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The Breaking Point: What to do when business partners can’t get along

Updated: Aug 27, 2018


Many businesses have two or more partners to set a company’s strategic direction and manage day-to-day operations. While there are advantages of having differing opinions to chart the right path for a company or raise capital to grow, there’s also a big risk.

What if the partners can’t agree?

It doesn’t matter how important the issue. Whether it’s due to differences in philosophy, strategy or even corporate policy, partners who are not aligned can create silos, pit employees against each other or let emotions get in the way of important decisions. These harmful scenarios undermine progress and may even jeopardize the future of the business.

Let’s say two partners are stymied. It could be over a small, seemingly inconsequential matter. But how do you start to bridge the gap to get the principals back on the same page?

Enter the power of negotiation. When executed properly, negotiation can solve most problems, providing two or more parties are willing to suspend their spat to understand each other’s position.

Creating the optimal conditions to negotiate One: De-escalate the conflict

It doesn’t take much to drive a wedge between partners. For example, a client’s two principals, both successful business people, were diametrically opposed over a simple but divisive corporate policy. Unable to address the issue head on, they allowed the gap to become a canyon. They weren’t talking, and no decisions were being made.