In Glengarry Glen Ross, the mantra employed by Richard Gere to the knife salesmen was simple: “ABC: Always Be Closing”. Last week, I closed a 7 day administrative hearing arising out of the discharge of a County employee for alleged sexual harassment and also successfully mediated a case which was the 4th of 4 cases against the same employer arising out of claims of retaliatory termination based upon whistleblowing in a highly regulated industry. It struck me that the reason for the success may have been more strategy and process than outcome. Because I began the mediation knowing that the other three cases were heading to trial because their prior mediation had failed, I set into motion the process of closing before articulating the opening offers and demands. This proved to be an effective way not to break an impasse, but to avoid one. In the administrative hearing, by contrast, I became acutely aware that both parties were eager to get to a decision so that each could move on with their business with some certainty.
Once again, I’ve had a busy week, and I am so grateful to have “closed” the week with the celebration of the Sabbath–a time for renewal and reflection with my extended family (some pictured here). Today, I am reflecting upon the ultimate “closing” of a protracted litigation or negotiation as well as the personal closing of a difficult week. I wonder if we start the week by imagining how we are going to close it, whether our efforts throughout the week will be more purposeful? At least in negotiation and mediation, that strategy works for me. And now I shall enjoy the rest and restorative possibilities of the weekend.