PODCAST: Unpacking the Standing Neutral

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Guest: Kate Vitasek

You are probably familiar with some of these terms if you have ever participated in a complex contractual arrangement: arbitrator, mediator, certified deal architect, even the “wise persons committee.” All of these titles refer to objective third parties that are brought in to help resolve high-stakes situations.

Kate Vitasek, a member of the graduate faculty in executive education at the University of Tennessee, and the creator of the Vested model, has recently co-authored a whitepaper that takes the concept of the roles above and modifies it to meet the needs of ongoing, complex third-party relationships.

A “standing neutral” is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It is different than the roles above in that a standing neutral is brought in before the conflict occurs; they are part of a contract’s governance structure. They are neutral, and mutually approved by the parties to the contract.

Kate provides background and case examples to show:

  • How, when and why two (or more) companies might bring in a standing neutral to facilitate contract governance?
  • What impact the standing neutral role has on the relationship associated with the contract.
  • That using the right standing neutral under the right circumstances allows companies to proactively prevent conflicts and misalignment that could rob both parties of intended value.

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