably have paid for the new state-of-the-art coffee machine the staff were asking for!
Yet in both cases the dispute had escalated because it wasn't tackled at an early stage, positions became entrenched, making it so much harder to find a resolution,
Happily they did - the commercial dispute settled after a day's mediation with all parties working with me to achieve a satisfactory result, the workplace dispute was resolved at a half-day mediation with the two employees agreeing to move forward with some ground rules for behaviour and respect for each other.
The line that was common to both? ‘If only we'd done it sooner ........’
At the better way we provide training and facilitation to help organisations diagnose a dispute at the earliest possible point.