Corporate Mediation & Training


Mediations at Closely-Held or Family-Owned Companies

When the owners, directors or management of a closely-held or family-owned company hit an impasse over the future direction of the company, much more is at stake than just the bottom line of the business. Longtime personal relationships, often spanning generations, can be unraveled in the heat of the moment without a trained neutral party who can see beyond the business issues to the heart of the matter.

Growing up in a family-owned business and as an active partner in several closely-held companies, Compassionate Mediators founder Paula Langguth Ryan has first-hand knowledge and experience with the complex ties that hold these companies together. “Family first” isn’t just a slogan with us.

We’re dedicated to helping people grow their businesses and maintain the personal connections that define the corporate culture of closely-held and family-owned businesses. In this area, we specialize in transformative single party, two-party and group mediations.

We’ve successfully used Compassionate Transformational Mediation to resolve inter- and intra-department conflicts, and transform conflicts between clients, employees, venders and owners before and after they erupt.

At corporations, as in the rest of the world, conflicts usually arise from misunderstandings and miscommunication. Missing the mark with each other usually results in hurt feelings, a sense of distrust and even anger. In a corporate setting, the cost of conflict ranges from a mundane loss of productivity and profitability to the extreme loss of life when someone “goes postal” over a conflict.

In between are the costs of missed opportunities, failed negotiations and the loss of important personal and professional relationships. These can cost hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars.

Two-Party (Traditional Transformational) Mediation

When two people in a closely-held or family-owned company find themselves in a conflict that repeats itself, it affects the quality of life for everyone at the company – at work and in their personal lives!

Two-Party Traditional, Transformational Mediations are useful for:

  • inter- and intra-department conflicts
  • transitions (such as the dissolution of a partnership, change in ownership, takeover or the sale/acquisition/merger of the business)
  • transactional disputes (anything involving money!)
  • personality or work-style conflicts (especially when family members are involved or the situation keeps reoccurring)
  • general workplace conflicts that could benefit from a neutral third party guiding the involved parties toward a resolution
  • finding win-win situations when parties are stuck seeing only what they want to gain and what they are afraid of losing

Two-Party Mediation is essential whenever either party repeatedly runs to a person in power in order to vent or to build support for their position. The resources wasted during these interactions are immediately recouped when a compassionate mediation resolves the underlying issue.

Compassionate Mediators specializes in two-party mediations where both parties want to develop a better way of dealing with future conflict, in addition to reaching a resolution regarding the current conflict.

Call 970/590-3732 to speak with a Compassionate Mediation specialist about the specific benefits of mediation for your company’s current conflicts.

At Compassionate Mediators, we specialize in three areas to help you increase your profits, reduce your overhead and enhance your productivity and creativity:

1. Pre-negotiation or pre-mediation strategic consultations at closely-held or family-owned corporations

2. Mediations (single party, two-party or group) at closely held or family-owned companies

3. Compassionate Leadership Mediation Skills Training and Team Building Programs to help corporate executives and managers reduce the time spent managing workplace conflicts by up to 48%.

Defusing and dissolving conflicts by helping people move beyond their fears is what we do best. Call us at 970/590-3732 to determine your next best step toward resolving or heading off conflict at your company.

Our corporate clients rely on our discretion. Accordingly, we do not list or publish the names of companies who have used our services. References are available on request.


Understanding who truly has the power in a negotiation or mediation

The owner of a closely-held company came to Compassionate Mediators before a tax-negotiation with the IRS.

“I have a problem – I owe the IRS $30,000 in back taxes,” said the client.

“Let me get this owe the IRS…and they’d like you to pay them?” “Yes.”

“Well, then, the way I see it, it’s the IRS that has the problem, not you.”


Pre-Negotiation Strategic Consultations

Negotiations usually take place around exciting, tense, time-sensitive decision-making situations. Both parties have an idea of what value they place on the deal being negotiated – and if a gap exists, negotiations can quickly go off track if people take the negotiation process personally.

If we think someone is likely to be unfair or inconsiderate, play hardball or try and force their will in a negotiation, we are likely to get defensive. Not because they ARE being or doing those things. But because our thought that they MAY pushes an old button that actually has nothing to do with the current situation. Who we think they are can derail our negotiations or put them on a circular track that goes around and around, never moving us forward toward a resolution.

With a Compassionate Mediators Pre-Negotiation Strategic Consultation, you gain insight about yourself, the other party, and the negotiation before you ever come to the table. We help you keep your negotiation on track and improve your chances of a successful outcome by helping you:

  • identify, analyze and defuse your potential trigger points and emotional hot buttons so you don’t derail the negotiation
  • fully understand your strengths
  • determine what issues are truly important to you (why you’re taking the position you’re taking)
  • examine and strengthen your weaknesses
  • analyze the true value of what you bring to the deal
  • recognize and transform the way you see annoyances about the other party that could trigger your impatience, disrespect, anger or other deal-breaking reactions
  • gain greater clarity on the TRUE motivations of the other party (not based on what we THINK they are…but based on a deeper knowledge)
  • recognize the other party’s attachment to the outcome and what they may see as obstacles to a successful negotiation
  • identify the common values and interests among all parties, which can speed up the negotiation process and lead to a successful solution
  • think outside the box for creative solutions that may “help them, help you” as Jerry McGuire would say.

