Click To Read: How You Do, Not What You Do – Glenn Sigurdson’s Career, as described by Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Cormick
Glenn’s career has taken him to many places across Canada and around the world, evolving a significant consultancy from a prominent legal career. He brings a decision-focused, creative and energetic leadership presence that relies on strategic perspectives, tools, and skills shaped by a unique combination of experience.
He has a proven track record in dealing with interactions among diverse interests – within, between, and among organizations – building relationships, achieving consensus, developing partnerships, and resolving disputes. Much of this skill comes from his upbringing and family history on Lake Winnipeg: it is part of the man, not simply learned technique.
Between and among organizations and groups, he has an international reputation in giving leadership to the challenges of responding to complex multi-party environments with diverse power, values and interests. He is particularly known for his work with respect to large-scale issues relating to resources and the environment, often involving First Nations.
Glenn’s background includes experience as a mediator, facilitator, and negotiator; he also brings with him an extensive adjudicative background as an arbitrator in workplace, commercial, and healthcare disputes, and as the Senior Vice Chair of the Manitoba Labour Relations Board (1980-1989, part time). He associated with Simon Fraser University in Vancouver BC, where he is an adjunct Professor inthe Faculty of Business, and the School of Environmental and resource management. He is also a Senior Dialogue Associate of the Morris J. Wosk Center for Dialogue.
A leader, he is a former President (1996) of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), now known as the Association for Conflict Resolution, the pre-eminent international organization in the ADR field, headquartered in Washington, D.C
Glenn has written and spoken extensively, including the co-authorship of Building Consensus for a Sustainable Future: Putting Principles into Practice. He is one of the practitioners profiled in the publication of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (2000): Public Dispute Mediators: Profiles of 15 Distinguished Careers.
Since 2011, Glenn has worked with colleagues Jessica Bratty, Jim Cooney and Chris Tucker to create an important global dialogue for thought leaders and practitioners, bringing together more than 500 participants from 15 countries to identify, explore and work together to respond to sustainability challenges in the mineral sector. GEMM’s structured dialogues and web platform supports insight and innovation that leads to solutions.
“I have lived much of my professional life in the space where big problems meet big organizations. Here, interests, values and power collide around difficult decisions and complicated disputes. Communities, companies, departments and ministries, civil society groups, First Nations, local governments. Unlikely as it can seem, these groups are all interconnected in one way or another, to certain problems, and because of the problems, connected to each other. What I’ve learned through hard experience is that the real problem is not usually the ostensible problem. The implications and uncertainties around fish, mines or gas fields are challenging in and of themselves. However, the far greater challenge is the inability of organizations to resolve problems when the solution requires engaging with other parties who see the world differently. These challenges are deep-seated. To be sure, many challenges are “cross-cultural,” to use a popular term, but challenges are far more pervasive than the term implies, reaching deep inside organizational and professional cultures and the values, behaviors and competencies that come with them.”
“People build their lives on foundations laid from the beginning. For me, it was more than that, for it was on the lake where I learned the essential “tools of my trade,” a trade still in search of a name.
I work within and among diverse organizations—companies, communities, groups and governments—in the public and private sectors, building partnerships and resolving seemingly intractable disputes, often in the vortex where the economy, the environment, and society meet. My role is to deliver a special kind of leadership as the “man in the middle” between big problems and big groups and organizations.
My work has taken me throughout Canada and to many other parts of the world. Navigating the divide between fighting and talking is a tricky journey. The longer people have been in the fight the more it defines who they are, and the more difficult it is to detach them from it. But I also know that the longer they talk the more likely they will stay talking. And as the investment in talking grows the potential to deal with differences takes root in the form of actions enabling individuals and organizations to better live and work together.”