(Adapted from the original story by Mary Parker Follett)
Many of us have heard of The Story of the Orange. It is often used as an example for lessons on integrative negotiations but allow us to use the same story to further illustrate Values-based Mediation.
There was once a mother who ran an orange farm with her two grown daughters. This year, sales of fresh oranges seem to have declined. Wanting to help their mother and not burden the other, each daughter set off to secretly establish their respective business ventures. The first daughter negotiated with a grocery chain to supply bottled fresh orange juice. The venture was so large that she will be able to buy out her mother’s entire juice supply. The second daughter created a line of cosmetics products like soaps, shampoos, lotions and more that are enriched with orange rind. She introduced a few batches online and it sold like hotcake! Demand was so high that a large cosmetic firm offered to partner with her to mass produce the products. She was so excited to tell her family the news that she will begin to buy all of their mother’s orange supply now and for the years to come. However, instead of excitement, the first sister got mad at her and said that she already had orders for their mother’s oranges. The argument heightened with accusations of mother favoring one daughter over another, of stealing ideas, of being a bad sister and so on. The sisters stormed out of the house never wanting to speak to the other ever again!
The mother, being the wonderful entrepreneur and mediator that she is, spoke privately to each daughter to listen and understand more about the ventures they initiated. It was heartwarming for her to hear that, underneath different business plans, both her daughters only had one thing in mind – to help solve her problem with the orange farm. Being trained in Values-based Mediation, she used this value of Love as a unifying factor for the sisters. She invited both daughters to her home and said, “You each went out to find a solution to my problem because you both love me. We can all agree with that. I am sure that if we use this as foundation to finding a solution that addresses all your needs, we can come up with the right one.” The sisters realized that they had the same goal but did things separately and differently. With this acceptance, they began to propose solutions to the problem. It was at this time they realized that the first sister needed the juice while the second sister will only use the rind. As such, a plan was forged! Both sisters got all of the supply they needed while solving their mother’s problem with the orange farm.
The story could have ended there but the spirit behind Values-based Mediation is to maximize gains for everyone involved on a long-term basis by harnessing strong, positive relationships. A week later, the sisters wondered what their mother’s plans were with the farm. They were considering that she might want to retire to travel the world or pursue other passions after working tirelessly for decades to support them. The mother, no longer playing the role of mediator, said that she dreamed of expanding the business to create an orange-picking farm that is open to the public. Down by the gate, she planned to open a small retail store selling her award-winning jams and pies, as well as offer fresh, organic produce supplied by farmers nearby. Excited with this revelation, the first sister shared her dream of opening a bakeshop while the second sister talked about her plans to expand her line of all-natural bath and body products. Thus, the new family business venture – Orange You Glad Shop – was born!
The three women created a deeper connection enabling them to have more meaningful conversations where they share dreams, innermost thoughts, emotions, issues and a whole lot more. That is how far you can go when you go deep into values.
(This story was written by Mia Corpus for a lesson on Values-based Mediation)