Armed with the tools gained from our strategic consultation, you’ll go into your negotiation with greater confidence and reduce your chances of sabotaging the deal.

When does a Pre-Negotiation Strategic Consultation make sense for your corporation?

Most negotiations fall through or are unsatisfying due to a lack of or inadequate pre-planning. Our rule of thumb: anytime your negotiation has the potential of netting you $10,000 or more, we strongly urge clients to invest the time and energy in a pre-negotiation consultation. For simple negotiations (like salary negotiations, for example), an hour’s investment of $500 may be all that is needed to become fully familiar with the above bullet point items.

For more complex negotiations (such as mergers, acquisitions, union issues or transactional negotiations where the outcome is critical to your company’s future success), weigh the cost of the consultation against the potential value of the outcome. Our fees are $5,000 a day, all expenses included. If you stand to net $100,000 on the deal, and you invest $10,000 preparing for the negotiation, your profit is $90,000. If you stand to net $10 million, and you invest $10,000 preparing for the negotiation…you get the picture. The larger the potential outcome of the negotiation for your company, the better the return on your investment in a pre-negotiation strategic consultation.

Call 970/590-3732 to speak with a Compassionate Mediation specialist about the specific benefits of a consultation for your situation.

Pre-Mediation Strategic Consultations

Conflicts are inevitable. Misunderstandings occur. Miscommunication happens. Assumptions get made. Expectations aren’t met. If you’re lucky, rather than going to court, you “go to the mattresses” with a mediation. What you think about the relative strengths and weaknesses of your position and the other party’s position depends on your perception.

A Compassionate Mediators Pre-Mediation Strategic Consultation helps you examine the situation with greater clarity. The result is that you enter into your mediation with:

  • a clear understanding of what you truly want out of the mediation
  • a better sense of what the other party may want, and
  • a toolbox of mediation skills that you can bring to the table to keep things on track when the mediation gets heated.

At a Pre-Mediation Strategic Consultation, we help you:

  • examine, clarify and establish your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Transformative Agreement (BANTA)
  • examine and improve your Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Transformative Agreement (WANTA)
  • move away from a rigid position-based solution and get clarity on your issues and interests
  • determine exactly what you want that will make you feel good when you walk away from the mediation table (and 5 years down the road as well!)
  • explore and understand the other party’s issues and interests that may be behind the position they’re taking
  • brainstorm alternative, out of the box solutions to help both parties reach agreement in the situation
  • identify, overcome and release your emotional attachment to the outcome, so you can come to the table without fear of losing.

When does it pay to do a Pre-Mediation Strategic Consultation?

We began offering Pre-Mediation Strategic Consultations after watching one too many mediation’s fail. Parties couldn’t get beyond the staunch positions each had taken. They couldn’t see what was truly important to themselves and the other party. As a result, they were mediating under “false pretenses” if you will. Not on purpose – they simply didn’t have the skills to give themselves distance enough to see the true desires behind the positions they had taken.

Especially in closely-held or family-owned companies, the rift that occurs when mediation fails can be irreparable and cause damage that lasts for decades, or even a lifetime.

Our services are especially valuable if the other party has suggested a mediator, or if a mediator has been court-appointed.

Call 970/590-3732 to speak with a Compassionate Mediation specialist about the specific benefits of a consultation for your situation.

NOTE: If you choose to do a pre-mediation strategic consultation with us, we cannot serve as mediators for your conflict, as we would no longer be considered a neutral party in the issue. However, we would be glad to recommend several qualified mediators to handle your case.

Single Party Mediation

Many people simply do not like conflict. They avoid it at all costs. Yet unresolved conflicts fester and grow, even when the other party has NO IDEA that there’s a conflict brewing. That’s where single-party mediation can help. Our research has shown that any conflict in a company can be resolved if just one party is willing to look at it from a new perspective and see it differently.

Conflicts in companies occur when we interpret someone’s motives through the filter of our own past experience and inner stories. What we think the other party’s words, actions or inactions mean is what creates most conflicts. We help you look at events through new filters. A single party mediation helps you:

  • explore and resolve miscommunications and misunderstandings
  • resolve your own past stories, fears and resistance that may be causing your frustration, resentment, stress and anger
  • reframe the issue and create communications strategies to transform the conflict before it reaches a critical point
  • understand and learn compassionate mediation skills so you can address what the other party may be experiencing or feeling that is driving their words, actions or inactions

Single Party Meditation is especially effective for helping you reframe your communications to be more positive and productive. Our own perceptions and beliefs are conveyed in the words we speak and write. Our specialists are highly trained to help you reframe your communications BEFORE you send them out. Single-Party Mediation services are priced at $500 for 60 minutes, which can be used in 6 minute segments.

