Greek mythology includes some novel solutions, with marvelous lessons. Procrustes might make some of us stop and think about the problems with one-size-fits-all methods. One definition of Procrustean given by Merriam-Webster is "marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances." I don't know anyone who would like to have his method of client service described as Procrustean and yet I think Procrustes lives in some mediators, lawyers, physicians, and other professionals. Have you met Procrustes?
Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes in his The Bed of Procrustes:
[W]e humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on the occasion, has explosive consequences. Further, we seem unaware of this backward fitting, much like tailors who take great pride in delivering the perfectly fitting suit—but do so by surgically altering the limbs of their customers.
To act as a Procrustean practitioner or professional usually would not be an effective method of client service. Would you want to hire a Procrustean lawyer, mediator, physician, therapist, engineer, minister, or accountant? I have met many but would not want to work with any.
Fortunately there are many methods to counteract being a Procrustean practitioner, including being very aware or certain kinds of mindful. In this post I will begin to introduce a method that will help you to adapt your methods of service to each client. This particular method or lens can accommodate the differences in clients listed below (and many more differences, too). This list will be specific to mediators or lawyers but with slight modification in wording can apply to all professions.
This method helps professionals to assess and adapt to these differences in clients: