Elements of Peace

BUSINESS

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Business Partnership Issues

We can help you take steps to establish, manage and dissolve partnerships, including situations such as these:

  • You want to assure yourselves that a business partnership arrangement will work, but you don’t know how to go about it. And, you want to do this before seeing an attorney.

  • You are in a partnership, and you are dealing with conflicts over issues such as control, fairness, money or time-off arrangements.

  • You have tried unsuccessfully to resolve a dispute between you and your business partner, and you need a mediator’s help before going to an attorney.

  • You are interested in dissolving a partnership, or you want to add or remove a partner, and you want it done fairly.

  • You are transitioning your partnership to include employees and want to do it in an organized and effective manner.

Addressing partnership issues can be expensive if each partner goes to an attorney. Mediation is often a more cost-effective option when an issue arises. As part of the mediation process, we can help you take steps to solidify, adjust or repair your partnership.

EOP uses the Partnership Charter™ process to help our clients address challenges as they arise. Whether you are a new or existing partnership, we can help you develop a Partnership Charter to move you forward—and take you into the future.

A Partnership Charter™ can mitigate partnership issues or reduce the likelihood of conflict. It’s a tool that helps partners and partners-to-be sort out their visions, needs, expectations, roles and responsibilities on the front end—and set up compensation arrangements that are fair and equitable. A Partnership Charter™ serves as a guide for resolving conflicts successfully with limited or no damage to the partnership.


 
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Family Business Issues

We can help you manage transitions and disagreements, including situations such as these—

  • You want to navigate a generation-to-generation handoff of the business.

  • You have decided to consider an outside executive to manage the business.

  • You want to add or remove a family member and want it to be done fairly.

  • There are disagreements within the family about how to handle management, ownership or governance issues.

In our experience, family businesses face a unique set of challenges. They must deal with the challenges of growing and operating the business while integrating the needs of family members for inclusion, recognition, ownership and control. The opportunities for disagreement are substantial. Emotions can run high. And the resulting fallout can be disruptive to the business—as well as expensive, particularly if family members seek out attorneys and others for advice or representation. Having a neutral outsider who understands family business dynamics and its challenges can help families navigate these situations.

Our mediators have experience in business consulting, partnership development, psychology and family therapy. That can be helpful in understanding and mediating the complex dynamics of family businesses.

Together, family members can sit down in a safe setting with trained facilitators with experience in both business and family dynamics. We can explore various solutions and guide you toward a variety of options. In the end, you’re more likely to come to an agreement that does more to satisfy everyone involved—without the expense of hiring a team of attorneys.


 
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Employer-Employee and Employee-Employee Disputes

We can help you with situations such as these—

  • You, as a manager, are involved in a dispute with an employee regarding performance, roles and responsibilities or workplace conduct.

  • You have employees who are not getting along and it may be damaging to the office environment and culture.

  • An employee has violated the rules of conduct and you want a neutral outsider to help facilitate the dialog so you can reach an agreement on next steps.

When conflicts arise between employees or between employees and managers, it can diminish productivity, cause tension, result in safety issues or affect customer relationships. Managers may find it helpful to use a neutral third party to help mediate these disagreements. Bringing in a mediator gives the dispute the formal recognition and attention it deserves and creates an environment where all parties can be heard. Such mediations can lead to a resolution or simply serve as a first step toward further dialog and a satisfactory resolution.

When issues arise in the work environment, we’ve found that businesses can leverage the help of a neutral person to facilitate dialog and to help identify options that may not be evident to the people engaged in the dispute.

By definition, a mediator must be acceptable to all parties involved in a dispute. That provides a sense of neutrality and fairness. In addition, the mediator can bring a fresh perspective to the discussion. We often find that both parties are simply stuck—unable to identify any agreeable solutions. Both sides can gain new insights through mediation so they can craft an agreement, repair damaged relationships, address the underlying concerns and improve the workplace.


 
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Contract Breaches and Disputes

We can help you in situations where—

  • You and another party have a business disagreement based on a written or verbal contract.

  • You want to avoid a costly court battle and reach a satisfactory agreement.

When a contract dispute is so severe that you’re ready to lawyer up and begin fighting, the costs can be high: attorney fees, discovery, bringing experts in to make your case. And, ultimately, when you get in front of the judge, he or she will interpret the case on what the law says about the situation—not necessarily what’s best for both parties. Oftentimes, one party “wins” and the other “loses.” But what if you “lose” in front of the judge. Or suppose you “win,” but you don’t get all of what you wanted or expected?

Mediation offers a more cost-effective solution in cases of contract disputes—and can lead to more satisfying solutions than taking legal action.

Together, the parties sit down in a safe setting with trained facilitators to explore various solutions and consider ways to meet each party’s needs. In the end, you’re more likely to come to an agreement that does more to satisfy both parties—without the expense of hiring a team of attorneys to do battle.