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64932 IoD NEWSLETTER OCT 2014:autumn 07 04/03/2014 15:07 Page 2 • MARCH 2014


Page 2 Chairman’s Comment

IoD NE Director of the Year The IoD NE Director of the Year 2014 was presented to Alastair Waite, Altrelli Limited at the recent IoD NE Business Leaders’ Dinner held at the Radisson Blu in Durham. Guest speakers were BBC’s business reporter, Steph McGovern and IoD Chief Economist, Graeme Leach.

Page 4 & 5 IoD North East announces Director of the Year Award Shortlist

Page 6 IoD NE Forthcoming Events

David Cliff, Gedanken Ltd, Steph McGovern, Alastair Waite, Alastair Thomson, Amanda Vigar

The IoD NE has crowned serial entrepreneur and business angel investor Alastair Waite as winner of its Director of the Year Award 2014. Geoff Turnbull, Chairman of GT Group, of Peterlee, and Geoff Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Utilitywise Plc, South Shields, were highly commended. Alastair Thomson, IoD NE chairman, said: “Alastair Waite has a strong entrepreneurial story to tell, has demonstrated his business acumen during three decades and he also has ambitions to build on the success he has achieved to date.”

The Award was supported by Gedanken, a North East-based consultancy providing a blend of personal develop-ment, business and executive coaching, staff counselling, mediation and management consultancy skills. David Cliff, Gedanken Managing Director, said: “For the region to thrive commercially, it needs to encourage people to take risks and not be afraid to become a driving force in a business. The IoD NE Director of the Year Award celebrates individuals who have shown these credentials.” Keynote speakers were Steph McGovern, BBC Breakfast Business Correspondent and Graeme Leach, IoD Chief Economist.


The dinner, which was supported by V&A Vigar & Co (Darlington) LLP and BMI, was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham and was attended by more than 200 IoD members and their guests. Amanda Vigar, Managing Partner of V&A Group, which has an office in Darlington, said: “The IoD North East’s Business Leaders’ Dinner enables the sharing of best practice, celebrates business success and helps equip directors with the knowledge and inspiration to help make their companies even more successful.” Steph McGovern speaking to IoD members and their guests

The dinner was sponsored by accountancy firm, V&A Vigar Group LLP and airline bmi regional. For the Award shortlist turn to pages 4 and 5

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IoD Membership News/Chairmans Column

The IoD North East has welcomed the following new members: Paul Rodgers is the Founder and Managing Director of Ithaka Life Sciences Ltd, which provides expert advice, guidance, and hands-on support for organisations in the life sciences sector. Our team of industry experts works closely with companies, investors, universities, NHS trusts and other public sector bodies to support them in the commercialisation of life science technologies.

Joseph Main The Nazareth Trust Joseph has been the CEO of The Nazareth Trust (formerly known as the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society) since 2007. As one of the largest Scottish Charities, with a turnover in excess of £26m pa, the Christian Charity owns and operates a university teaching hospital, school of nursing and international volunteering programme in Nazareth, Northern Israel.

THE EIGHT WINS BEST NEW BUSINESS AWARD South Tyneside Business woman and IoD NE member, Eve Whitaker has won best new business at The North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2013. Eve who runs Inbound Marketing Agency, The Eight, won the category sponsored by the NECC recently. The awards hosted by WIN Ltd are an annual event to recognise and reward achievement of women in business in the North East. The category for best new business was to reward a woman who has launched a new venture in the last 2 years, with passion, enthusiasm and an unwavering desire to succeed. Ross Smith, Director of Policy at NECC judged the category, he commented: “This was a very hard fought category, which shows the strength of the new businesses being created in the North East. “Eve Whitaker launched The Eight on the back of a revolution in her industry, marketing. She is leading the way in introducing new concepts to North East businesses and has been unswerving in sticking to her belief in her company’s potential. “While The Eight was up against some fantastic contenders for the award, it is a very worthy winner and I expect to see it go from strength to strength in years to come.”


CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS As this is my very last Chairman’s comment, after 4 years as IoD NE Chairman, I hope you’ll forgive me for reflecting back on my time in office.

