Fifth Business Mediation and Organizational Consulting

Fifth business is a consulting firm that has two focuses.

  1. The first focus is mediation/negotiation.  The principle consultant, Tim Nickel C.Med., mediates in many contexts including labour, personal injury (in particular SGI appeals), public policy, civil litigation, public or private complaints, and community contexts.  If the job requires two mediators or a larger team, Tim has worked for decades in the field and can pick from among the best to match the type of expertise and experience needed.
  2. The second focus is organizational development.  Fifth Business will work thoughtfully yet quickly with organizations and work groups to determine appropriate processes to address emerging or long-standing needs.  Organizations require a suite of externally delivered processes over time to complement their internal resources.  Among others, these include workplace or larger organizational assessments, group facilitation, team building, management or employee coaching, workplace mediation, intentional change planning, and Human Resource consulting.  Tim Nickel has years of experience helping businesses, non-profit organizations, and government groups of all sizes with these and other initiatives.

Tim Nickel formed Fifth Business as a creative outlet for his belief that, given a healthy context, we human beings and the groups in which we gather crave to grow and develop.  With appropriate guidance, we can determine for ourselves the directions that are best for us and that these directions will lead us to deeper and greater prosperity. Even in our blindingly complex world, we can gather together, make sense of our circumstances, and choose the positive and ethical path.  We overcome our egocentrism and sociocentrism to broaden and deepen the scope of our view, embracing the friction resulting from the juxtaposition of autonomous and passionate points of view.

Tim's Story

Tim Nickel grew up in small town Saskatchewan.  A passable athlete, he spent his hours playing sandlot ball, football, and any other type of ball until he finally earned a uniform in high school.  That high school, though, thought more of him than he did and he ended up singing and acting and generally learning a lot about how to move around in the world.  After high school, Tim moved away from home to study in Saskatoon.

Always curious and unsettled, he dabbled in languages, mathematics, anatomy, and psychology  – playing football and singing in choirs during his undergrad years there – and finally rested on Educational Psychology with a counselling major for his graduate degree.  The sum of Tim’s years in school included a weighty thesis describing five refugees’ experience of exile, a bruised but solid frame from the gridiron, and a fine person for a wife with whom to figure out what to do next.

That summer, a tip from a friend at a party landed him a job helping victims and offenders of crime resolve their differences.  The mediator role suited Tim very well.  Despite being young for the work, he brought wisdom and calm to people who desperately needed those qualities.  This was an exciting part of his life, training in Vancouver to level up as a mediator and, in time, teaching others the trade.  After a few years of introduction to the field, Tim struck out on his own, a private mediator and therapist registered as a psychologist.  It was during these years that he first felt the attraction of helping in organizations or other larger human systems.   It wasn’t long before he didn’t feel so young any more.

A phone call from the Ministry of Justice changed everything.  The perfect job, a chance to learn from the best, the lead edge of growth… in Regina.  Two young boys in tow, he and Sherry moved to the capital for six intense years of the toughest mediation and facilitation work you can find.  The Dispute Resolution Office took on work boldly – intractable family or civil court disputes, public policy decisions, organizational change. Whenever the provincial government had a problem to solve, the DRO was there to get it done.  A friend noted once, “You guys are like the Jedi!”

Again, unsettled, Sherry and Tim forced change again and plucked their boys out of their home in Regina and deposited them in a smallish fishing village called TangJia in the smallish city of Zhuhai in the bustling province of Guangdong in the kaleidoscopic country of China.  Sherry was the catch for the school in which they worked, while Tim fed his nascent passion for the outdoors, designing and implementing an outdoor education program for international students.  Two years in the forges of life in another country forever tempered the family.  His parents always said, “One year of travel is better than a degree in a university for growing you up.”

Back in Canada, it was time for Tim to re-establish himself as a consultant.  At present, Tim holds an ongoing contract with the Dispute Resolution Office, yet enjoys the flexibility and creative opportunities of private consultancy.  His focus on organizational development places him at the heart of a province and country innovating and growing while battling the vicissitudes of an economy strongly linked to resource extraction.

These 20 years of service, always in the middle of people’s most important business, show who Tim is at heart and who he has become.  He has a keen intelligence that “gets it” without clients spending much time explaining their world.  He sees the movements and mechanics underneath the problems and communicates his views in ways that are easily understood and to the point.  There is a warmth and humour to Tim, though, that is what you’ll likely remember more.  He doesn’t panic when others are in crisis and truly cares.   Tim wants to help.  It’s who he is.

Specifically, two decades of experience have made Tim Nickel a leader of leaders in both the field of mediation and in many areas of organizational development and multi-stakeholder collaboration.  His work with the Dispute Resolution Office includes civil litigation mediation, public policy consultation and facilitation, high conflict family mediation, workplace mediation, conflict resolution and mediation training, and human rights mediation, among others.  Privately, he conducts personal injury mediation, interventions in toxic workplaces, team building and professional development, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and organizational assessments.  He has helped community-based organizations, government and other public institutions including schools and health regions, private businesses both small and large, and community groups.

"The story of the development of people and of the groups they form is, collectively, the story of our global civilization. We, together, are forging ahead and can choose what we become."

Tim Nickel, M.Ed., R. Psych.