Whether the top of your company or business consists in a boardroom with representatives from 24 countries or whether there’s just you and your partner building house extensions or selling cars, disputes will arise from time to time.
Internal disputes can severely hamper or damage the business
A dispute at the top management level removes your capacity for making the best decisions.
That can be more damaging than an argument with a third party.
At worst, the business could collapse or one party will lose his or her job or status. Meanwhile, both will be engaged in litigation for a long time.
Even at a lower level, a lingering dispute can severely reduce the success of the business as new opportunities are not explored and employees are disillusioned by their inability to find a decision maker.
The dispute may also stretch beyond that of management to employment, where the law strengthens one party's position.
Mediation is an excellent way to clear the decks
Internal disputes are rarely settled by litigation. More often one of the parties gives way and the business bumbles on.
Mediation, however, brings the warring parties together so that they understand each other’s position and find a way to resolve their problems. Mediating a business dispute is far more likely to lead to a solution for the long term than litigation, which more than often has the converse effect of ending the relationship.
More complex, multi-party disputes
Disputes arise at any level of management. What’s more, they may not apply simply to two people.
It can be far more difficult to resolve problems amongst multiple directors or partners, when there is a growing attitude of every person for himself or herself. Every meeting becomes a battleground where personalities and power and fear are more important than what is on the agenda.
In that situation you need a mediator with considerable boardroom experience, who understands the interaction between social and emotional elements and the different opinions related to the management of the business.
Ideally, you need a mediator with sufficient presence to be able to act as an informal leader, invited to provide positive, but neutral, opinions and not merely encourage the parties to do so, in the normal way of mediation. Not every mediator is suitable for this role.