Alastair Thomson IoD Chairman North East Region

Four years ago was when we realised the very depth of the financial impact on real businesses which was caused by the financial crisis. No longer was this just something we read about in newspapers and saw journalists on TV standing outside the Stock Exchange or the Federal Reserve building, talking about obscure economic concepts. The recession was biting hard and businesses in our region found bank funding, or even the continuation of deals previously negotiated almost impossible to get. Unemployment was growing. Confidence was shot. Four years later and finance, although not flowing fast enough, is more plentiful than it was. Unemployment is on the way down. Confidence has even returned to house building, the sector worst hit by the financial crisis. The UK economy is growing once more. That any of this has happened at all is a tribute to the grit and determination of businesses across the north east and in particular those businesses with an IoD member at the helm. Members I speak to have been increasingly optimistic about the future for the last 18 months or so and that’s now coming through in the “hard numbers”.

When times are at their toughest, that’s when the associations that members make through the IoD count the most – a friendly piece of advice, a net-work to use to find solutions to seemingly-intractable problems, a potential customer or route to market. You get all of these through the IoD for a very modest fee, which pays for itself many times over. As an IoD member for close on 20 years I’ve paid my subs every year out of my own pocket, not out of an expense account, because I value all those things – and more – that membership of the IoD brings. From the end of March, my good friend and colleague Graham Robb takes over as Chairman. Graham has been on the Tees Valley Committee, which I used to chair, and the NE Regional Committee for many years. He is from the region and has built his own successful business, serving a national client base, from within the north-east. Graham exemplifies the sort of entrepreneurial endeavour that the IoD believes in so strongly. Graham will, I’m sure, take the IoD further forward in the north-east during his term of office. I extend to him my very best of wishes for the coming years. And can I thank you for the pleasure of chairing the IoD in the region for these last 4 years. It has been a real privilege to serve you.

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IoD North East

APPOINTMENT OF NEW IoD NE CHAIRMAN 2014 A prominent entrepreneur has been appointed chairman of the Institute of Directors North East.

projects featuring leading national figures in the world of industry, sport, entertainment and politics.

Graham Robb, owner of Recognition Marketing and

Mr Robb said: “I am passionate about the North East and being involved in projects that help promote and drive the economic wellbeing of the region forward.

PR, succeeds Alastair Thomson, Dean of the Business School at Teesside University, who has completed his four-year term as chairman. Mr Robb has served on the board of the IoD North East for several years and is on the board of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. A regular newspaper columnist, he founded his company in 1990 following extensive media experience with the BBC and commercial radio. He since has overseen the growth of his business, which today employs 14 staff and has a portfolio of more than 70 clients, employing more than 40,000 people, and based throughout the UK. This year, Mr Robb has invested in excess of £300,000 in moving into new offices at Pioneer Court, Morton Palms Business Park, in Darlington. During the years, Mr Robb has been involved in top level

“Running my own company for nearly 25 years has given me real insight into the needs of business and I look forward to using this experience for the benefit of the IoD North East and its members. “Part of my new role will be representing local businesses at regional and national level and helping encourage the powers-that-be to create the environment needed for North East companies to grow and develop.” Mr Thomson said: “I have greatly enjoyed my time at the helm of the IoD North East and will continue to support its work in the region. “I wish Graham well as the new chairman. Through his company he has acquired an in-depth knowledge of a wide range of sectors, which will prove invaluable to the IoD North East and its membership. “

IoD NORTH EAST DINING CLUB with Cllr Nick Forbes - Leader of Newcastle City Council – 29th April IoD members and their guests are invited to the next IoD NE Dining Club when Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council will be our guest speaker. The event will be held at the prestigious Northern Counties, Club, Hood Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. The cost is £55 and includes a three-course dinner and wine. Nick has been a Labour member of Newcastle City Councillor since 2000. He represents Westgate Ward, which includes the City Centre and parts of the Inner West and Rye Hill. He was elected Leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011, having previously been Leader of the Opposition since 2007. He has extensive local government experience. As well

as chairing the council's Cabinet, he represents the city on a range of bodies and is vice chair of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority. He is a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum and chairs FRESH, the campaign for a smoke-free North East. He is also Vice Chair of the Core Cities Cabinet and leads for Labour Local Government nationally on Children and Young People issues. He is committed to tackling inequality and prejudice and is determined Newcastle will become a better, fairer place under his leadership. He has extensive local government experience. To reserve a place, please email Sukie Ranken at

