When business partners or family business owners are unable to find common ground on contentious issues, they may turn to attorneys — and eventually, to litigation or arbitration. Each of these paths can lead to great expense, an intensely combative environment, and an outcome that none of the parties wanted. Long-standing relationships can be shattered and businesses decimated. These legalistic approaches are most often inappropriate for the special needs of a close partner or family relationship.
Mediation, on the other hand, is an approach that aims at producing a collaborative environment in which mutually acceptable agreements can be reached — without incurring the time and expense of the legal system. Mediators do not impose judgements (in contrast to arbiters and judges). They help the principals conduct their own negotiation and reach their own solutions. Mediation is negotiation assisted by professionals skilled and experienced in helping principals overcome the emotional and practical obstacles to agreement. It is a safe and effective tool to get partners back on track — with relationships preserved or even strengthened.
BMC utilizes the underlying principles of mediation to aid clients even when they are not in conflict. Partners and others seeking to become more effective in their relationships often ask us to facilitate their discussions or negotiations regarding new or on-going partnerships. The Partnership Charter process is an outstanding example of this type of service. Using the same skills and experience used in mediation, our associates are able to help clients reach better decisions more quickly — and hone the skills for better interactions in the future.
Partners and family businesses using mediation or facilitation find that they can resolve tough issues, preserve critical relationships, and get back to business promptly. The agreements they develop with the help of professionals are thorough, committed to paper, and therefore resolve their issues once and for all.
Achieving Collaboration Through Mediation, co-authored by BMC principal David Gage, provides more insights into the benefits of mediation as compared to litigation, arbitration, therapy, business consulting, and other approaches to partner and family co-owners’ conflicts.
Contact BMC today to learn more about how we can help.