Conflicts within a business are always difficult but more so when it’s a family business. Family dynamics and histories inevitably factor into the conflict. Sometimes, the root of the dispute may not even be in the business itself, but in something that occurred between family members. In these complicated disagreements, it’s not only business interests at stake but irreplaceable family relationships as well.
Mediation is a valuable tool that helps family-owned businesses resolve their internal conflicts. It is a dispute resolution method where an independent, neutral mediator facilitates discussions between parties so they can find a mutually acceptable resolution. The process is private and informal. At the end of a successful mediation, the disputing parties will have a non-binding settlement that they crafted together.
There are several benefits that make mediation ideal for a family business, before their dispute escalates into legal battles:
- Mediating parties control the result. Unlike arbitration or court litigation, mediation lets the disputing parties decide together on their most agreeable outcome. The mediator does not judge or impose a decision, but only guides them on what their options are. Thus, mediating parties decide what’s best for them, as opposed to having an outsider judge or arbitrator give an order.
- Mediation eases tension. Emotions tend to run high when siblings, parents, or relatives argue. Mediation encourages them to communicate in a less adversarial, more constructive manner, keeping the focus on finding solutions to the business matter at hand. In this way, mediation can help preserve familial bonds that would otherwise be damaged in bitter legal disputes.
- Mediation is quick and cost-effective. A typical mediation process barely takes a day to conclude, with most cases lasting only a few hours. It is also much more affordable than courtroom litigation, as licensed mediators only charge a small hourly fee. This is advantageous for business operators whose time and money must be spent wisely.
There are many professional mediators who specialize in business conflicts, but a family-owned company is best served by a mediator with background in family situations as well. Remember, personal factors often have a significant impact in family business disputes. Your mediator must demonstrate competence in handling both business technicalities and family dynamics.
The mediators at Kanter & Ostler Mediation have successfully mediated professional disputes among families and relatives. With a strong background in law and psychology, we are adept in technical business situations while staying perceptive of family dynamics.
Contact us at (619) 304-2244 today to see if your family business dispute would be a good fit for mediation.