Mediation – Steve Wozniak’s words of wisdom to Steve Jobs

Eye representing focus on mediation

This case highlights the importance of mediation and one of the reasons for engaging the services of an independent workplace mediator.

Steve Wozniak understood that issues for debate and confrontations are not black and white and sometimes we need to look at things differently. In an article  written by mediator, Jan Schau, she refers to the movie “Steve Jobs” and how, after a tough confrontation between both Steves, Wozniak states to Jobs: “It’s not binary”.

Relevance to workplace mediation

In workplaces, managers and HR can become ‘too close’ to the disputes between workers.

A typical sign this has happened is when those who might be considered suitable to help resolve the situation can only see the incidents as ‘black or white.’ This leads them to assume that one party is right and the other is wrong. Such views, on the resolution of disputes, are binary in nature. The parties in dispute see the outcomes as binary – that is why they are in dispute. When those who might be responsible for facilitating resolution also start to view the possible outcomes in binary terms, then full and satisfactory resolution has little success of being achieved.

Achieving satisfying mediation outcomes

The best resolution outcomes are achieved when the mediation facilitator has an open mind and uses this to encourage expansive conversations. A skilled workplace mediator will help parties to move beyond  their binary vision to be able to see other possible options. This is called ‘expanding the pie’ – helping to create more value for the distribution of mutually satisfying outcomes than either party on their own could have envisaged.

So next time you hear a manager or yourself expressing binary views on a dispute, you know it’s time to bring in an external skilled mediator.

At Workplace Conflict Resolution, we use only highly skilled Nationally Accredited Mediators.

Go here for more information about our team.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.