Calming conflict

Workplace conflicts aren’t only stressful, they are expensive, according to certified mediator Dana Greyson.

Greyson opened Positive Change Mediation in January, and is hoping to get that message across to local businesses.

Conflict in the workplace leads to stress, which in turn may cause absenteeism, reduced productivity, impaired decision making, sabotage, employee turnover or litigation.

“People don’t tend to think about conflict in terms of money, but that’s exactly what it is,” Greyson said. “I’m very cheap in comparison.”

A former Hewlett-Packard marketing specialist, she has focused most of her practice on family mediation, but is itching to get out into the business community.

Mediation is not mainstream, but it’s becoming more popular for the workplace, she said.

During the past several years, businesses have been moving from a trend of litigation to arbitration. Now, Greyson is noticing more businesses moving from arbitration to mediation.

Unlike mediation, in arbitration, a third party makes a decision for the parties in conflict.

Greyson is not an attorney or a counselor.

“Many times my job is to help clients figure out what they want so that when they go to an attorney, they know what they want to accomplish,” Greyson said.

She is a neutral third party who is there to open the lines of communication for people who are at a standstill and help them work toward a resolution.

So far, she has worked with the Washington School for the Deaf and is contracted with the Clark County Association of Realtors, but has yet to mediate for the organization.

Greyson worked at HP for 17 years and was earning a six-figure salary. At the end of a particularly great day, she realized what made it great were the times she mediated conflicts or helped co-workers reach their creative potential.

“That really charged me,” she said. “I thought, ‘How can I make this not a skill I bring to the job, how can I make this the job?’”

She began training to become a mediator and left HP in 2005. After working at Innovative Services NW, where she continues to volunteer, she used a generous voluntary severance package from HP, to found Positive Change without loans.

Aside from the cases she’s mediated as a volunteer for ISNW, Greyson has mediated cases for seven clients. She has earned about $3,000 and is nearly covering her expenses.

From here, Greyson would like to focus on marketing her workplace mediation and eventually become a mediation trainer.

Positive Change Mediation

Dana Greyson, owner

712 W. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver

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