4 Tutorials that teach Creating Effective Agreements
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Creating Effective Agreements

Creating Effective Agreements

Author: Marlene Johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand how to select and assemble options to create an effective solution to a conflict

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Video Transcription

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Once parties have evaluated and prioritized their options, in other words, they've looked at the options they've generated, decided on the ones that they like, decided on the ones that are feasible, actually possible, it's time to put it into writing. I'm Marlene, and I'd like to talk with you today about something called the written agreement.

Now, the written agreement here is a mediated agreement that basically puts into writing what each party has agreed to do, the actions they've agreed to take. We want to formally write this up. And then each party gets a copy. They leave with a copy. So why is it so important to do this?

Well, first of all it's a final check in with each party. Does this work? You're now putting into writing what you said you would do. And there's something about taking what has been spoken and actually putting it into writing that really helps clarify. So parties can see whether or not this is exactly what they want or don't want.

And sometimes they may change their mind. They may say I don't want to word it that way. That's not exactly what I mean. And just the choice of wording really helps them clarify what it is that they want for sure to be included in this agreement and what they don't want included in the agreement.

Now, I know from having done these mediated agreements with parties it's very important to let them use their own language. Words mean different things to different people. So the parties need to tell you what words they want to use in this agreement. Now, as the mediator or as the intervener, you may write something down. But then it's very important to check it with them.

So based on what I've heard, this is what you've agreed to do. Party A will agree to do this, party B will agree to do that. Is that correct? Does that state it correctly? And they'll tell you if it doesn't. Or they'll say, well, what I really want to say is-- and then you become the editor. You change the words, because this is their document. This is their agreement. And it really clarifies what is included and what is not.

Now, we want to go for a balanced solution. But I want to clarify what we mean by balanced solution. When we think of balance, we think everybody has equal. OK, A is going to do five things. Well, then, B has to do five things. But that's not what a balanced solution in mediation is all about. For a solution to be balanced it's simply all the parties in their perspective have to view it as having satisfied their needs.

So if party A comes in and has four needs that are really important, I mean, they are prioritized as top needs, we have to meet those four needs . But party B may only have two needs. There's two things that really have to happen to make party B happy. We have to satisfy those two things. So in this case, if we satisfy two things for B and four things for A, we have a balanced solution.

So the written agreement is the final step here. And it's the place where we take it and put it into writing. We draft a formal solution. And each party can walk away with a copy of what they have drafted. You here as the intervener are just the editor. You may be writing this down. But your job is to constantly check in with each party, make sure you're getting it right, you're using language that makes sense to them, and that they are happy with what is written in that final agreement. So thank you for joining me, and I look forward to next time.

  • Balanced Solution

    A solution to a conflict in which all parties feel that their needs have been satisfied.

  • Written Agreement

    A mediated agreement in which each party’s actions to be taken are formally written and clarified in a document given to each party.