An Interview With Gillian Haley

What’s your professional background?

I’ve been a management consultant and mediator for almost a decade. During that time I worked in local businesses and global Fortune 500 corporations in industries as diverse as healthcare, education, technology, and transportation.

Over the years, I came to realize something very important: proactively engaging stakeholders and managing conflict is the key to successful project outcomes. Now I specialize in those areas.

Can you give us a few examples?

Certainly. I’m best known for resolving conflicts that, when left unattended, can lead to big problems so I’ll give you a few of those examples. One of my favorite projects was a multiparty lawsuit where I mediated between one group that was suing another group. Even within a core group, there are differing opinions that can make it especially difficult to achieve outcomes that everyone agrees to accept. In this case, the group that was suing agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for a letter of apology and an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

Another project that comes to mind is a technology implementation where I led business readiness. The project team was pushing to proceed in a way that upset the people who would be most affected. While resolving the conflict, I uncovered some important details that ended up saving the project almost 300K in unnecessary expenses.

Why did you form Justicewise?

After leaving my position as a consultant in Accenture’s Process Excellence and Change Enablement practice, I began volunteering in our local juvenile justice system. It was surprising to see community leaders facing challenges similar to those faced by multinational corporations when they were forced to transform in response to complex pressures introduced by the digital age.

Fundamentally, change is hard. In the case of community leaders, they face pressures from changes in technology, the economy, increased public scrutiny, and in the way our social systems traditionally operate. And they still need to keep day to day operations running smoothly!

Managing enterprise-wide change in global corporations is a unique skill set that I enjoyed using. It was challenging and I was good at it. The constant travel required, on the other hand, took all the fun out of it. When I realized that complex change of global proportions was happening in my own backyard, I jumped at the chance to introduce the benefits of change management to local efforts to solve the social challenges that beset 21st-century communities everywhere.

Change is a process. There are things we can do to make the process more effective, especially in complex environments. And this way of planning and doing change is perfectly suited to working with the diverse subject matter expertise that community leaders bring to the table in their collaborative efforts to effect social change.