11 May 2022

New consultancy Accord launches, uniting scientists and reputation experts to help leaders navigate growing divides

MHP Mischief, INFLUENCE AT WORK and Poles Apart launch new joint venture.


Accord, launched today, is a specialist consultancy that brings together some of the world’s leading names in conflict resolution, persuasion science, employee engagement and reputation management. It will help leaders and organisations anticipate, manage and resolve the threat of polarization to their business.

​Discord and polarization are becoming the hallmarks of our age. From business to politics, as societies become more divided across a growing range of social issues, leaders are finding themselves dealing with rising levels of activism from employees, consumers, shareholders and influencers.

Headquartered in San Francisco and London, Accord helps leaders to navigate divisive scenarios, to improve business performance, support innovation and strengthen stakeholder relationships. Its clients include leading brands from the healthcare, technology and not-for-profit sectors.

Accord is led by Alison Goldsworthy, co-author of the acclaimed book “Poles Apart” and adviser to Stanford’s Conflict and Polarization Lab. Joining Accord’s leadership team is Royal Society nominated persuasion scientist and best-selling author Steve Martin, and Nick Barron from reputation management and communications firm MHP Mischief.

Accord’s advisory board is comprised of experts in depolarisation drawn from academia, business and international relations on both sides of the Atlantic. They include:

  • Sharath Jeevan OBE, Founder of Intrinsic Labs
  • Saumitra Jha, Associate Professor of Political Economy, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Salma Mousa, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
  • Ben Kohlmann, CEO, Former Chief of Naval operations Rapid Innovation Cell, Presidential Leadership Fellow
  • Alex Chesterfield, behavioural insights expert, financial services, Poles Apart co-author
  • Laura Osborne, MD, Corporate Affairs at a UK campaigning business group, Poles Apart co-author

Accord President, Ali Goldsworthy, explains:

“The world is becoming increasingly tribal, with our divides spreading from politics to the workplace and wider society. Difference can be harnessed for good, driving innovation and progress and improving scrutiny. But left unchecked, our tribalism can cause organisations to fray. Employees can feel ignored by management. Customers can be divided along political lines. And the media can reinforce and deepen these cracks. We have put together an expert, international team, to support leaders to chart a course and create solutions based on evidence and learning.”

Nick Barron, Deputy CEO of MHP Mischief and member of the Accord leadership team added:

“In The Networked Age, polarisation spreads rapidly, and in unexpected ways. This is increasingly a board-level issue. The right solutions require an interdisciplinary approach, which is why we came together to create something completely new and unique. We have already begun working with leaders from a wide range of industries, including tech, entertainment, education, health and the charity sector.”

Steve Martin, CEO of INFLUENCE AT WORK UK, Faculty Director at Columbia Business School and Accord leadership team member, said:

“Organisations are not only asked what they do, but who they are and what they stand for. The answer can polarize, as can silence. Leaders need to anticipate the perceptions and behaviours of employees, customers and shareholders and meet any discord with confidence.”


Click here to visit the Accord website.

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