When discussing my book Seven Essentials for Business Success: Lessons from Legendary Professors last year during a Great Reads Book Club session, I mentioned that great mediators employ the same skill set as the legendary professors profiled in the book. One of these skills is the ability to keep disputing parties (in a mediation) or students (in a classroom) focused on the big picture.
A wonderful tool for achieving a big-picture focus in a mediation is the Life Goals Analysis developed by John Wade. I first learned about this analysis several years ago when John and I gave presentations at an ABA annual meeting, and I incorporate it into my negotiation courses at the University of Michigan and Coursera. During the Great Reads session I learned that host Claire Fowler, Executive Vice President of Mediate.com, shares my admiration for John and his career as both an outstanding teacher and mediator.
In an article published in the Bond Law Review, John defines a Life Goals Analysis as “a short (preferably one page) written list of a person’s short and long term business, health, financial and emotional goals.” His article describes an eight-step process that mediators can use in private sessions to help disputing parties develop a list of life goals, consider how offers currently on the table relate to the life goals on the list, consider the results, and decide on next steps.
The article includes a list of life goals that are common in family property disputes. Here are examples:
To observe John’s teaching skills and learn more about how to develop a Life Goals Analysis, I recommend this video (starting at minute 50). In the video he discusses the sad consequences when only one of the parties completed the analysis in a divorce proceeding.
Beyond its use as a mediation tool, the Life Goals Analysis can serve broader purposes. As noted in my recent article “A Negotiation Planning Checklist and Other Negotiation Tools” in the American Bar Association’s Business Law Today, the tool should be considered “whenever you face any important decision in life.”
This is an interview by Dr. Clare Fowler, current Mediate.com Managing Editor, with John Ford, the first Mediate.com Managing Editor and a well-known HR and workplace mediation specialist. John Ford...By John Ford