Four Ways To Work Out Business Disputes

Business owners have four options to resolve disputes with partners, vendors or customers. Each option is based on different assumptions, and entails a different cost. Therefore, it pays to understand them better.

Option #1 ? Direct negotiation

Direct negotiation is certainly the cheapest - but not necessarily the easiest ? way to resolve a conflict. A good place to start, is to get clear about what one wants, why, and how much one cares for the future relationship with the other person. The next step, is finding out how the situation looks from the other person's perspective. This task requires effective questioning, listening, and observing. The final negotiation step, is crafting an agreement that both parties believe to be better than all other alternatives.

To negotiate successfully one needs some planning, communication and negotiation skills. Without them, it is easy to end up with no deal, or a bad deal, or even a personal war.

Option #2 - Mediation

The goal of mediation is not to find who is right or wrong, but how the problem at hand can best be resolved. Mediation is a process in which parties who disagree meet with a neutral third-party, who facilitates their negotiations. The mediator doesn't have any decision-making authority. The parties decide how to resolve their problem, in a way that is mutually acceptable.

Since mediation is confidential, mediation discussions and materials are not admissible in court. In a sense, when people mediate they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If they are able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the mediator's assistance, that's great. Otherwise, they can still use the remaining two options. And in that case, whatever they have said or heard, offered or counter-offered during mediation, doesn't matter.

Option #3 ? Arbitration

The business dispute is submitted to a neutral arbitrator, who examines the evidence, listens to the parties and renders a binding decision. The conflicting parties must accept the arbitrator's decision, no matter whether they like it or not. Arbitration is past-oriented, and requires a certain amount of fact-finding. Therefore, generally it takes more time (and money) than mediation, but less than litigation.

Option #4 ? Litigation

The fourth option is to let the judge decide which party is right or wrong, based on the facts and the law. In actuality, though, the vast majority of civil cases never get that far (some statistics say up to 90%). They settle out of court. A few days ? or even hours ? before the trial, the two conflicting parties, assisted by their respective attorneys, prefer to negotiate their own agreement, rather than running the risk of losing in court.

For business owners ? as well as for anyone else - litigation has two major drawbacks. First, it inevitably has a detrimental effect on the future relationship between the parties. Second, it can be quite expensive in terms of time, money and stress. Nonetheless, when a business dispute cannot be resolved any other way, litigation is a valid option.

About The Author

Giuseppe Leone is a Business and Workplace Mediator. Past President of SPIDR (Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution) Hawaii Chapter. Mediator for Hawaii District Courts. Email: mediationplus@yahoo.com

Win-Win Power Negotiating

Let's talk about win-win negotiating. Instead of trying to dominate the other person and trick... Read More

So Whats Your Argument?

Arguments aren't always bad things. Sometimes They're used to convince someone of an important point... Read More

The Art of Negotiation in 535 words

I want to get better at negotiation, but where to start? UK Amazon currently has... Read More

The Ultimate Truth in Persuasion

OK, so you want to improve your persuasion power right?Why? What's your intention?As you know... Read More

Making the Deal: Women as Negotiators

Negotiating is no game. It is not for the weak or the fragile. It takes... Read More

Resolve Conflict In 6 Easy Steps - The BEDROL Method

The principles of Negotiation can work for you in any situation, but often people ask... Read More

Dont Be Afraid Of Silence

In any conversation with two or more people, there is a tendency to want to... Read More

Business: Keys To Negotiating Well

Whether it's buying a car, asking for a pay rise, saying 'no' to a friend... Read More

How to Change Somebody?s Mind

Believe me, it's not easy! And sometimes, it doesn't work at all.But while researching my... Read More

30 Tips for Keeping Meeting Expenses to a Minimum

Money makes the world go 'round. And when it comes to meeting planning, money can... Read More

Do You Want a Paycheck or a Passion? 10 Qualities Managers are Looking for in Hiring You

Based upon my research of over 300 managers in the last two years, I have... Read More

A One Stop Financial Solution

Amy Wright, 34, was extatic when her realtor showed her the three bedroom townhome overlooking... Read More

The Six Rs for Changing MInds and Overcoming Resistance

This article borrows from Howard Gardner's book, "Changing Minds" (2004). In order to get people... Read More

Managing Conflict, in Life & Work: Using Ancient and Modern Approaches

"Conflict" is a word that can have varying degrees of severity, meaning, and implication for... Read More

Determine Your Rate And Negotiate Carefully With Unreasonable Clients

Consultants who offer executive assistant or computer services on a virtual basis must know their... Read More

