Hartfield Resolution Group

Consensus Building

The need for consensus building, whether intra-organizational or inter-organizational, is increasingly evident in society today. Internal divisions must be resolved prior to successful negotiations with outside groups or interests. Major issues create shifting alliances among a variety of organizations requiring different groups to check where their interests converge and where they differ.

Consensus enables groups to discuss a variety of possibilities, looking at each one for pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, before moving a group towards the solution that makes the most sense for the group at any one moment in time. Achieving consensus requires a patient devotion to process and to allowing all voices to be heard, all options to be explored.

The Hartfield Resolution Group believes that consensus training should be experienced by the group(s) that will directly be involved in the actual problem. The HRG Consensus training program covers topics including: Consensus: what it is and isn’t, Guidelines and Ground rules, Essential Components to Reach Consensus, When are Enough options enough?, and What to do when a group doesn’t reach Consensus?

After the training has been completed, HRG provides professional, skilled facilitation to assist groups in the actual process of reaching agreement. More detail about HRG Facilitation Services can be found on this website, but the basic components consist of: Setting Ground Rules and Keeping the Room Safe, Clear Problem Definition, Guiding the group through a structured problem solving process, Keeping the group On Track, Making sure that the necessary data is available and acceptable, Dealing with Difficult People and Situations, and Reaching Agreement.

HRG also conducts “Train the Trainer” versions of facilitation training to help organizations create and maintain their own pool of skilled and qualified facilitators.

Cross Cultural Training

In an increasingly flat and globally interdependent world, HRG works with private and public organizations to help them negotiate and do business with counterparts in other cultures. The Hartfield Resolution Group has trained Western firms in how to negotiate and do business with the Japanese, and Japanese firms in how to negotiate and do business with their Western counterparts. From 1988-1998, Edward Hartfield was the principal instructor for the Negotiating With the Japanese Workshops offered by the University of Michigan Executive Education Program. This dynamic 3-day workshop was the only negotiation workshop endorsed by the Japanese Embassy. HRG is now beginning to train Western firms in how to do business with and negotiate with the Chinese.

HRG has also trained the US Army Special Forces in negotiation and peacemaking skills in the Middle East in order to make them more effective in working in multilateral peacekeeping forces that requires bringing a number of diverse interests together on the battlefield.

Although many organizations requested separate training in the past, a growing number of companies are deciding to arrange training with their counterpart just prior to negotiations to provide a common negotiation process and language and to build trust going into the actual negotiations. Similar programs are available for European and Latin American cultures.

Requests for HRG assistance frequently involve: 1) Training in the negotiation process focusing on the cultural differences 2) Preparing for negotiations 3) Mediating or managing the actual negotiations themselves 4) Implement agreements or resolving disputes during the life of the agreement 5) Bridging gaps between American workforces and those of another culture.

Dispute Resolution System Design

There are two very different kinds of situations that are encouraging organizations to need the process of designing dispute resolution systems. First, some organizations are taking a long hard look at their litigation profile. They are discovering that there were or are numerous cases in which several key opportunities existed for settlement that went unexplored. These organizations are discovering that they have become too complacent in their handling of disputes. The complacency is resulting in increasingly numbers of cases landing in either arbitration or litigation that didn’t need to go that far. These organizations are looking for help in strengthening the internal review of disputes to improve their identification of settlement possibilities as well as the external use of mediation and other ADR methods to increase the likelihood of voluntary resolution.

A second type of situation is that in which organizations are finding that too many issues are not getting resolved at the lowest possible level. This results in organizational tensions, loss of productivity and/or quality, and far too much energy being spent defending decisions and actions rather than innovation and planning. These organizations are already doing more with fewer people and need to create a workplace setting in which the optimal environment for employees to work together and be productive exists.

