Originally published in the Barbados Advocate, January 10, 2011
“Mediation [as an alternative form of dispute resolution] is becoming more and more widely used in governments, the courts and corporations as a means of facilitating their negotiations and resolving disputes.” So says Mr. Peter Dreyer, of Stitt Feld Handy Group, the training arm of ADR Chambers, one of the largest mediation groups in Canada. Dreyer, in an interview with the Barbados Advocate, pointed out that mediation – where two or more parties would employ a third neutral party to facilitate negotiations in an attempt to reach a resolution, and without losing ownership their interests and settlement – could translate into significant savings of time, cost and stress associated with going taking the dispute to court.
The firm’s lead faciltator in the Caribbean has for the last twelve years conducted training in Barbados, Trinidad, St.Lucia and the Bahamas where he has designed and delivered numerous Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) workshops. Amoung those organisations to benefit from these intense training sessions were Banks Holdings, Caribbean Development Bank, Arawak Cement Co. Ltd and the Barbados Judiciary in Barbados, Atlantic LNG, Petrotrin and Neal and Massy Holdings in Trinidad, and various governmental ministries within the region.
Dreyer was pleased to report that over the years, more businesses within the region were investigating mediation as a worthy option in conflict management, as is evident in the rise of occurences of mediation clauses within employee and other business contracts.
Pertaining to sales negotiation techniques and collective bargaining arising in Union-Management disputes, he spoke of the need to shift from traditional adversarial approachs - where one party came out the winner, at the expense of the other party - to seeking a win-win situation that could only be achieved when both parties worked together to get their interests met. Overall, companies who used the ADR approach, according to Mr. Dreyer, were able to find different ways of handling disputes, save money and were able to develop a more effective strategy for their sales teams.
When asked what this year’s participants of the ADR workshops could look forward to, Dreyer spoke of the development (or enhancement) of a new and transferrable skill set that could be used not just at work, but also at home and within their communities. These skills would allow them handle challenging issues and emotional people, mediate disputes while preserving relationships, and negotiate their way through difficult situations. From Principled Negotiation to the art of persuasion, The workshops promise to offer a superior product and participants will be challenged to work hard to reap the gain thereof while, through it all, having an enjoyable learning experience.Peter Dreyer :: About Author :: Email