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IoD Annual Conference 2013


IoD NORTH EAST ANNOUNCES DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD SHORTLIST Here, we profile the business leaders who were shortlisted for the IoD NE Director of the Year Award 2014, which was won by Alastair Waite. The aim of the award is to provide an overview of businesses making an impact when it comes to driving the region’s economy forward. The IoD NE wanted to honour directors of companies that are helping improve the region’s economic landscape, such as investing or expanding their organisations, attracting funds and finance to the North East, developing the area’s infrastructure or creating valuable jobs. Alasdair is Director responsible for commercial vehicle operations and assumed control of the company in 1983. Business has grown from a turnover of £6m to its currently level of £45m. The business has a high profile and image in its market area, being North Yorkshire, South Durham where it has had a strong presence since 1923. The Stockton dealership was acquired in 2007. The business operates within the top 10 key performance indicators in the franchise and is highly profitable.

Alasdair MacConachie, Sherwoods (Darlington) Ltd

Utilitywise a utility cost management consultancy was founded by Geoff Thompson in 2006. After 6 years of outstanding growth Geoff launched Utilitywise onto the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in June 2012 raising nearly £7 million. This successful flotation was the first by a North east Business in 5 years and was achieved when stock markets were still reeling from the recession. Valued at £37m at flotation Utilitywise is now valued at around £200m. Following the flotation the company made a number of strategic acquisitions acquiring further energy and water management products and expertise as well as specialists in the corporate energy procurement sector. It also entered the French and German market. Clients range in size from single-site High Street shops to national supermarket chains. The groups has over 17,000 contracted customers with over 58,000 contracted meters supported by 753 staff.

Alastair is a serial entrepreneur and business angel investor. He is a qualified accountant (although he says he is fully cured!) with Board level experience across diverse sectors such as; Retail, Engineering, R&D, Semiconductors, Biofuels and IT. He has raised almost every type of finance, opened overseas offices, bought and sold businesses, completed a number of MBO’s and much more. Alastair has been involved in a number of NE businesses over the past 30 years. He is majority owner of Altec Engineering Limited, based in Durham and employing over 50 highly skilled people, he helped build Bede Group from University spin-out to a business that floated. He is perhaps best known for leading the buy-out of Onyx Group in 2001 and leading the growth and the development of the Company resulting in a sale of the business in 2011 for £27m. He left his position as Strategic Development Director in November last year to focus on developing potential in his investment portfolio. His investment portfolio of around 24 businesses are in even more diverse sectors with the common denominator that he likes the people in the businesses he invests in and believes in adding value. He is currently Founder Director of Altrelli Limited, a consultancy business focussed on helping businesses achieve their potential through development of strategy, business plans, fundraising, merger and acquisitions and mentoring

Alastair Waite, Altrelli Ltd

Geoff is a science graduate and holds an MBA from Newcastle University. Before founding Utilitywise he held senior posts in consultancy and in industry. He gained specific energy experience whilst supporting energy supply companies to acquire new customers via a range of direct marketing approaches. Geoff is involved with a number of charities most notably Grace House North East Children’s Hospice and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund. He is also on the board of The Entrepreneur’s Forum.

Robert is the CEO of Vertu Motors plc, the 6th largest automotive retailer in the UK. He was previously a director of Reg Vardy plc between 2001 and 2006, appointed as Finance Director in 2001 and Managing Director in 2005, until the sale of the business to Pendragon plc in 2006. Robert qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen. He is also a member of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Confederation of British Industry and a keen supporter of Burnley FC.

Geoff Thompson, Utilitywise

Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors plc

64932 IoD NEWSLETTER OCT 2014:autumn 07 04/03/2014 15:08 Page 6


IoD Annual Conference 2013 Environmental engineering specialists GT Group, which has its head office at Peterlee, County Durham, and sites in Consett, Newton Aycliffe and Sunderland, is run by Geoff Turnbull MBE, who started as an engineering apprentice at the age of 15.

James has always strived to achieve 100% in everything he does. He is an experienced chef/caterer with a flair for creating new and innovative products using quality ingredients and this has been apparent in his businesses to date.

In 1985, he formed GT Group and since then the company has grown through continual investment in the best plant and machinery available, a strong focus on research and development, and the recruitment of talented employees. Today the workforce stands at more than 350.

