Like many conflict resolution or ADR professionals who start as a mediator, it doesn’t take long before a mediator doing workplace cases in one organization begins to wonder about the organization’s culture, communication, or leadership skills. “If only the organization had better practices, the mediation (or coaching or training or group facilitation) wouldn’t be needed”, many have thought. When working within an organization, the conflict resolution professional may begin to see issues or trends across departments that may suggest systemic issues. Now what? Explore the opportunities and challenges to communicate organizational issues to senior leadership by considering: When is an issue systemic? How is it assessed? How is it communicated? What next? Who is responsible? Consider these issues from the perspectives of an internal conflict resolution consultant at a company and an organizational ombuds at an educational institution and academic medical center.
Rita Callahan has been a conflict resolution professional for 20 years offering services including mediation, facilitation, training, conflict coaching, consulting and ombudsing. She was an independent Conflict Resolution and Collaboration Consultant for 13 years, spent 6 years in the Conflict Resolution group at the New York City utility, and is now in the Ombuds Office at the University of California Davis. Rita has been active in the Association for Conflict Resolution at state and national levels and she has been a speaker at the Association for Conflict Resolution, the American Bar Association – Dispute Resolution Section, and the International Association of Facilitators annual conferences.
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