Whether you have an internal business dispute – for example, with one of your partners – or a dispute with a client or vendor, you’d likely prefer to find a way to resolve it without going to court. Mediation is often the preferred method of dispute resolution because it’s less costly, confrontational and public than a civil lawsuit would be.
It’s not right for every situation, however. Obviously, both parties have to be able to agree on a mediator and be willing to sit down together and engage in an honest discussion. If a relationship is strained beyond repair or maybe whatever relationship existed was purely contractual, mediation has less chance of being successful.
Repairing communication issues
Mediation can be a good choice when a business relationship needs to continue. This is often the case between or among partners. Just like a marriage, a business partnership can devolve to the point where the parties have little or no communication or their understanding of what the other is saying is clouded by the negative perceptions they’ve accumulated. An experienced “third party neutral” can shake up the dynamics and find ways to get them communicating effectively so they can agree on the next steps and a larger plan to resolve their issue(s).
The same may be true of long-term client or vendor relationships. Often, it’s in both parties’ best interests to continue the relationship. However, disagreements or distrust can threaten it. Mediation can provide a private, non-threatening place not to just air grievances but to remedy whatever issue has strained the relationship to the point of near-rupture.
Controlling the outcome
One of the advantages of mediation over a court battle if there’s a specific dispute is that the parties control the outcome. This can help both feel that they’ve succeeded. That’s considerably different than having a judge or jury hand down a decision that they have to abide by.
Often, people who are highly successful in business assume that they have strong conflict-resolution skills. However, many very smart, accomplished people don’t. That’s why it’s wise to turn to mediators who are trained and experienced in conflict resolution. If you think mediation would be right for you, find out more about it.