When I was consulting in corporate finance and preparing the consolidated financial reports for international companies, I had a practice, at the end of each month I conducted what is called, "The Scrub".
After I had collected all of the financial statements from the world wide locations, sent back questions to the various financial controllers, waited for adjustments, I would then pre-finalize and consolidate the financial reports. Before it went out to management, I would bring in the CFO, Cost Accountant, corporate controller, financial analyst, and we would scrub. Which meant, we went line by line down the financial report. We asked questions, marked up the reports, identifying accruals, and looking at issues and risk. We scrubbed the numbers and the message to put with the numbers.
To this day I still scrub the numbers and documents presented to me in mediation. I scrub the intake forms and their opening statements, the documents provided me to review, and then I form my questions. The better the questions the better the end result for mediation.
The only issue that gets in the way are human emotions. In my re-interview of the parties, I have seen tears, frustration, and great paid. These people have been hurt. If I have scrubbed well, I can have questions directed at the core issues that need to be resolved. Guidance is much easier. Emotions are temporarily put to the side for a short time to reach an agreement. The better prepared you are as the mediator, those in mediation feel they can trust you and feel more relaxed.
When we get to a written agreement I and the parties scrub the agreement one last time together. Based on my experience, I will continue to use the scrub method, because it works for me.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.