Business Partner Disagreements and Mediations

One of the most disruptive and problematic experiences a business can encounter is when partner owners experience disagreements which, if unresolved, can become more toxic over the long haul and threaten the relationship between the partners and the equity, profitability and sustainability of the business. Often times these disagreements can be resolved by a process Joel utilizes called conjoint exciting coaching. In this model Joel meets with owners together and reviews and investigates disagreements between them. Joel also interviews and meets with relevant executives and staff of the particular companies to acquire greater background knowledge into the nature, content, and accuracy of the disagreement.

Many times these disagreements can ultimately be solved by a resolution which includes these kinds of executive coaching tools, as well as new agreements made between owners which have to do more with the operational and strategic aspects of the business and less to do with equity and shares. In other words, once owners feel more comfortable about the operation of their business and have their concerns resolved they feel more confident in moving forward with their current business alignment.

At certain times though disagreements become more about contribution over time, equity, and personal enmity between owners. When disagreements reach this stage they are best handled by mediation. Mediation is a complex process and the objective and subjective claims of each owner are submitted to a rigorous analysis by Joel and utilizing a variety of tools from the executive coaching suite of services. Parties are brought together regularly to discuss and work through complex and problematic aspects of the business functioning, the partner relation, and equity in the company. Owners are encouraged to recognize that any business litigation between them will in all likelihood result in the evisceration of capital, profitability and equity, and be far more damaging in the long run than a mediated settlement. In mediations which do not look to have a positive reconciliation between owners, buy/sell agreements are regularly utilized by Joel to create a situation in which each owner can benefit from the equity invested in the business and continue their business careers either within the company or moving on to another business project.

Business Mediation: A father-son construction company in the Pacific Northwest

  • Assisted ownership in a father-son construction company in recognizing that an earlier bifurcation of the company into two had resulted in a competition dynamic which was unhealthy for both businesses.
  • Helped review, analyze, mediate and reconcile differing accusations between father and son about business practices in their company prior to its bifurcation and in both companies after the bifurcation
  • Helped reconcile earlier obsolete accounting methodology which had created intractable divisions between the father and son relative to the exact accounting metrics that existed previously prior to the bifurcation
  • Assisted father and son in recognizing that they had involved their own families in this dispute to the degree that the overall global familial relationships were being broadly damaged by this continuing disagreement.
  • Brought in accounting and other collateral experts to evaluate claims made by both father and son regarding specific aspects of their disagreement
  • Conducted multiple in-person mediations between father, son, their attorneys and other family members to help reduce the threat of a apocalyptic litigation
  • Referred father and son to appropriate licensed vendors to resolve emotional problems resulting from this long-standing dispute
  • Successfully mediated a resolution to this dispute which provided stability and financial security for owners of both companies and their families