I have been thinking about employment disputes for some time, trying to find imaginative ways of capturing the issues involved and exploring how mediation might be used to resolve disputes before they escalate.
Last night, courtesy of Laura Devine, a group of employment lawyers, mediators, coaches and HR practitioners watched Paul Tinto perform a dramatised version of a dispute which sought to capture the emotional trajectory as experienced by an individual - frustration, puzzlement, righteous anger, exhaustion, resignation and, ultimately, defeat. I then facilitated a discussion which explored how mediation skills might be used to intervene at key stages of a dispute to prevent further escalation.
It was a high risk approach to a formal presentation, but one which seemed to work in terms of provoking discussion, debate and some consensus.
After many years struggling with PowerPoint presentations, I concluded they are best avoided. This was a liberating decision, but a rather unimaginative one because a good graphic or diagram can quickly and clearly convey a complex issue.
I have worked with Martin Conradi to create the graphic below, which neatly combines two of my interests - getting to the top of mountains and dispute resolution.
It captures the difficulty of managing an employment dispute in the usual way.
It also captures the real difficulties faced when mediating, informally or formally, recognising that getting to the top of any mountain is always going to be a struggle and will never be risk-free.
From here to there.