Disputes between business partners are inevitable. Each partner has their own point of view and their own way of doing things, which naturally leads to clashes between them.
However, these disputes do not have to mean the end of the business relationship between the partners if they want to continue working together and if the relationship is salvageable.
When business partners are involved in a dispute that they cannot solve on their own, but they do not want to go to court over it (in some cases it is not worth going to court over certain disputes, especially if they are small) an excellent way to solve conflict is through mediation.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) outside the courtroom. This form of dispute resolution offers many benefits, including:
- A non-adversarial approach to the dispute
- Privacy for the parties and their issues
- The ability to choose a mediator that both parties are content with
- Less expense in solving the conflict
- Often, the opportunity to solve problems much faster
- A non-binding conversation/negotiation that can lead to a binding agreement
- Flexible options for solving conflict
In addition to the benefits above, a mediator provides a structured environment and acts as a neutral third party, which allows the parties to trust that they can speak honestly and in good faith.
The role of mediators is to help parties identify the underlying issues and assist them in finding solutions. If the parties can reach an agreement, that agreement can become binding if the parties want it to. However, that is not mandatory. The parties have significant control over the mediation process, hopefully leading to cooperation and collaboration.