What’s REALLY the problem?

People often suggest “common-sense” solutions to conflicts.

But such solutions rarely succeed because they address the obvious problems and overlook the real – often hidden – issues.

Take the greengrocer who finds two customers arguing over his last bag of oranges.   

His common sense solution? Open the bag and sell them half each.

Both walk away with the same number of oranges, but each is dissatisfied and secretly thinks they should really have had the lot.

A mediator would look past the stated desire for a whole bag of oranges, and ask what was really happening. They might then learn that Customer A juiced their oranges and threw away the peel while Customer B used orange peel for marmalade, and threw away the juice.

Understanding their actual needs gives both customers the opportunity to negotiate a solution in which they both win.  

© Osborne Mediation 2019