Workplace Facilitation and Mediation

rowing

Suzanne specializes in two kinds of organizations:

 

The Federal Government Workplace

Federal agencies have a wealth of smart, capable people who work together well… usually. But problems can arise, due to many factors:

  • The complexity of the bureaucracy and the existence of multiple units with related or overlapping mandates
  • Numerous and sometimes conflicting laws, regulations, and policies governing one’s work
  • The need to coordinate with so many people and cooperate across “silos”
  • The occasional difficult person, and adaptive but ultimately dysfunctional practices that arise to work around such individuals
  • The loss of institutional memory when a new administration and new political appointees arrive
  • Public scrutiny and media-driven crises

Unresolved conflict saps energy, kills morale, and leads to cynical attitudes or counting days to retirement. Suzanne can assess what’s happening and facilitate dialogue and decision making to solve the problems, set up collaboration mechanisms, improve working relationships, and help all involved work together productively. She has facilitated leadership retreats, led problem-solving sessions, and mediated differences between supervisors and employees as well as between units that have to collaborate closely.

The High-Autonomy Workplace

What do the following have in common?

  • Medical practices
  • Academic departments
  • Law firms
  • Consulting firms

These organizations are relatively flat: they feature partners, experts, or high-level professionals who are authorities in their own right. Many will claim they just want to practice their profession and stay out of management, but in reality, if they are not happy with a decision, they can stand in the way.

Some people think that being a leader or manager in this context is easier. “I don’t need supervision!” says the professor, physician, attorney, or consultant—and in the classic sense of supervision, that is true. But leadership here is actually harder: the leader has to get these outwardly-oriented colleagues to focus on internal issues for a moment, head off any egocentric competition and infighting, and build consensus and cohesion so that the group can move forward in a unified direction.

Suzanne can help reduce emotional tensions, identify and frame the issues, improve working relationships, facilitate the negotiations or consultations that lead to good decisions, and get group members focused on the best outcomes for the organization as a whole and for the populations it serves.