In both situations, the process of ADR System Design provides a structured step by step approach to identifying organizational needs, exploring the best possible solutions to dispute resolution, and creating a feedback and evaluation system to make sure that the new approaches are doing what they are supposed to do. Following a set of clear design principles and using a collaborative design process, HRG works closely with legal, HR, labor relations, and union representatives to produce a more effective dispute resolution system.

The Hartfield Resolution Group is working with organizations in a wide variety of settings and sectors to increase the likelihood of reducing unnecessary litigation and resolving disputes as quickly as possible.


Organizations are facing a paradox: how to effectively manage increasing work demands and pressures with fewer and fewer employees. The solution: more and more groups are turning to problem solving teams and task forces to study operational improvements, increase quality and efficiency, or examine difficult issues. Experience shows that these processes work best when an external facilitator, someone with professional facilitation skills but no stake in the outcome, helps the group work through problems and issues. HRG has a national facilitation panel that is second to none. Our facilitation panel will assist groups with functions like: Planning agendas and objectives, Identifying key stakeholders and meeting participants, Adopting and using ground rules, Keeping the room safe: dealing with difficult people and situations, and Guiding the group through effective problem-solving.

Other facilitation related training and services provided by HRG include: Facilitation of Interest Based Bargaining, Train the Trainers: Creating your own Pool of Internal Facilitators, Facilitation Training: For Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Facilitators, and Skills and Personality Traits Needed for Effective Facilitation.

If you would like a quote for facilitation training or services, please see the Request Quote form on this website.

Case Management

If you have taken our 10-question quiz on case management and find yourself feeling distinctly dissatisfied, then isn’t it time for a change? Are you content to keep paying higher fees, for less customer service to get mediation and arbitration hearing scheduled? Are you okay with waiting 3-4 months to get a hearing scheduled?

Here are the reasons why HRG Case Management Services are different: 1. Customer Service: all phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours. 2. Scheduling: All cases are scheduled within 5 working days of receipt. 3. Delays: We have removed bottlenecks and delays at every part of the case management system 4. Cost Effective: a. One single fee for case administration b. Fees are not connected to the value of the claim c. No hidden or extra fees 5. Ability to custom design a set of rules or ADR process for parties’ unique needs. 6. Expedited approaches available that: a. Expedites scheduling b. Creates custom pre-approved panels c. Streamlines times for arbitration decisions d. Streamlines time limits for submission of pre-hearing briefs 7. For volume users, HRG will provide a quarterly report analyzing cases submitted and recommending areas of improvement.

Have another provider in your personnel policy or handbook? No problem. HRG can help you create a pilot to evaluate a new approach.

Does your grievance procedure specify another ADR provider? HRG can provide you with the template for an MOU or LOU to stipulate sending cases to HRG.

HRG case management services are transparent, cost effective, and customer friendly. What have you got to lose?

Organizational Assessments

When we are not feeling well, we expect our doctors to conduct tests and make evidence-based decisions to diagnose what is wrong and what the best treatment should be. Similarly, when our vehicles our not performing well, we take our cars to mechanics to determine what needs to be fixed.

The Hartfield Resolution Group believes in doing the same for organizations that are not performing well or are experiencing difficulties. HRG doesn’t believe in throwing off the shelf, “canned” solutions at problems which may have very different causes and effects.

HRG assessments can take many forms depending upon the needs and preferences of the parties, including: Individual interviews, Focus group interviews, and Entire organization or department based surveys.

Our experience in performing organizational assessments and surveys is deeply connected to our mediation practice. As mediators, we are often privy to private conversations during caucus in which the parties are reflecting on the underlying issues and concerns that have contributed to the challenges in negotiations. The opportunity to address those concerns following a contract agreement or resolution of an employment dispute provides the mediator with the need to validate what we have heard in caucus.

Moreover, our status as mediators provides us with an excellent opportunity to extend a promise of absolute confidentiality to employees throughout an organization during an organizational assessment. Specifically, we promise that their names will not be used, that their comments or survey answers will not be released, and that no attribution of any kind which links them to specific statements or concerns will be identified.

