Case Studies

We have lots of experience in resolving conflicts and optimising teams and key people:

  • Mediation cases number well into three figures.
  • Coaching hours number into several thousand.

These simplified conflict resolution case studies show the use of mediation, facilitation, coaching and mentoring, separately or blended as each case required.  They are described in a way that masks identification of the individuals and companies involved although the essentials of each case remain correct.

Coaching and psychometric interventions to optimise key people (which are unrelated to conflict situations) are not on this page.  They are primarily covered in the testimonials in the right side-bars of the web pages - also refer to many public testimonials on LinkedIn.


Senior management cases

Public Sector Change Management Support for CEO – over a period of years, Julian supported this CEO in a wide range of matters, discussing through issues, options and implications, challenging assumptions and approaches and considering creative solutions.  Matters covered included total corporate organisational restructure, the future of particular divisions, future management arrangements, making savings and where the axe might fall, and introduction of a leadership development programme to arrest some poor management cultures and raise performance.  The most significant period of time was when the CEO needed to introduce major structural changes to pay and benefits across the organisation.  This caused a stir and much shuttle diplomacy, negotiation and mediation was undertaken between the staff, union executive and management in a highly charged atmosphere.  Support was provided to get the package as ‘right’ as possible so it would stand the best chance of being approved by the Personnel Board and enable a smoother passage through a series of big staff consultation/information-giving exercises.  This was a success.

Finance Director & Deputy CEO Bust-up - this case occurred a large company and the personal working relationship the two parties had become dysfunctional and affected the efficient working of the firm in the critical areas of responsibility which they both had, exacerbated due to a significant company-wide change programme which was underway.  After interviewing each person to find out their story, Julian held a series of mediated sessions over several weeks (due to their busy diary commitments) to tackle the long list of complaints and issues they had with each other.  This culminated in a new working protocol and follow-on executive coaching, with psychometric assessments, to help them understand and modify their behaviours which drove the problems in the first place.  This sufficiently concentrated their minds and resulted in a sustainable outcome for them both and for the organisation.

Management Team Development in a Small Business - this business was a small professional services company and the partners of the business, plus the practice manager, wanted to improve the way they operated as a team, although they had no particular problems.  Julian initially listened to their story and asked questions to understand how they operated and then asked them to complete a few on-line psychometric assessments.  After analysis of what they had said and what the assessments revealed, he had a single long session with them all together, to go through the results, highlighting areas for further development, which they were pleased to know about.  They said that this exercise helped explain things to them and helped to further cement their already positive working relationship.

 

Team cases

Improving Team Productivity – one of the teams which the head of a business unit was responsible for (an important customer-facing team) developed some problems due to a few staff not being particularly well suited to their role which then led to poor working practices, dysfunctional relationships between staff and management, poor morale and heightened sickness absence.  Over a period of several months, Julian worked with the head of function, coaching her on the issues of greatest concern, her own management style, and covering options for resolution from her perspective.  During this time, he also facilitated discussion within the team to get a better understanding of the issues and mediated a way forward.  The necessary changes were implemented – roles, practices and attitudes – and productivity gains resulted.

Changing Toxic Team Culture - Julian was called in to help resolve the broken down relationships within a team of twelve supervisors/managers causing real dysfunction among them and filtering down to their staff – nothing was quite ‘provable’ enough for official action to be taken.  Over a period of several months, on and off, the toxic culture was shifted through informal interviews, whole-team facilitation, personality preference work, staggered mediations and individual coaching to draw all this together.  Senior managers were also coached over continuing to manage the transition to a more healthy working culture.

Low-Level Festering Problems in a Team - one of the key staff teams in an organisation had this type of lingering interpersonal issue which dampened team spirit and effectiveness to an unacceptable degree.  Julian was asked by the CEO to come in to facilitate resolution of the problems.  In the days before he came, he liaised with the team leader to establish basic personality preference profiles for each of the five team members together with other key information, to give him a context to the discussions.  In the half-day meeting, Julian firstly explained the structured process he planned to use to guide the discussion in a solution-focussed way rather than dwelling too much on the problems.  The issues were established and talked through, always moving towards the approach of ‘What shall we do differently to avoid this happening again?’  This all led to the team coming up with a short written agreement of actions and behaviours which each signed up to.  In the following few weeks there was a slight ‘blip’, but the team leader was able to restore the situation utilising the techniques used on the day and the agreement to back that up.  The CEO emailed Julian a couple of months later and noted that things were much better in the team.

 


During a period of major workplace change at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Julian's skills in mediation focused attention on everyone's genuine needs, delivering overwhelming buy-in from all quarters. Outstanding work. (This is a public comment on LinkedIn).

Alexander Green, elected Executive Cabinet Member at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council at the time.






We have used Julian's services on a couple of occasions in complex circumstances. He was able to expertly provide working solutions which ensured improved relations and more effective operation. (This is a public comment on LinkedIn).

Nigel Pearce, HR Director at the PCS Union (at the time of the comment).







I instructed Julian to act as mediator in a particularly sensitive employment dispute. I found Julian to be extremely knowledgeable and experienced and both my client and the opposite party were extremely complimentary of Julian following the mediation. He was viewed as highly professional but personable, and someone who was able to work with the parties to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome, even where this involved thinking 'outside the box'. These qualities lend themselves very well to someone in his role. I would certainly use Julian again. (This is a public comment on LinkedIn).

Tanushree Sehmbi, Solicitor at Clarkslegal LLP.