Mediation Skills Workshop to Assist Backbone of U.S. Economy at Colorado State University Nov. 9

America’s 15 million businesses are estimated to be 90 percent controlled by family-owned enterprises, playing a critical role in the economy. In a recent national survey, conflict among family members ranked in the top ten concerns facing family businesses today.

To address the needs of a growing number of family businesses in Colorado, the Center for Entrepreneurial and Family Enterprises in the College of Business at Colorado State University has designed a unique series of workshops.

The last in the series, "Mediation Skills for Managing Conflict in the Family Business," will run 1-5 p.m. Nov. 9 in Room 119 Rockwell Hall on campus.

Michael Gross, assistant professor of management at Colorado State, will lead the conflict management workshop, covering topics such as changing behavior, not personalities; exploring real vs. surface issues; controlling the communication process more than the outcome; and reaching mutual, workable and legally sound agreements.

Gross spent four years as a mediator for the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona, settling – with a success rate of 92 percent – a number of family business disputes.

"Mediation skills are easy to learn and help to increase productivity and satisfaction in a family’s business," said Gross.

Differing perspectives in any business are inevitable, but lacking skills to correctly manage conflicts between family members within a company could potentially lead to failure. The workshop will focus on learning skills that professional mediators use to reduce negative effects on family firms that result from incorrectly handling situations.

The workshop also provides the opportunity for families to discuss current issues or problems within their businesses and how they can be solved. "Having more than one family member from the business participate in the workshop creates an interactive and productive experience," said Anne McCarthy, director of CEFE.

Workshop sponsors include Everitt Companies, Family Business Consultants and Bank One.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Jenny Cavner at (970) 491-6876, send e-mail to or visit the Web at