Regardless of the assessment method used, HRG produces a written report that identifies the major themes and concerns that surface during the report and recommends solutions from a neutral perspective for addressing those concerns. Where appropriate, HRG assists groups in implementing the various solutions.

A final assessment service that we offer to both labor and management organizations is internal electronic surveys to generate feedback and gauge employee morale. Both labor and management utilize these surveys to identify the main issues that need to be addressed in negotiations, and to gain keen insight as to which employee groups in their organization by service, classification, seniority, etc., feel most strongly about these issues.

Partnering (Construction) Training and Facilitation

As a critical component of our overall services to the unionized construction industry, HRG provides a complete set of Partnering services. HRG sees partnering as the optimal way of addressing the interests of owners, contractors, building trade unions, and A/E firms as the major stakeholders on a construction project. HRG believes that partnering represents best practice that balances the need for strong productivity and quality with safety, shared information, open communication, and effective dispute resolution.

Partnering achieves this balance by up front identification of common goals and objectives, team building, information sharing, and expedited communication and dispute resolution.

HRG facilitators are available throughout the project for toolbox meetings, publication of minutes or key communications, weekly or monthly update sessions, and dispute resolution.

Our partnering process typically covers: Pre-project planning and design, Pre-Project Training and Teambuilding, Designing an effective Partnering process, Conducting Partnering Workshops, Facilitating Partnering Meetings During the Project, Managing Project Communications, Designing and Delivering Dispute Resolution Services, and Project Evaluation.

Facilitating Strategic Planning

Rapid, aggressive, and sometimes unpredictable change has become a constant in our lives. Ironically, the fear in Columbus’ time of a flat world from which one could fall off and disappear is a reality in the 21st Century: we live in a world that has become so closely connected, accessible, and interdependent that it is indeed one global neighborhood. Production and services that are performed in one part of the world can be processed and easily available in another part overnight.

Now, more than ever, we need to utilize strategic planning to cope with the speed of change and the implications for doing business differently. Yet while the need for effective strategic planning may be greater than ever, many organizations are so concerned with coping with the global recession that strategic planning becomes just another item on someone’s “to do” list. No one is gathering the data necessary to conduct an informed strategic planning session. Someone is strongly recommending a reduction in the number of days or sessions needed to conduct a strategic planning session. Key participants who have had the Strategic planning session on their calendars for months find last minute reasons not to attend. When they do attend, their attention is often so focused on their Blackberries and I Phones that they are not present in the moment, and their organizations lose the value of their presence.

Managers are so involved in putting out the fire of the moment that they cannot take the time to imagine what they should be doing to cope with the developments in their industry or sector that the latest trends. Others don’t even know what the latest trends and developments are because they are still fighting yesterday’s battles.

The Hartfield Resolution Group focuses on putting the “strategic” back into strategic planning. HRG recognizes that planning for a successful session is at least half the battle. We believe that the easy part of strategic planning is taking people away from the everyday grind and getting them excited about the future; the hard part is the part that no one likes to do and few groups take quite as seriously as they should: implementing the strategic plan.

HRG has worked with a variety of organizations and settings to assist them in their strategic planning process, including: Labor unions and their employers, North American companies and their international counterparts, Trade Associations, and Senior executive teams.

HRG works with organizations to: 1) Design the goals and objectives of the planning process 2) Assist the organization to identify and gather the background information necessary to prepare participants. 3) Provide training to new planning participants about the need for strategic planning and the kind of preparation that will result in the greatest ROI to their organizations. 4) Facilitate the strategic planning process, recognizing the importance of a structured, step-by-step approach. 5) Manage the difficult conversations that have to occur to minimize the tendency of individuals to focus their energy on blame and fault rather than on identifying solutions and new strategies. 6) Produce the strategic planning document 7) Facilitate the implementation of the strategic plan