His current business, On A Roll Sandwich Co Ltd (OAR), started off in two small rooms of a local bakery in late 2006. With the energy shown by him, the company began to grow rapidly and it became apparent very early on that larger premises would be needed. In 2008 he purchased an empty unit and built a fit for purpose, production facility, based in Middlesbrough, selling a range of around 400 sandwich and snack products.

Geoff acted as a government advisor to the government for several years during the 1990s serving on the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment. He became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1991 for Services to Export. GT Group comprises of five businesses that design and manufacture a variety of ground-breaking products including emission reduction products for industrial vehicles, coupling systems for transferring oil, gas and other hazardous liquids and specialist bodies for the mining industry. This year the company announced it had secured £100 million worth of new advance orders adding to a healthy order book that will keep its workforce fully-employed until 2020. The company, which will see turnover grow by in excess of 35 percent in 2014, has also recently doubled the size of its factory in Peterlee. To meet growing demand for its products, GT Group has increased its floor space by 50,000 square feet by expanding into premises adjacent to its existing advanced manufacturing plant at Whitehouse Business Park.

Geoff Turnbull, GT Group

Sales have grown year on year and this is nearly all down to James’ ability to pass on his enthusiasm and passion about the products and his company – service and quality being key to his success. OAR produced over five million units last year and are on target to increase that by 40% this year. The plan is to continue to expand nationally (currently have a base in the north west and another about to be set up near Nottingham) as well as build another larger factory which will accommodate the continued growth and allow for specialist production facilities for unique products not currently catered for exclusively elsewhere.

James Stoddart, On A Roll Sandwich Co Ltd (OAR)

Phil studied Chemical Engineering at Leeds University and joined BP Chemicals after graduation. In 1997 Phil left the petrochemical industry to join Raychem, a polymer science company focused on the electronic component manufacturing sector, where, as UK director, he led a major revamp of their supply chain systems and manufacturing processes. In 2004 he returned to South Wales to join the steel industry as Managing Director of Corus’s Strip Products business. Whilst there, he led a major turnaround programme of this ailing business, taking it from the brink of closure to become one of the top European steel producers. Phil left Corus in 2010 to take up the position of Operating Partner in one of the major city Private Equity companies involved in industrial acquisition activity. In 2011 Phil was seduced back into the steel world to take up the position as Chief Executive of SSI UK, after their purchase of the Teesside steelworks and their planned entry into the world of integrated steel making. Since his appointment as Chief Executive, Phil has led the restart programme and the successful start up of operations of the Teesside facility in 2012, and continues to deliver their further strategic planned business developments.

Phil Dryden, SSI UK.

IoD NE Director of the Year 2014 is sponsored by Gedanken Gedanken is a North East based consultancy providing a rare blend of personal development, business and executive coaching, staff counselling, mediation and management consultancy skills. ‘Gedanken’ is the German word for ‘thoughts’ and many of its interventions focus upon the thinking processes of business leaders, professionals, key managers or individuals seeking to develop in their life and work. Gedanken is fundamentally committed to promoting business growth and engaged, “hyper productive” workplaces, especially in the North East. The company mission is to ‘keep the humanity in a busy world’ and offers companies and individuals uniquely flexible solutions in a unique and challenging blend of compassion and candour. Its MD, David Cliff is vice chair of the Sunderland and Durham IoD Board.

Originally Operations Director of Bannatyne Fitness, Nigel Armstrong became Managing Director in 2005. He is now Chief Executive of The Bannatyne Group, overseeing more than 60 health clubs, more than 30 spas, four hotels and Bar Bannatyne at The Gate in Newcastle, which collectively employ about 3,500 people and turnover just under £90m a year. Nigel has successfully steered the group through the recession, with the last financial report to Companies House showing a year-on-year rise in profit from £7.8m to £8.7m and an increase in adult membership of 20 per cent. He is also leading The Bannatyne Group through significant changes to the health and leisure industry, such as competition from the new trend for lowcost gyms, as well as problems which face all businesses, such as rises in inflation and higher rate VAT. A member of the Association of Accounting Technicians, Nigel started a career in the leisure industry after working as an accountant.

