You may want to consider using third party help to break a deadlock if:
- Emotions are running high with a lot of frustration and anger.
- Communication has broken down or the participants are talking “pas” each other.
- Behavior at the negotiation table is negative.
- The parties cannot even agree on what it is that needs to be discussed.
- The parties cannot agree on an agenda, what is needed or required.
- Both sides view their differences as irreconcilable.
- The parties have different beliefs as to what is right or fair.
- There is an impasse beyond which there is no forward path upon which the parties can agree.
There are definite advantages to calling in a third party:
- People can “cool off.” Once cooled, they may be able to describe their differences to the third party.
- The third party can help the parties communicate, be clear, and listen
- The parties can use the time to mend the relationship.
- The third party can help them prioritize what is important.
- A schedule for resolving the conflict can be agreed upon and followed.
- The costs of a spiraling out of control dispute can be mitigated.
- The third party can be a model for the parties to emulate going forward so as to avoid further third party expenses.
- A solution might be reached.
But, there can be disadvantages also:
- The parties may lose face and view calling in a third party as an admission of their own failings.
- There is a loss of control.
- There may be reluctance to accept less than 100% of their preferred outcome.
Still, getting a third party mediator in to assist is better than arbitration or litigation. More on that next month.