When David Gage founded his business mediation firm twenty years ago, he knew that the most effective way to help business co-owners, partners, boards, and co-inheritors would be with a team that included professionals who could quickly understand the problems and who could help creatively with the resolution–no matter how complex the issues. Since the problems of our clients may involve business, legal, financial, and interpersonal issues, he wanted expertise from four different areas: business, law, finance, and psychology. With a mix of seasoned professionals with these backgrounds, he knew the team would be ready to meet any challenge.
BMC has pioneered a multidisciplinary, co-mediation approach to resolving the conflicts that arise among principals in business related situations. The essence of this approach is pairing two professionals – both trained mediators – from different disciplines to work together as a team.
Why Two-person Teams?
Over the years, BMC has experimented with the most effective approach. We have experimented with one, two, and even three people working with clients. We discovered that the two-person team was far and away the most effective and efficient approach.
For each client, BMC selects a two-person team with the backgrounds of the mediators chosen based on the needs of the client and their particular situation. There are numerous advantages to having two mediators with two different disciplines working together. First, they are able to grasp the complexities of the situation very quickly, which is critically important because mediation is typically a fast-paced process. It has to produce results and agreements in a short period of time. With two mediators with different areas of expertise, they grasp the situation quickly and move on to doing what is most important: working on solutions to problems.
The second reason for a two-person, team approach is that brainstorming new ideas, perspectives, and alternatives is far easier when mediators bring two different areas of expertise to the negotiating table. All mediators are limited in some respects by their frame of reference. Having two mediators helps resolve this limitation and results in a much more creative process. The benefit to the client is both immediate and long lasting because totally new possibilities arise which may have been missed by a mediator working alone. This means that clients reach agreement where they might not have with only one mediator.
Having co-mediators from different disciplines also gives mediators more ability to spot weaknesses in the agreements that one of the parties might propose. For example, a psychologist-mediator working alone might miss a legal technicality in an agreement. The result would be that the clients would sooner or later end up fighting again. The lawyer-mediator can catch that and prevent the problem. Similarly, a lawyer-mediator working alone might write an agreement that is not realistic in terms of the partners’ interpersonal dynamics and would never hold up over the long haul. The psychologist-mediator will help the clients see such shortcomings and work out a more feasible resolution. The bottom line is that agreements written with the help of a co-mediator team are usually better quality agreements that hold up better with time.
Finally, there is an entirely practical reason why a two-person, co-mediation team approach is far superior to a solo-mediator approach. Mediation sessions are almost always conducted in half- or full-day meetings because the process cannot be stretched out, for example, like therapy. Where the issues are complex, the emotions running high, the stakes serious – and you are meeting for hours at a stretch – two professionals working together is a necessity. One person trying to manage the entire process and be creative at the same time is simply impossible.
For these reasons, the multidisciplinary, co-mediator team approach to the problems of business principals is far more effective and efficient and thus, better for the client.
Contact BMC today to learn more about how we can help.