Nigel Armstrong, Bannatyne Fitness

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IoD News


IoD NORTH EAST FORTHCOMING EVENTS Export Week – IoD NE Lunch 7th April – 12noon – 2.00 pm, GT Group, 3 Traynor Way, Whitehouse Business Park, Peterlee The first key event of Export week in the North East is being held by Institute of Directors in partnership with UKTI and other trade bodies. It is a network lunch ideal for individuals and firms who are new to exporting. The presentations include: Britain Open for Business: The Next Phase – an explanation by UKTI on how you can get financial and know-how support in developing export markets. CASE STUDY: EXPORTING GOODS - The GT Group is an international organisation with over 35 years of commitment to excellence in engineering design and manufacturing, exporting products and services to more than 60 countries throughout the world. Recently GT Engineering accompanied David Cameron on the recent mission to Russia and won a significant £50m contract. CASE STUDY: EXPORTING SERVICES - TTE Technical Training Group is the UK's leading provider of technical training to the oil & gas, process, manufacturing and engineering sectors. Hear how they deliver the skills to meet employer needs, apprenticeship programmes, consultancy, tailored and off the shelf courses and the design and build of new training centre around the World.

IoD NE Director Development Breakfast Seminar – The Role of the Chairman 14th May – 7.30 am – 9.30 am We are delighted to be running the next series of the IoD NE Director Development Seminars, starting off with the Role of the Chairman, then continued with The Role of the Chief Executive, The Role of the Finance Director and The Role of the Sales and Marketing Director.

Ian Dormer

Our speakers include: Ian Dormer, Chairman of the Institute of Directors, and Chairman of Rosh Engineering based in Durham and Les Walton, Chairman of Northern Education Trust

IoD NE Director Development Breakfast Seminar – The Role of the Chief Executive

The Directors Role in Improving Return on Energy 13th March. 7.30 am – 9.30 am Board Room, Ward Hadaway, Sandgate House, 102 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne This session will show how to access the discretionary effort people choose to deploy when they are fully engaged and enthused in the work that they do. Using insights from some of the world’s leading organisations we will understand what it takes to tap the natural curiosity, competitiveness and desire to win that exists in all of us and how to harness this energy in order to deliver significant strategic results. Speaker Malcolm Follos Malcolm Follos, Sensei UK

To book a place at any of the above events visit: or email Sukie Ranken at

24th June – 7.30 am -9.30 Our speakers include: Brian Palmer

David Grailey, Chief Executive NCFE, Brian Palmer, Tharsus, Tony Gates, Northumberland National Parks and Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, Butterwick Hospice Care

Grateful thanks to Ward Hadaway for their continued support of IoD NE events.

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IoD News

Northern Education Trust (NET) Non Executive Programme as well as community representative governors who can provide empathy, emotional intelligence and social awareness. The two are not mutually exclusive. Our Hypothesis Too often schools lack clarity about what they want and employers are not clear on what they can offer. We believe if the engagement is clear, focused and time limited, there will be a greater desire to get involved - and when employers become involved with governance, it is the most effective way of improving engagement between schools and the workplace. Les Walton

Northern Education Trust (NET) is developing a new nonexecutive governor programme in its academies and partner schools in the North East with the aim of providing schools with valuable and focused support, while helping nonexecutives gain valuable skills in governance and leadership. National Context The number of academies in the UK has leapt from 200 in 2009 to 3,834 academies, Free Schools, Studio Schools, University Technical Colleges and ‘Alternative Provision’ academies in January 2014. It is essential they are well-governed - particularly in the area of improving standards and financial probity. NET As the largest sponsor of academies in the North of England and one of the largest in the UK, we presently sponsor academies in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North East. Governance It is the responsibility of each Governor to make an informed contribution to management and to improve and develop operations. Our belief is: ‘With increasing autonomy comes increasing accountability.’ The governing body of an academy plays an integral role in improving the education of young people and in school achievements. Increasingly, a new breed of Governors is required to challenge academies and hold them accountable. Governing Bodies should ideally draw on the wealth and skills within the local area – not just from educationalists but from business and enterprise too. We need governors who are skilled forensic leaders and accredited expert specialists The challenges that our region faces to prepare the workforce with the right skills for the future of the world of work are many and complex. As business people we need to do more than stand on the sidelines and criticise that young folk are not ready for the world of work. We need to drive the change we want to see. I would ask all business leaders: “Do you know the senior people in your local school/ college / university? And what are you doing to help them to help you?” and in the same way I would ask the leaders of all educational establishments; “Do you know the name of the boss of all of your nearest businesses? And do you know what they expect from you?”

