A key business skill for the twenty-first century is knowing how to manage conflict. Choose your conflicts as carefully as you choose your approach. In business, commitments are made to perform and we rely on each other to fulfill promises made. These commitments may be written or verbal. For the small business owner when a party fails to keep to those promises it can be costly to the business owner. Mediation can be an effective way to de-escalate seemingly irreconcilable differences.

Traditionally, in the event of a contract breach, one party will hire a lawyer and begin a negotiation process, which may or may not achieve any satisfactory resolution. The next step is usually a trip to the courthouse to file a lawsuit. However, there are inherent disadvantages for the business owner to engage in a court battle. Personal relationships built by the business owner may be ruined; the parties loss control of the process; business may be lost, and even mutual profit may be at stake. A skilled mediator can identify the underlying issues and guide the parties to a successful result so that the business and the business relationship may continue in the future.

When forming a business partnership put a mandatory early mediation clause in the contract. Early mediation is as a very effective way to resolve a dispute before the costs get out of hand. Many residential and commercial real estate purchases have an early mediation contract clause which prevents a party from being entitled to reasonable attorneys fees as the prevailing party unless that party agrees to an early mediation prior to the commencement of litigation or arbitration.

Mediation can be used for a multitude of disputed matters, such as divorce, business & business partnerships, insurance, Elder Care Issues, Estate-Planning, and HOA disputes. Contact a certified mediator before a conflict rises to the level of filing legal action or before the parties are unable to communicate.

Written by Noël Miner

Noël L. Miner of Linke Mediation, Inc., is Florida Supreme Court Certified in Circuit & Family Mediation and has been successfully resolving disputes in Florida since 1995. Please call (561) 301-5561 and visit www.LinkeMediation.com for information.

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