Options, options, options
Resolving disputes in a small business is tricky, with little by way of options. The usual plays are thrown out as alternatives; sell the business, appoint an external administrator (the type will depend on the circumstances) or some form of court intervention.
Here’s why you should consider mediation first.
Mediation is a confidential process, unlike litigation where you bare all to the public. It is arguable confidentiality is in a company’s best interest (and as a corollary a director’s duty). Public knowledge may tarnish a company's reputation and value. Keeping conflicts private makes sense.
2. Providing options
Ideation is a bedrock tool for innovation. So to mediation. Mediation enables option generation. In mediation it is the business owners who determine which course of action is appropriate; the parties will construct and resolve their affairs. No one else.
3. Cost and time
We don’t have enough of either. Mediation is an alternative to costly litigation for example. Mediation will save money because it can bypass court fees and associated costs. Mediation can move quickly as the parties choose when to move forward rather than move to someone else’s schedule.
Following on from controlling time is flexibility. The parties can call on mediation at times when it works for the parties. Video conferencing mediation is also an option.
By far one of the key benefits. The parties control the outcome, not the court. Usually the court is about winning or setting principles. Mediation enables parties to find some common ground and develop an agreement that could even provide mutual benefits.
Of course not all matters will resolve themselves. One thing is certain, mediation and facilitation (before conflicts escalate) should be key interventions to be considered.