Laying Down a Gauntlet: The Thirty-Six Hour Chairman – Vol. 3 No. 1-4

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AuthorBenjamin G. Davis*

Published: December 1992

Capacity and Qualifications of Arbitrators

Description: When I was working my way through college as a door-to-door salesman on a straight commission basis, the company with which I worked would provide each salesman with inspirational literature — of course to help us increase sales. These works by experienced salesmen in numerous industries or by widely noted motivational speakers to business would present practical suggestions on how to “close the sale” and also principles by which to guide our actions. At night or on Sunday, I would read these to “recharge the engines” for the next day or next week of tough sales calls.

Of all those books, there was one that came to mind when I was honored by the opportunity to prepare this article in honor of Professor Hans Smit. It was a very small, little pamphlet — a maximum of six pages — entitled The Common Denominator of Success. The name of the author escapes me, but, as I remember, he was a very successful life insurance salesman and the pamphlet had been originally written in the 1950’s — ancient history for a college student in the 1970’s.

In his pamphlet, the author stated that the common denominator of success was that “successful people made a habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do.” He also stated that “the things that failures don’t like to do, are those things that all of us do not like to do.” Making a habit of doing the things that one does not like to do, according to the author, would lead one to success.

Measuring success of an arbitrator in international arbitration implies a prior determination of what success means. Having seen Professor Smit in action, as well as hundreds of other Chairmen or Sole Arbitrators of diverse nationalities, in the tough arena of international arbitration under the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) Rules, I have been nagged by the question as to what makes certain individuals “successful” Chairmen regardless of who is measuring and what standard they wish to apply.

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*Counsel, Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed are those of the author and in no manner bind the International Court of Arbitration or the International Chamber of Commerce.