CEO Narrative Mediation
CEO specialises in a way of working known as narrative mediation.
A fact is a fact, but perception is reality. A conflict is seen as a confrontation between contradictory stories, which are involved in a struggle for dominance. Deconstructing the conflicting stories and perceptions creates space within which constructive work can take place on the creation of an alternative story.
The practice of this narrative approach is far from abstract or vague. On the contrary, this corresponds precisely to how the majority of people experience reality (and truth) around them. Narrative mediation focuses on what is going on beneath the surface of the conflict. By homing in primarily on the underling structures and mutual interests, a lasting solution to the conflict is sought.
Mediation is the joint resolution of a dispute, with the assistance of a neutral, professionally competent intermediary who is used to dealing with conflicts: the mediator. Many conflicts are not helped by legal wrangling. Not only do legal proceedings consume vast amounts of time, money and energy, but a court judgment by no means guarantees a solution to the conflict.
The mediator on the other hand does not occupy an elevated position, superior to the parties. S/he does not make ‘pronouncements’ from on high, but rather supports the process of negotiation. In mediation, it is the parties to the conflict who themselves come up with the solution.
mediator Dennis Molendijk
Mediation, conflict management or coaching
During my training as a mediator, I was often asked incredulously: What’s someone with a background in the theatre doing in mediation; surely this is the natural terrain of lawyers and P&O officers? What in fact brought me there, was my intuition. What I have learned is that it is precisely my background (see ‘CEO Dennis Molendijk’) that allows me to bring a different perspective to my approach to conflicts. My experience in the management of complex group processes means I am not quickly intimidated by a conflict. However heated or complex a conflict may be, there is almost always a path towards a constructive resolution. This is what makes mediation so inspirational for me. Especially when I have interesting encounters with a hugely diverse range of ‘decision-makers’ in other branches of the ‘sport’ (i.e. not in the arts, but in commerce and government). And seeing parties take responsibility to use the conflict constructively in order to make progress together. It is this dynamic between the parties themselves that is the key to the success of a mediation. The mediator can only support this process.
Conflict management and coaching
It may sound strange, but I am frequently approached by people who are involved in a conflict that has not yet escalated sufficiently. In such cases, I see my role principally as a conflict manager or coach. It is important to make this distinction. It is crucial how not only the parties, but also the conflict manager, act and see their roles within the process.
In mediations, the conflict has usually become so serious that legal action seems inevitable, but is not desirable owing to the cost, the lengthy proceedings or – and this is often the most important consideration – because a binding decision will not adequately reflect the interests at work below the surface of the conflict. The neutrality of the mediator is an essential factor in this respect. The parties themselves determine the outcome and success of the mediation.
If you would like further information on CEO mediation and my way of working, please do not hesitate to contact me. We can then determine together whether I can be of help to you/in the conflict and if so, which approach would be most effective.