Story of the Orange: The Values-based Approach

Many of us have heard of the Story of the Orange. It is a clear example for 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 and more. The second daughter created a line of cosmetics products that included soaps, shampoos and lotions 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 happiness, 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 and of being a bad sister. 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 with each daughter to listen and understand 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 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! The sister’s managed to get the supply they needed while solving their mother’s problem with the orange farm.

The story could have ended here but the spirit behind Values-based Mediation is to maximize gains for everyone involved on a long-term basis by harnessing strong, positive relationships. The sisters asked their mother what her plans were with the farm. At her age, she might consider retirement to travel the world. She might have dreams of a larger farm and working until she physically can. 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. 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 You 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.

An adaptation of the original story by Mary Parker Follett. This story was written by Mia Corpus for a lesson on Values-based Mediation.  For more information about the mediation training programs of The CoRe Group, email us at info@coregroup.org.ph.  The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation is the leading mediation training provider in the Philippines with the largest track record.

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