On occasion I like using similes to make a point or start conversation. So to start things off on dealing with differences in vision for business growth, let’s think about this:
“All Roads Lead To Rome” is like “There Are Many Ways To Reach A Business Goal.”
Are there many ways to grow a company? Of course there are. Just because you spend marketing dollars on Adwords versus traditional marketing doesn’t mean you will grow faster or slower. Hiring Employee A instead of Employee B could be a good decision or a horrible one.
People often look at these decisions only from the short term benefit or drawback, but how these decisions are made generally comes from underlying vision for the company as a whole.
In business, the debates behind closed doors on why moves are being made is generally how they fit into long term vision for the company. These arguments can lead to chasms between partners, employers and employees. Simple decisions create massive conflict.
Speed Of Growth
One of the most common sources of conflict is speed of growth. How aggressive should you be in marketing, gambles in expanding overhead vs cash-flow, or shifts in pricing structure.
Generally there can be logical argument for both sides of these debates. The more conservative want slow growth, the aggressive say “let the dice roll, we’ve got this.”
Unfortunately, in business there are opportunities presented which require quick, decisive action. While there may be no risk in refusing to take advantage of them, for entrepreneurs wanting to growth and expand quickly, not being able to get everyone on board to make a gamble creates doubt about the long term.
While you might compromise on one decision, when you see a competitor whoseized it and is reaping the benefits, disagreement on future decisions grows rapidly.
The evidence supports my decisions, why won’t they listen to me?
This will run through your mind over and over, until you find yourself rather irritated and speaking out with aggression.
Because the business is more than just a job to entrepreneurs, it’s amazing how quickly differences in opinion escalate into personal attacks. Rather than just debating until finding a good compromise, personal egos rise and it’s now my way or the highway.
Tensions rise, friendships are destroyed and business partnerships become fragile.
When clients, investors or employees begin to sense these conflicts, it’s a normal and quite frankly reasonable to lose confidence and begin looking for alternatives.
When these issues arise, you have 4 options You can either be adults on both sides and fine the right choice, or have no excuse for the outcome.
- Trust Your Partner
- Find Compromise
- Go Separate Ways
- Destroy Your Company
In my opinion, the only logical choice is a combination of trusting your partner and finding compromise. If this can’t be reached, then going separate ways is the only alternative. This doesn’t have to be abrupt, but if you don’t do this then destroying the company is going to happen.
It may take time, but your fall will be much more difficult to overcome, and can destroy opportunities for the future.
Turning Conflict Into Success
Having conflict is very normal in business. Arguments about the next steps in growth and finding agreement in what are the long term goals can be very hard, but it also provides an opportunity to build a stronger relationship.
If you are willing to put aside your ego and view these conflicts as a way to collaborate, finding an even better option is often the outcome. This just requires willingness of everyone involved to not always be right. To put the needs of the company and all those who follow you before your own.
When you do this, overcoming conflicts, finding better options and achieving success as a team becomes much more likely. It’s just a matter of suppressing ego.
All roads may lead to Rome, but aren’t road trips better with friends?
These are just a few things to think about in resolving business conflicts. Share your experiences and ways you’ve been able to solve problems. with others in the comments below!