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Taking an Individual Approach

My strategy is to strive to improve the relationships between and among the parties by facilitating and understanding the various parties’ interests by all concerned.

I approach mediation three ways: as a creator of relationships, an effective agent of change and a problem-solver. Just as in a difficult conversation, it is critical for each party to understand the interests of the other people. Additionally, all must recognize there is often an audience and secondary stakeholders to the matter at hand and its resolution.

If the dispute has escalated into a conflict with many layers and is highly charged, Mellman Solutions practices transformative mediation in which there is an attempt at a value change within the parties and a cultural change within the organization. Thus, the conflict itself is dealt with among the parties. Sometimes, they're not even the same room.

I use the principles of transformative and problem-solving mediation to bring parties together, and in time the parties come to their own decision. Thus the conflict itself is dealt with here much as a value change.

Some characteristics of transformative mediation:

The leader has an immediate problem

Transformative mediation goes to the heart of the problem.

Requires the mediator to solve the question behind the question, the real problem. Often, the real, deep-seated issue is:
— Why the leader can't solve the problem
— Why the mediator must change the leader's point of view.

Some characteristics of problem-solving mediation:

Everything everyone says or does serves some interest they believe they have.

The key is to knowing what the underlying interests are, and then to working to develop a solution that either aligns them or satisfies them simultaneously.

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Donald L. Mellman, MD, MPH, MBA, FACS, FACHE