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Felicity Steadman
Feedback digest by Felicity Steadman, 13 Aug 2018 Reviewer: Mrs Felicity Steadman ( Latest Update: 12 Oct 2014 Review created: 12 October 2014 including [8] feedbacks from [5] mediations since June 2010. As ever, John consistently receives excellent feedback from mediation parties. They rate his skills and abilities as ‘outstanding’. They also consistently remark that they would recommend him to others and that they would use him again. Parties describe John as ‘safe pair of hand’, and by this they mean that his experience as a mediator is evident in his sound judgment as a process manager. John’s facilitative style is also evident to parties, one of whom commented that ‘he utilized his skills in a way which enabled the parties to find a solution’. Clearly John works actively as a process manager encouraging parties to explore options and arrive at their own solutions. Good mediators also challenge parties on their risk analysis and their ‘best alternative to the negotiated agreement’, and a legal representative to one party commented that ‘John made it known to parties that they should factor in legal costs and management time when considering an appropriate compromise’. It is also clear from the comments of the parties that John works actively to get parties to consider the other party’s point of view, put themselves in the shoes of ‘the other’. Feedback reviewed confirmed that parties were very satisfied with the costs of the mediation, one party commenting that ‘they were reasonable considering the outcome’. There were no negative comments made by parties about John. Overall John is rated parties as an excellent mediator, a consummate professional who brings years of experience to bear in challenging mediations. Review created: 17 September 2010: John consistently achieves excellent feedback from parties. They also consistently remark that they would recommend him to others, that they have used him on numerous occasions and that they would use him again. In cases where parties are using mediation for the first time they comment that the experience was a positive one and that they would recommend the process to others. Parties rate John’s skill and ability very highly. John’s many years experience as a mediator and lawyer are evident in his quick grasp of issues and his strategic management of the mediation process. John’s knowledge of the substantive issues means that he is able to add value to the mediations, even making proposals; although, as one party recently commented, he does it in such as way that always allows the parties to make the proposal their own. Parties consistently say that they were satisfied with the result achieved in the mediation and, even in cases which did not settle; parties make the point that they felt the experience was constructive. John’s tenacity and commitment to working with parties positions, needs and interests, results in the achievement of effective mutually satisfying outcomes. John’s style is facilitative although it is evident from the feedback received that he draws on his knowledge and experience as a mediator and lawyer, and that the parties greatly appreciate this and trust his judgment. This was borne out by a comment made recently by a union representative who said that parties respect ‘his honesty and no nonsense attitude’. Parties consistently say that his skills made a decisive difference in the outcome of the mediation, not only by facilitating settlement of the issues but also by reducing the conflict and limiting the feelings of adversarialism, and building or maintaining relationships between parties. Parties comment on John's capacity to work impartially and he has excellent feedback from both union and management representatives in the same mediations. In relation to this parties comment about John’s integrity as a mediator, his ability to manage difficult disputes and difficult behaviours. He is also sensitive to the confidential nature of the mediation process and it is evident that parties trust his discretion and professionalism. John’s process management is well regarded by parties. They comment that he takes complete control of the process, creating a space in which the parties can work out how to achieve a negotiated agreement. He assists the parties narrow the issues, encourages them generate options and creative proposals, and works with them using active reality testing. One party commented that although John has a very hand-on style he never seems to rush the parties but continually moves the process forward so that they have a sense of progress. The following comments have been made recently about John’s style: A General Manager in a company of 48 000 employees in which John mediated between the unions and management, recently said of him: “John Brand displays an ability that is almost unparalleled in South Africa by other mediators. He is a skilful mediator.” A party to a mediation involving a dispute between partners in a law firm commented: “John’s integrity and his ability to remain removed from the personalities involved in the matter, while at the same time conveying the problem issues. Participants trusted John and his judgement, and application to the matter at hand. Also his great patience in dealing with strong and difficult personalities.” Parties are satisfied with John’s fees, often noting that he charges less than others of his seniority, and certainly less than it would have cost if the case had been litigated. No negative comments have been made by parties about John.

This feedback digest was last updated 12 October 2014.
by Felicity Steadman, 3 Aug 2021

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