20/20 Hindsight: Lessons on conflict resolution from the home for the aging Lesson #5: Sometimes it pays to take the short view
LESSONS ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION
FROM THE HOME FOR THE AGING
SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO TAKE THE SHORT VIEW
Some of the folks in the retirement home play Mah-Jongg for money. Last December, one of my father's friends came into the dining room very excited because she had been the winner that day at the game. She had come away with $6.90. Her husband had spent the day watching CNN and had to inform her that the stock market had plunged 800 points on the same day, substantially diminishing a considerable amount of their savings in investments. Not to be deterred, she reminded him that she had cash in hand and therefore the day was a good one despite the news. That's optimism and a positive attitude.
In mediation and in life, people are asked to make hard choices between certainty and uncertainty, cash in hand or investments that may grow or diminish. People are asked to predict the future or to fold their cards and accept that day's winnings or losses, when presented with the option of digging further into a hole or "chasing losses", as they say in the gambling community. Whether it's $6.00 or $60,000 or $6 million, the specter of "cash in hand" can be the wisest choice when the WATNA (worst alternative to a negotiated agreement) bears uncertainty as to the ultimate damages awarded, costs to attain those amounts (including lost opportunities in alternative uses of funds, energy, time, etc.) and the likely timing and collectibility of an award. Life is unpredictable, but a winning set of tiles at Mah-Jongg can offer great rewards!
P.S. I'm honored to be delivering a Keynote address at this year's SCMA Employment Mediation Institute. The Conference, "Echoes of the Roar: How #MeToo continues to impact Employment Mediation" will be held on May 18, 2019 at USC. My Keynote is called: "Beyond Leaning In: New Roles for Mediators in the era of #MeToo". I promise to provoke a little introspection as we see more and more of these type of cases being mediated. You can register for the Conference here: SCMA Employment Conference.