As this month marks the 10th anniversary of starting Mediation4 I was about to begin drafting a blog reflecting on the past 10 years when I spotted a similar blog by Alison Love of Resolution at Work. Alison is also celebrating 10 years in business so I thought I’d start by looking at where our experiences align and where they differ.
Like Alison I left a well paid corporate role to set myself up. It was clearly a risk, and looking back I titled my first blog ‘Don’t give up the day job’ which is one of the pieces of advice I received at the time! But it was a calculated risk and similar to Alison I have absolutely no regrets. I can choose the work I do and manage my time to suit myself. It is so rewarding to know that you have helped people suffering the pain and stress of workplace conflict move forward and have a better relationship. At the same time I’ve had more opportunity than I did with my corporate job to see my children grow up and support them through school, university and into the world of work.
Whilst Alison has chosen to grow her business, joining up with another and working with a team of associates offering a range of services, I made the decision to focus mostly on workplace mediation. It has been challenging and I would say I now have the workload I hoped to have after 5 years. It is a tough market, with many suppliers and limited demand. The interest and use of workplace mediation has grown over the 10 years but not as much as I believe it should have done. There remains a dogged insistence on using harmful grievance processes for relationship conflicts when mediation is a far more effective and less painful resolution option.
Ten years ago I would never have imagined writing a book. Not only have I written one (again similar to Alison) but I’ve co-authored 3 others and am halfway through writing my next. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the reaction, in particular to ‘DIY Mediation. The Conflict Resolution Toolkit for HR’. I know from the feedback received that it has helped spread the word on mediation amongst the HR community and that can only be a good thing.
The most enjoyable aspect of the past 10 years has been the people I have met along the way. Although challenging sometimes for an introvert, it has been wonderful to meet such an interesting and diverse range of people. Whether they are clients, mediation participants, training attendees or the many contacts I have made at events etc. they have all contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the past decade.
So what will the next 10 years bring? I’ll still promote the benefits of workplace mediation, and my fervent hope is that it will become more accepted as the default for resolving workplace conflict. We now have greater flexibility as the pandemic has proven that online mediation can be just as effective as face to face, thereby removing geographical barriers. So the potential remains enormous and I look forward to playing my part in helping realise that potential.
Alison concluded her reflection by looking at her changing hairstyle over the years. I can’t do the same as I had very little hair 10 years ago and probably even less now! But whilst that hasn’t changed, much else has and whilst there have been the inevitable ups and downs, I look back with great satisfaction and pride on what has been achieved and look to the future with positivity.