Iron Scaffold

Skills Training

Your employees are skilled at what they do. Conflict management and negotiation skills are like force multipliers. They increase employee engagement and improve morale and productivity. They contribute to creativity and pride in the workplace. They control costs by reducing the losses associated with workplace conflict and less than optimal negotiation outcomes. In short, the right skills training translates directly to better workplace culture and a healthier bottom line. 


In a perfect world, employees would resolve their differences directly, early and well. With solid skills training, that's what usually happens. Sometimes, though, disputes escalate and get complicated and difficult to unravel. HR issues, supervisor-subordinate differences, performance, team conflicts, and harassment complaints are just a few areas where things can go wrong, potentially resulting in lawsuits, harm to corporate reputations, loss of good employees, or, at the least, damage to trust, morale and organizational culture. Many organizations rely on formal complaints and grievance processes to handle these problems.

Mediation offers an alternative that is non-public, confidential, and frequently results in less costly outcomes. Moreover, because mediation brings people together to resolve their disputes by addressing underlying interests, oftentimes opportunities arise in mediation sessions for creative gain. When disputes are resolved well through mediation, the parties enjoy a satisfaction that contributes to a healthy organizational culture. If mediation is unsuccessful, the more costly higher authority processes can take over at that point. 

Dr. Stewart is a certified mediator who has successfully mediated workplace disputes in a variety of industries and locations, between two parties or more than thirty. She provides outsourced mediation services and can also train key employees to be internal mediators as part of an integrative organizational early dispute resolution system. 


Organizational leaders don't rise through the ranks because they lack leadership skills. They have them, in spades. Few, however, have been taught to incorporate the interests-based communication methods championed by the Harvard Project on Negotiation. Dr. Stewart coaches leaders to effectively use those methods and many others that will enhance the leader's ability to produce results.  



It's no surprise that nearly half of U.S. employees consider most meetings unproductive, and many find them to be downright aggravating. Using best practice techniques designed for ultimate engagement and efficiency, Dr. Stewart turns meetings into opportunities to collaboratively generate creative ways forward. 

Early Dispute Resolution

System Design

Part of organizational risk management and cost containment is to strategically plan for conflict prevention and for early resolution when conflict does arise. In spite of the proven benefits, most leaders overlook this 'last frontier' opportunity to reduce costs and improve the workplace. Dr. Stewart collaborates with leaders and engages employees, resulting in an affordable, comprehensive system tailored to organizational objectives and culture.  

External Ombudsman

An organizational ombudsman is defined as "a designated neutral who is appointed or employed by an organization to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns of employees, managers, students and, sometimes, external clients of the organization." The ombudsman is the one entirely safe, confidential place an employee can go to explore options and decide on a course of action. Ombuds can often facilitate mutually-agreeable solutions for workplace disputes that avoid the cost to the organization of formal complaints and lawsuits. Employees can bring all types of issues to the ombudsman, including supervisor-subordinate or peer disagreements, harassment, and ethical concerns.

Many organizations  report that their ombudsman offices have saved them millions of dollars in avoided lawsuits, not to mention reduced turnover, increased employee engagement, and corporate reputations (contact me for examples). Organizational ombudsmen can be found in large companies, hospitals, universities, government departments and agencies, tribal communities, and many other places. Small to medium-sized companies and organizations can benefit from employing a part-time, external (outsourced or contracted) ombudsman to bring the same benefits for a reduced cost. The external ombudsman may provide services to several organizations.