The relationship between business partners should be one of mutual trust and respect. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When problems occur, business partners often fall out. Fortunately, mediation can be used to strengthen partnership relationships in the ways listed below.
A Gesture of Respect
Mediation is a process, not an event. Mediation shows that you are willing to work with your business partners. While disagreements can and will happen, working to find a neutral mediator (usually by asking your attorney, finding someone who is a member of the American Arbitration Institute or seeking someone who has graduated from a online MPA programs) and establishing a non-confrontational system of dispute resolution shows that your primary goal is to maintain your partnership. The fact that you are not immediately moving towards an adversarial solution should show your partners that you respect them enough to work with them instead of against them when things get tough.
Business partnerships should always have a certain level of trust at their foundation. Unfortunately, many partnerships turn sour because one party or the other believes that something could happen that turns the situation hostile, i.e, someone is wary and not fully trusting. A good mediation plan can allow you to reduce tension by stipulating that you will first seek to solve all your problems in a manner that benefits all parties. Simply having this safety net can let both parties concentrate on building and maintaining a strong working relationship instead of working to shore up their own positions in the case of a relationship meltdown or similar emergency.
Creating Unique Solutions
Finally, mediation provides partners with neutral ground on which they can meet and create novel solutions to their problems. Going to court to solve a partnership issue can only bring about solutions that are recommended by the law; conversely, working in mediation allows you to create solutions that work in the real business world. Having this space available allows both parties to come together and solve problems in a manner that will actually strengthen their respective businesses. Instead of turning partners against one another each time there is a problem, mediation offers a means for partners to turn every problem into a unique opportunity.
If you are looking for a way to improve a business partnership, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about mediation as a primary problem solving mechanism. It’s not only a great way to reduce tension, but a fantastic way to increase respect and allow for unique solutions to your problems. While mediation doesn’t solve everything, it can provide a business partnership with a firmer foundation.
About the Author:
Emma is a freelance writer from Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. Information used in this article was provided by an organizational psychologist who earned their applied psychology degree online. Find Emma on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2