Seizing the Moment is the theme of the 5th Civil Mediation Council Conference which takes place next week in Manchester. It really is an appropriate title for a profession which seems to be always ‘just about at tipping point’. The argument endures that it has to happen sometime. Why not now?
Much as I like the title, I think the conference is as much about ‘making the moment’.
Mediators live in an enduring tension of competition and cooperation, patience and momentum, generosity to others and looking after self. We haven’t quite decided if we can really commit to a new way of working or if the prevailing culture is just too much for us to resist in small numbers. We would like to engage with new business models, do something different and build strong businesses so that mediation grows in habitual use and gives us the kind of certainty we all need. We are human after all!
Something gets in the way.
We look at the government to give us a ‘leg up’: they look back at the profession to lead the way because they want to cut costs.
We sign up to endless panels in a scatter-gun approach not realizing that the more panels we are on, the clearer it is we do not have the work and therefore the less attractive we are to the paying parties. They prefer the busy mediators so the busy mediators get busier.
We look to membership bodies and argue till the cows come home that they should be doing something to get us work else why do we pay our membership fees? The membership bodies look back at us to provide skills, time and expertise pro bono, ‘to make our contribution to the profession’.
If we all decided to face the same direction, I guess we would make more progress and feel good about the power of many to achieve something for the good of all.
I hope participants of the CMC conference come brimming with ideas and willingness to commit. If they do, we might very well see a significant change in 2011 and that tipping point might just be a reality.
It’s not too late to join in. And if you can’t make it to the conference, then you can join the discussions via the new LinkedIn Group CMC Continuing Conference. I will be tweeting throughout the day. www.twitter.com/AmandaBucklow.