Call 970/590-3732 to speak with a Compassionate Mediation Communication and Conflict Consultant about the specific benefits of single party mediation for your current conflicts or

Book a 30 minute session now; $250 Reserve an hour’s block (usable in 6 minute increments) $500 Reserve a four hour package $1500

(save $125/hour!)


Emergency Transactional Mediation Consultation

When you’re dealing with a transactional mediation, and you realize there’s an underlying issue where “it’s not about the money” and you’re about to reach an impasse, call 970/590-3732 for an Emergency Transactional Mediation Consultation. We can help you discover what the underlying issue may be and provide you with several good ways to approach this issue, given the personality, temperament and emotional state of the parties involved. The cost is $250.


Group Mediation at Closely-Held or Family-Owned Companies

Group Mediations are useful for the same types of events as two-party mediations. The difference is in the number of parties involved. By meeting with each individual party before bringing everyone to the table together, the emotional issues surrounding the conflict can be addressed and mitigated in a manner that doesn’t disrupt the company.

We recommend arranging for a Group Mediation BEFORE the conflict explodes, whenever possible. If you know a serious change needs to be made at your company and tensions may run high due to personal investment in the company, call 970/590-3732 and ask to speak with Paula Langguth Ryan. She will explore with you the best timing for a group mediation to avoid or resolve the pending conflict.


How is productivity affected when conflicts occur in the workplace?

  • People not working as team players
  • Managers having to resolve conflicts throughout the day
  • Passive aggressive or aggressive actions
  • High turnover and need for training of new hire
  • Loss of morale which affects customer service and satisfaction

Compassionate Corporate Mediation Training

Our workplaces are fishbowls of family dynamics. As with any family system, offices teem with inter-department, inter-agency and intra-department conflicts. These conflicts may be small or large, one-time incidents or repetitive patterns. Wherever two or more people gather, you’re bound to have personality conflicts, differences in communication styles and different ways of handling conflict that include conflict avoidance, passive aggressive or aggressive behaviors.

In the absence of clear communication, we make assumptions about why someone acts or reacts they way the do. Employee miscommunication happens when people are angry, confused or upset; feeling pacified, underappreciated or disrespected; not feeling heard or understood; or afraid of losing face.

At Compassionate Mediators, we offer Compassionate Leadership Mediation Skills Training and Conflict Dissolution Team Building Programs. Our goal is two-fold:

1. to increase the level of clear, compassionate communication at your company. and

2. to help reduce the amount of time your managers spend on resolving conflict, thus increasing the productivity and profitability of your company

We give your managers and executives targeted tools for transforming the environment that has led to past and current conflicts – so they are minimized or eliminated in the future.

Compassionate Leadership Mediation Skills Training

Managers, according to research reported in Leadership Journal, spend an average of 42% of their time managing workplace conflicts rather than being productive and creative. We can show you how to reduce that to 15%-28% OR LESS. Most managers are able to immediately reduce the time spent with conflicts by 5% or more, after a single 30 or 45 minute Compassionate Transformational Mediation Skills Training Assessment.

For managers earning $150,000 a year, a 5% reduction in time spent managing conflict saves your company $7,500 in lost productivity.

Now imagine your savings from a full- or 3-day Leadership Mediation Skills Training. Even at a minimum reduction of 15% in time spent managing conflict, this training saves your company $22,500 ANNUALLY, per person!

We’ve successfully used our training to help companies resolve inter- and intra-department conflicts and transform conflicts between clients, employees, venders, managers, owners and executives.

At a Compassionate Transformational Mediation Skills Training, your managers will experience a personal transformation resulting in the ability to:

  • overcome conflict avoidance
  • enhance positive communication skills
  • instantly identify and resolve their own personal baggage that is adding to the conflict
  • see clearly the invisible underlying issues in the conflict
  • create their own toolbox of skills for moving people from positions to possibilities

This highly-customized hands-on, interactive training can be combined with individual consultations. When you’re ready to train your managers to think outside the box in ways that transform future conflicts, negotiations and mediation, call 970/590-3732. On-site or offsite retreat training options available.

Conflict Dissolution Team Building Programs

The number one roadblock to effective teams is conflict. Whether tensions are hidden or visible for all to see, they impact the productivity of your teams. We are all in relationship with each other. By transforming our relationship with ourselves, we transform our relationship with every person we interact with, now and in the future.

Our Conflict Dissolution Team Building Programs are designed to take participants out of their comfort zone psychologically so they can come face to face with how they deal with conflict. Help your teams develop more powerful, positive, compassionate conflict resolution skills. We use real life examples of current underlying conflicts at your organization as the foundation for these programs. By resolving conflicts instantly during the team-building program, greater cohesiveness, trust and respect are created.

Call 970/590-3732 to discuss how this program can be customized to suit your company’s specific needs. Please specify if you’re interested in team-building for Small Groups (2-12 people) or Large Groups (13-60 people). On-site and off-site retreat options are available.

Paula Langguth Ryan is also available for Corporate Wide Team Building Keynote Addresses. Call Liz Losher at 970/590-3732 for details and a fee schedule.