Review of Conflict Clarity and working with Sharon:
At our organisation, we were having disputes between two departments. This led to an increase in absenteeism and a decrease in productivity. Staff morale was low and aggression was just under the surface. As the GM, I spoke with the Team Leader in the HR Dept, and I’m ashamed to say (more or less ordered) them to sort it out. The Team Leader in H.R. had completed a Certificate in Mediation with Griffith College. They introduced me to the concept of neutrality and impartiality. As an employee of the same company, they would not be seen as neutral by the Departments involved. They recommended a practicing mediator who lectures in mediation. I met with Sharon Morrissey founder of Conflict Clarity. Her first question was if the Departments had been consulted about the potential of a mediation session. This was agreed upon with the Departments.
Voluntary, Neutral, and Impartial.
Sharon said she did not want to pre-judge any issue and would speak to the departments directly. The mediation was arranged for the following day, to begin at 09.30 am. Sharon arrived early, met everyone, and introduced herself individually to every person attending the meeting. Initially, she gave a brief overview of what mediation was, how it worked, and that she was simply there to facilitate discussions and ask tough questions. She exudes empathy and humor, which immediately puts the Departments at ease. As I observed, I noted that she was noting those who were actively taking part in discussions and those who were not. Before the first break, she requested to meet the people who had not taken part in the discussion, privately Department. She thoroughly ensured everyone was there voluntarily and that space was allowed for talking and thinking.
After the first break, all the issues from the morning session were identified. The group decided what was discussed first. Every issue was dissected into small manageable pieces. Options were generated from both of the departments involved. At times, Sharon broke the groups into smaller groups to clarify concerns.
Continuously, the reasons were explained, and everyone was clear about the process. Sharon did ask difficult questions but in a gentle non-threatening way. People wanted to give their ideas and suggestions.
Draft Agreement and Trial:
At 4 pm, the basis of a Draft Agreement had been formed. The essence being (Brenee Browns, “Being Clear is Kind”) Strategies were discussed and implemented for positive and clear communication skills, asking for clarification when uncertain, and not taking anything personally. The group decided to trial this agreement for four weeks, and which time Sharon would come back, support a review, and should they wish to sign the Agreement to form a binding agreement or decide it to be a non-binding agreement at that stage.
One of the strategies put in place around the openness of conversation, and to pre-empt any issues before they become issues, is to have Sharon and Conflict Clarity in one day per quarter for an open door-confidential appointment session. The staff appears to be very happy about this. Sharon has a collaborative way around conflict, she questions everything and gives everyone time. This is a great skill. I can wholeheartedly say there has been a significant improvement in our organisation since the arrival of Conflict Clarity, Absenteeism has ceased and the morale in each Department is significantly warmer.
Conflict Clarity has made a significant difference to us in the organisation,
JOF. General Manager