The conflict was amongst ‘Professional Partners’ in an organisation that had recently undergone expansion and considerable change.
I was approached as a mediator by one of the senior partners who expressed that the Partnership was completely ‘stuck’ and could not see a way forward; a complete breakdown of relationships was putting considerable strain on the service that the organisation provided to its clients, as well as having a significant negative impact on the health & wellbeing of several of those involved.
The trigger for the escalation of the conflict was a staff change that brought to light a perceived performance & conduct issue, resulting in an internal investigation. There were very different perspectives on the seriousness of this issue, why it had arisen, and the way in which it was handled. The parties had become entrenched in their positions around this.
Some of the partners had a long history of personal friendship as well as many years working together in a tough and demanding environment. Early exploratory conversations were characterised by:
A strong fear of meeting the other parties and raising interpersonal issues that had, in some cases, existed ‘under the surface’ for many years
A lack of hope about any positive outcomes.
Sadness about the situation and the loss of relationships that were highly valued in the past.
Concern about the reputational risk
A full mediation was carried out resulting in the agreed departure of one of the partners and changes to the way in which partners support and challenge one another.