Even the best business partners have disagreements from time to time. It’s when those disagreements reach an impasse, or one or both parties threaten legal action because they feel they’ve been wronged in some way, that it is vital to the business and the livelihood of everyone involved to resolve the conflict before things get nasty. With that said, allowing cooler heads to prevail isn’t always easy in the business world. Even the smallest conflicts with your business partner can be the hardest to settle out of court.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled 6 tips to resolve conflict with your business partner that you may find helpful.
Treat Each Other Respectfully
Mutual respect is a crucial ingredient for conflict resolution. Both parties should actively listen and acknowledge each other’s opinions. This interaction should be done respectfully. Only then can both parties begin working on a suitable solution. If necessary, bring in an unbiased person, such as a mediator, to help get everyone on the same page.
Do NOT Get Emotional
Business partners often become as close to each other as family, thus making it even more challenging not to let your emotions take over. As emotions enter the picture, cooperation gives way to competition. You must remove the emotional component from the discussion, or you will never reach a beneficial resolution.
Find Common Ground
You are business partners. You share a love for the business, your associates, and your clients. You also share your overall goals for the business. Let this common ground be the foundation for your resolution.
“Reframe” the Argument
An effective way to resolve an argument is to “reframe” it as a matter of “interests” instead of “positions.” When you turn an argument into what each party is interested in while at the same time keeping all the tips above in mind as you work through your conversations, it becomes easier to resolve the conflict with your business partner.
Regardless of the conflict, each party should care more about their partner and the business than they do about winning an argument! Rather than seeking a “scorched earth” win, seek a compromise that satisfies both parties. It may not be a total win for you, but you and your partner will come out ahead in the end.
Take a Break
If negotiations are not progressing as they should, take a step back from the negotiations and change the environment. Step outside. Go to lunch. Talk about family. Think about anything but the conflict at hand. After the break, you often come back with some fresh ideas for resolving the conflict with your business partner.
The test of a successful business partnership is not determined by whether or not conflicts arise. They will arise. The true test of a successful partnership is how the partners handle conflicts when they arise. Our law firm handles various complex business issues for corporate clients and individuals. We also understand that litigation can be expensive and time-consuming. As a result, we work with our clients to minimize litigation risks, reduce costs, and preserve important business relationships.
Our focus is to get our business clients back to doing what they do best and handle their business disputes with as little intrusion into their affairs as possible. Protecting our clients’ rights while preserving their valuable resources and time is one of our highest priorities.
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