Disputes cost money (& more)
When you’re dealing with challenges in your business, we know they cost, in time, resources, headspace and it is obvious you won’t be operating at your best.
When clients have ongoing disputes, whether internal or external, we always start with COMMUNICATION.
If you can’t communicate with the other party, then inviting in a THIRD PARTY who is INDEPENDENT, should assist with this. Whether you take a formal Mediation, or an informal way forward will depend on your own circumstances but having an independent party assist is always a good way forward.
If you’re past the informal stage or a mediation doesn’t work and you have paid for a LEGAL OPINION or advice, it’s imperative to listen and heed the advice of your legal team. Know that they have experience in where these disputes can end up. Whatever you do, DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM FRIENDS OR COLLEAGUES. While friends and colleagues mean well, they are clearly not independent. They do not have the experience to advise in an independent capacity. They will be there to support you but if they agree with you (and not the legal opinion), don’t fool yourself into believing you are right as they support you. In fact, thinking ‘you are right’ should be avoided at all costs, if you want a resolution.
In any disagreement, it is MORE IMPORTANT to consider what YOU have done that is causing the disagreement. Moving your ego aside to deal with the issue at hand. Take RESPONSIBILITY for your part in the breakdown of the relationship. Not easy, but if you think this way, you’ll be halfway to resolving the situation and it often takes the anger out of the situation. [I believe anger is THE worst emotion we can feel. It most definitely doesn’t serve anyone to stay angry for a period of time].
What next ?
Consider the other parties VALUES, as they will most likely be different from yours, consider how the situation will turn out in the long run.
For example, my highest value will be FAIRNESS, knowing the value my client should pay or be paid and ensuring they get what is fair above all else. I love seeing clients ensure fairness prevails.
For some clients however, the stress of the situation might outweigh holding out for what is fair. In such circumstances I will always support what the client wants. Stress can pour from your professional life into your personal life and take up much headspace. This in turn can negatively affect your relationships and your business will also suffer, so it might be ‘death by a thousand cuts’ if you hold on too tight to what you want, instead of moving your position to see what can be done to resolve the issue at hand and ultimately free up your headspace to allow you to move forward positively.
My hope is that any reader experiencing difficulties will take expert advice. Paying for advice can be costly and while I have the greatest respect for the legal profession, the best way forward for everyone is to spend as little time as possible with your solicitor. To do that, it’s always best to heed their advice early in these situations.
How to avoid these situations?
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed as people thrive and have more funds, greed has been known to be an issue in these times. A great way to avoid conflicts is BEFORE you do a lot of business with someone or get into a partnership or work closely with someone, review their VALUES. Do they align with your own? You might have the same 3 key values but in a very different order. For example, if you both have; Career, family and health but one person has family first and the other has career first, you can see how there may be struggles ahead.
The older I’ve gotten, the more sceptical I am of what I hear. Rather than listen to people talk, I find a great way to review their values is to WATCH THEIR BEHAVIOUR. Most people want to have certain values (from an ego point of view), but when the chips are down and there’s an issue, you’ll find out the real order of their values. It’s good to watch this up front as you get to know someone.
If you need third-party advice, if it’s a financial issue, reach out to independent accountants you trust for an honest opinion or second opinion. You may hear something you don’t want to hear, but it can save you in the longer term.
And as for legal advice, again I’d stress if you’re paying for advice, be sure you heed it to resolve issues as soon as possible.
Have a great week
Wendy[2 March 2020]