How to Solve Conflicts with Your Business Partners by Developing Win-Win Agreements

All organizations have conflicts – within themselves and with other companies – and these conflicts have different origins: different values   and beliefs, emotional restlessness, perception of limited resources, and different goals.

Internal conflicts concern areas within the same business (for example, between marketing and finance), while external conflicts arise between an organization and its external stakeholders (suppliers, intermediaries, etc.). Some conflicts are heightened by a participant’s personal characteristics (eg personality) and others due to significant differences (eg quality, price).

Many techniques (negotiations, lawsuits, mediation, etc.) have been developed to resolve this conflict.

Business conflict harms relationships, which are an organization’s most important asset. From a traditional point of view, deviations are seen as a constant issue: a participant only gains a larger share if it is at the expense of the other’s part. This fear-based scarcity mentality manifests itself in many ways, such as the fear of losing resources, the fear of not being right, and the fear of being controlled.

The existence of the conflict implies the perception of each participant that he is separate from the other. Both parties generally prefer the “right to be entitled” to the duty to care for others. But most conflicts can be resolved smoothly, or even avoided altogether, with adequate communication and an open mind.

Companies that successfully resolve conflicts act on noble principles (for example, Compassion, Care, Forgiveness, Gratitude, etc.) and prioritize the human aspects of each participant during the negotiation process and maintain and strengthen their own business relationships.

Companies should use the following communication techniques to avoid disagreements.

  • Express your needs in clear and simple language. Whenever possible, use positive vocabulary and focus on what you want – avoid arguing about what you don’t want.
  • Invite others to communicate your needs openly. Acknowledge other people’s opinions (“I appreciate your comments; thanks for letting me know.”).
  • Avoid reading minds or guessing the opinions and preferences of others. Use open-ended questions, paraphrases, explanations, and summaries to clearly understand others’ comments.
  • Encourage your friends to develop their ideas with phrases like: “Tell me about …” Listen actively – focus on their comments and don’t interrupt. Be curious, even in difficult times.
  • Look for similarities between the participants. Of course, those who mention their similarities tend to consider others.
  • Do not ignore the conflict or wait for it to be resolved over time. See conflict as an opportunity to learn from each other.
  • Try to interpret other people’s comments from a positive perspective. When a person makes a harmful observation, you should describe it from a positive point of view. Suppose others have the best intentions and want to reach an agreement.
  • Use words that imply a relationship between the participants – for example, “let’s go”, “we”, “we” and “we”. If possible, exclude words like “me”, “mine” or “mine”.
  • Do not use manipulative strategies, such as false ultimatums and deadlines, strategies that prevent participants from reaching an agreement.
  • Recognizes the emotions of others; let them express them openly. Be empathetic with the emotional states of others and use phrases like “You feel like you are …” To avoid a potentially devastating climb, suggest taking a break when emotions arise.
  • Avoid a defensive position. Do not respond mutually to aggressive comments. Identify your emotions regularly and calmly express them with phrases like “I feel …” without blaming others.
  • Avoid personalizing the conflict (for example, by discussing personal characteristics). Personal conflict can increase.
  • Deal with conflict in a good mood whenever possible. When participants experience positive emotions, they develop more creative solutions.