The proposal Our proposal is to develop a network of non-executive directors from the IoD and other key employer-led organisations within the region. The non-executive programme will be developed in partnership with IoD North East as well as the North East Chamber of Commerce, Tees Valley LEP and the National Governors Association. Existing NET academies and partner schools within the North East will identify their governance requirements and IoD members are invited to indicate if they wish to be involved in the programme. A variety of skills is needed spanning finance, quality control, planning, research, governance, leadership, marketing and HR. The Commitment It is expected that the ‘Non Executive Governor’ will provide five days equivalent of support plus attendance at Governors Meetings (possibly three main Board and three sub committees) for one year. Training and Development Training will be provided by NET in four key areas:

• • • •

Governance Standards evaluation and improvement The support and challenge role The skill requirements of the individual school

Evaluation and recommendations for development The National Governors Association will provide external evaluation of the project and the final report. If you are interested, please contact Diane Greaves: By working together we can help educational establishments to understand what businesses are looking for while also helping them become more commercial. So I would commend any senior business leader to commit to the non executive / governor scheme that we are piloting. As Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” How I would love to see the members of the IoD in the North East of England prove that point in such an important context. Ian Kinnery, Business Coach, IoD Chair, Tees Valley and Leadership Board member Tees Valley LEP.

64932 IoD NEWSLETTER OCT 2014:autumn 07 04/03/2014 15:07 Page 1



GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST If you have any feedback or comments on any of the topics covered in this newsletter, or on any other issues, we’d love to hear from you. Email: Each quarter, the best response will feature in this regular column and the author will receive an exclusive gift from the Pen Shop.

MEDIATION CAN BRING MORE BENEFITS FROM A PROBLEM David Cliff is managing director of Houghton le Spring-based Gedanken, a company specialising in coaching-based support and personal development. David is an experienced trainer, manager and therapist, with a wide range of experience working with businesses and individuals as a coach, management consultant and mediator. David is vice chairman of the County Durham and Sunderland Committee of the IoD. In a country with adversarial systems of government and justice, it is no surprise that mediation hasn’t taken off as well as one would have hoped. There is a strong cultural view of accountability, rather than finding a solution. David Cliff

Where we see mediation in action, it is often a “tick box” or “last ditch” step towards an escalated set of actions in the workplace, courts or at tribunal. The mediation is there to show it has been tried, before resorting to action which apportions blame and punishment, rather than finding resolution. So often, I have found myself called in to such a mediation process, only to help find a resolution which has not involved a costly and lengthy court or tribunal process. It is often not until the final bill has been picked up from the courts that those involved appreciate the cost of not mediating. Some disputes involve ongoing relationships which will have to continue long after the formalities and have many implications for effective working/productivity, etc. Good mediation factors this reality into the process. Some companies have gone down the route of internal mediators which, whilst saving money, risks the flaw of perceived bias. Confidence in the system is critical to successful mediation, so this can ultimately prove more costly. Additionally, commonly held misconceptions of mediation involve seeing it as something which happens between

families, overseen by a counsellor. Others perceive it as being led by a lawyer. There are now a large number of good mediators who are not legally trained. As a result, they are more focussed on crafting a solution which respects the honour and viewpoints of all parties, rather than attributing right and wrong. A more mediated solution, which takes into account the key concepts of people’s individual values and individual dignity, is an attractive alternative for organisations, and is preferable to something which results in simple apologies, direct action, dismissal. People also make mistakes and mediation reflects that, without focussing on blame and justice. Good mediation is also an opportunity to identify the reasons behind a problem and other needs within an organisation and to make it stronger through the responses to those needs. For example, it may become apparent that management coaching or team building is required and can result in a stronger organisation. Ignoring the opportunity to explore such issues can mean missing out on discovering ways of potentially improving a businesses, and the people within them. More worryingly, bosses risk “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” and everyone, including the organisation losing out on a learning opportunity which is rooted in something deeper than their own actions.

By David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken

CONTACT If you would like to contact the Institute of Directors the address is: Institute of Directors North East Branch, 70 Northfield Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 3UN Telephone 0191 213 1289

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