Business partners typically need to agree on the major decisions for their shared company. Will they hire someone new or train an existing staff member for a new role? Will they expand to a new facility, or remodel their existing space? Is the company potentially for sale if someone makes a high-enough offer?
As long as business partners agree on major concerns related to their shared company, their ongoing cooperation will be relatively simple to manage. However, eventually business partners may find themselves disagreeing with one another about how to handle a particular challenge or the next step that they should take related to the development of their organization.
How can business partners overcome a disagreement that threatens to affect their relationship and their company’s success?
They may defer to their agreement
Many partnership contracts include conflict resolution clauses that mandate alternative dispute resolution efforts, like mediation, or other specific approaches to a significant disagreement between the partners. Agreeing to a sit-down discussion or mediation session could help partners currently disagreeing on a major issue realign their perspectives and find a way to compromise.
They can keep their focus on the big picture
Business partners who let minor issues lead to lasting relationship damage will probably pay the price financially for their behavior. Those who commit to a business partnership need to be flexible and willing to cooperate with one another. The long-term success of the company should be what matters the most to both partners.
Short-term power struggles can take people’s attention and energy away from what matters the most. They may also cause damage to their working relationship with their partner, which won’t benefit anyone at the organization. Being willing to consider one another’s perspectives and to put the best interests of the organization first are crucial skills for those who want to build a successful business.
Occasionally, business partners find themselves at a crossroads because they truly cannot compromise on the matter that has led to the conflict between them. In those rare scenarios, it may be necessary for one partner to buy the other out so that their disagreement regarding the future of the company doesn’t lead to operational issues. Sometimes, disputes between partners will end up in court.
Evaluating every option to resolve a partnership dispute, including contract litigation, can help those who are concerned about the impact a disagreement could have on the business that they have worked so hard to build.