Where to FIND the BEST Employees --

Obviously, you might logically say, "that is good!" You would most certainly be on track... Read More

Power Pricing - Getting the Right Price for Your Products and Services

There's an old joke about the New York City blackout. Power was out everywhere, and... Read More

Guidelines for Ambassador Appointments

Ambassadors to other countries are a vital part of international relations. It is not uncommon... Read More

Negotiating Skills Will Get You Ahead

Negotiating skills can help you manage lots of different kinds of life situations, both at... Read More

Avoiding and Accomodating in Negotiation

The avoiding approach to negotiating is characterized by losing, leaving, and withdrawing. No commitments are... Read More

How To Make An Inflexible Bureaucrat See You As A Person

Inflexible Bureaucrats Are Characterized by:1. Cares little about your happiness in life 2. Sees people... Read More

Just Ask!

Ask and you shall receive & knock and it shall be opened &send an email... Read More

7 Tips for Bartering Products and Services

What better way to gain a new customer than by getting something you need in... Read More

Suppliers as Your Partners in Cost Reduction

This article is one of the many articles still to come in which I will... Read More

Writing an RFP (Request for Proposal)

A while back, a potential client provided me with some general details of... Read More

Negotiations: The Art, Science, & Sport of Online Deals

Negotiations can seem as complex as physics, and in fact, people go to college to... Read More

How Barter Can Help Your Business Online or Offline

How Barter Can Help Your BusinessBarter trade is a powerful instrument that represents a solution... Read More

The Most Powerful Persuasion Skill Youll Ever Learn

Criteria ElicitationThis is without a doubt the most important persuasion skill that you can learn.... Read More

Ask for More - You May Get More

If you are involved with sales, how do you feel when you hear phrases such... Read More

Games are a Reflection of Behavior

You are standing on a small stage yelling, "What's the name of the game?!""Win as... Read More

Negotiate Like a P.R.O.

Whether you're negotiating a peace settlement in a war-torn country or a peace settlement in... Read More

How To Communicate Using Space

What Is Proxemics?The study of the communicative aspects of personal space and territory is called... Read More

Four Ways To Work Out Business Disputes

Business owners have four options to resolve disputes with partners, vendors or customers. Each option... Read More

Cross Cultural Negotiations

Cross cultural negotiation is one of many specialized areas within the wider field of cross... Read More

Lets Make a Deal

Smart buyers will always ask for a better price. Unfortunately, too many sales people and... Read More

Negotiating Skills: Ask For More Than You Expect To Get

It creates some negotiating room, and you might just get what you're asking for.Whether playing... Read More

While Youre Waiting

Not long ago, I made a partnership pitch, on behalf of an organization I represent,... Read More

Negotiating: Forcing vs Compromising

Forcing is a hard-nosed approach that makes heavy demands from the outset. Emotions are displayed... Read More

Negotiating Tactics: How To Strike A Negotiable Opening Shot

There is no right or wrong to fire up your opening negotiation...There may be a... Read More

Negotiation: A Compromising Position

Negotiating is a hot topic these days for a good reason. It is difficult to... Read More

How To Deal With A Complainer

How To Deal With A ComplainerA Complainer Is Characterized by:1. Dissatisfaction in their personal life... Read More

Negotiating Tactics: Don?t Let ?Good Guy ? Bad Guy? Control the Sales Negotiation

Counter one of the classic negotiating gambits by addressing it directly.You've assembled a brilliant sales... Read More

Better Internal Proposals

A colleague of mine has a problem. We belong to the same association and he's... Read More

The Art of Haggling

Did you know that at one time in this country that there were no fixed... Read More

Barter and Its Benefits

What is Barter? Barter involves 2 parties. Each party wants to trade with each other... Read More

Can a Corporate Executive Really Use The Beautiful Mind; To guide decision making?

I would like to comment on the "A Beautiful Mind" movie and the book, which... Read More

Can a Service Be a Commodity

Well Enron dealt with this a little for instance an intangible such as the available... Read More

Neogtiation: How to be Right Without Making Other People Wrong

What exactly are we trying to accomplish by proving to others that we're right? We... Read More

Embarrassed To Discuss Your Prices? Seven Common Reasons We Cant Talk About Them

Last week, a wonderfully-skilled electrician installed a new light fixture for us. He was competent,... Read More

Managing the Sales Negotiation Process

How many times have you heard:"You've got to drop your price by 10% or we... Read More