Higher Education Case Study
By David Hallett, JD
Executive Dean, General Education
Chemeketa Community College
It’s been a pleasure working with you and In-Accord. As an executive administrator at a large organization, I have the opportunity to work directly with all of our employee groups and various divisions. I was first drawn to In-Accord when I had the chance to see you present at a mediation training years ago. I was struck by your kind demeanor and how well you seemed to work with others. Recently, in one of the divisions I work closely with, there was an interpersonal conflict involving several professionals that I tried to work through. Our in-house attempts were not successful (mainly because it’s so difficult to be truly neutral in such situations), and the problems escalated to the point where no real communication was occurring between the folks involved. Thankfully, when I called In-Accord, you walked me through what the process would be like and helped me to clearly understand what to expect. I knew it was imperative to get some movement from the parties involved because important work was simply not getting done, the result of stalled communication and growing animosity.
In our initial phone conversation, you sought to gather important background information about the conflict and obtained contact information for the folks who would be involved. You asked detailed questions and shared your ethical guidelines and how you would approach the situation. In all of this, you worked within my schedule, and I never felt rushed or uncertain about the process. Following these conversations, with me, you established contact with the parties and held your initial meeting with them. Following a series of facilitated dialogue sessions, you helped these employees come to a place of mutual agreement and understanding about how best to work together in a respectful, safe environment. You also helped clarify expectations in relation to their roles within the organization. I believe it was through the mediation process you facilitated that these individuals regained a sense of trust and a deeper understanding of the roadblocks that had previously prevented them from working together effectively. They also developed a sense of appreciation for the challenges that the other person faces in their unique role.
Recently, I received communication from the employees that each one of them felt that they were in a better place as a result of the mediation process. A supervisor remarked that he felt a greater sense of awareness about workplace relationships that transcended the particular conflict you helped resolved and allowed him to be a more effective supervisor overall. Another party expressed gratitude for the opportunity and great relief that he felt could now “get back to the meaningful work” he so loves to do because the interpersonal conflicts do not get in the way. Each of them expressed that they felt equipped to effectively problem-solve their way through future conflicts if they should arise. My own observation is that both parties have grown tremendously as a result of working with you, and I know that I’m having to spend much less time negotiating resolutions between them. To me, it seems like a real win-win for all of us! Thank you again for all of your great work!
With deep appreciation and respect,