Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I, as many of you, have been caught up in the recent excitement of the Toronto Raptors’ finals and ultimate winning of the NBA championship! For one week all of Canada was united in our pride and joy of our Raptors’ win. Of all online discussions of our team’s route to this fabulous win, a simple event – a text from Kawhi to Kyle – resonated with me. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star wrote a wonderful essay on this on Saturday, June 15th (press the link – headline – below), with the headline:
Mr. Smith quotes Kawhi Leonard as stating:
“I texted Kyle probably a day later – or the day that I got traded – and told him. I said: Let’s go out and do something special. I know your best friend left, I know you’re mad, but let’s make this thing work out.”
Kawhi’s simple text, along with both players’ common objective of “striving for excellence,” paved the way for a strong friendship between the two men, and as well in my view, for the ultimate win by the Raptors. By Kawhi’s text to Lowry he demonstrated – par excellence – the very best traits of an excellent mediator! These include:
- Kawhi showed huge empathy to Kyle for Kyle’s natural upset over the trade of his best friend and fantastic player DeMar DeRozan.
- He showed understanding of Kyle’s wants, needs and interests in this.
- Kawhi “framed” his text in considerate and tactful wording.
- He included in his text both men’s common objective to pursue excellence: “Let’s go out and do something special.”
- Kawhi showed respect to Lowry by his decision to send the text.
- Kawhi’s timing of his text, right at day 1 of the trade, was right on and key to the successes that followed.
Kyle Lowry, on his part, affirmed the positive effects on him of Mr. Leonard’s action:
“When he texted me it was a quick text, and just showed the type of person he is… Willing to reach out, understanding that this situation was a little bit sensitive. But he knew that he felt something could be done special with our group.”
In my view, Kawhi’s action and timing in sending this simple text, was nothing short of brilliant. It paved the way for a strong and positive connection between the two men, which in turn paved the way for a close-knit team, which in turn paved the way for the Raptors’ magnificent win on Thursday, June 13th, 2019. This, in turn, paved the way for the unification of our entire country! The phenomenal outcomes are a potent illustration of what can be accomplished in the hands of a skilled mediator.
I recommend that Kawhi’s text be used as an excellent teaching tool in Mediation courses. Also, I will use this in my Family Law Mediations as a starting point for the parties, as it demonstrates to the parties how a mediation process works and its potential – when done properly – for win-win results by both. Where the parties have children, I stress to them their common objective – their children’s best interests. I utilize this to remind the parties of why they are here and what they want to accomplish at the end of the mediation.
Kawhi Leonard showed skills that the parties themselves should also employ in the mediation. When both parties and the mediator utilize these skills, this makes for a very positive and respectful process and maximizes the chances for success.
In a recent mediation of mine, each party was considerate and respectful of the other. Each was empathetic, and put themselves in the other’s shoes. Each framed their words in considerate and tactful wording. The parties defined at the outset their common objective of reaching a result that would be fair to both and which would preserve the respect and friendship the two had. They hoped that the process would enable them to have an ongoing friendship. In the result, they reached agreement they both were satisfied with and remained continuing friends to this day.
When I act as a Mediator I employ all of the above skills. Having accomplished my Master’s of Law in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), I had the golden opportunity to reflect on and fine tune the skills necessary for a successful mediator. Kawhi Leonard’s action and its results have provided a shining example of the potential of mediation – when properly used – for optimal results.
If you or your friends are going through a martial breakdown, divorce or separation, I urge you to call me to discuss Mediation as a possible – and positive! – process for you to resolve your matter.
A FINAL NOTE: Kawhi Leonard showed quietness and reserve throughout the games. In his accomplishment here he has shown himself to be a man of few words, but the RIGHT WORDS!
Until next time!
Anne Freed holds a BA (Honours Sociology), JD (Juris Doctor, Law Degree), Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Advanced Training in Mediation, Arbitration and Collaborative Practice, Certification in Collaborative Practice
© Anne E. Freed, June, 2019