The key to an effective mediation is to bring a level of objective observation of the disputing circumstances and offer a process to the facilitation of a resolution.  A good example of this can be found in the movie, Zero Effect, a film made in 1998 starring Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero with Ben Stiller as his assistant Steve Arlo.  Zero is a private investigator who solves cases without ever meeting his clients, while Arlo does the investigative work of gathering the data and evidence for Zero’s analysis.  Zero describes this method as the “Two Obs,” (the use of observation and objectivity to find solution in each case)and can be seen in the following clip: The Two OBS in Zero Effect.

Further insight of this method can be seen in the following descriptions of their jobs from the film’s script:

Steve Arlo: “It’s an uncompromising standard of his practice. He never meets any of his clients. He doesn’t speak with them, or, for that matter, communicate in any direct fashion. That’s his policy. But I am his sole representative and he is my only employer; and as such, I have full authorization to speak on his behalf on all his matters of business. I have with me a signed letter to that effect. He doesn’t negotiate his fee. He works at a flat rate. Under some unusual circumstances, he’ll work pro bono – never in between.”

Daryl Zero: “I can’t possibly overstate the importance of good research. Everyone goes through life dropping crumbs. If you can recognize the crumbs, you can trace a path all the way back from your death certificate to the dinner and a movie that resulted in you in the first place. But research is an art, not a science, because anyone who knows what they’re doing can find the crumbs, the wheres, whats, and whos. The art is in the whys: the ability to read between the crumbs, not to mix metaphors. For every event, there is a cause and effect. For every crime, a motive. And for every motive, a passion. The art of research is the ability to look at the details, and see the passion.”

“Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.”

“I always say that the essence of my work relies fundamentally on two basic principles: objectivity and observation, or “the two obs” as I call them. My work relies on my ability to remain absolutely, purely objective, detached. I have mastered the fine art of detachment. And while it comes at some cost, this supreme objectivity is what makes me, I dare say, the greatest observer the world has ever known.”