Be Careful About Making a Strategy
Strategy is often the biggest barrier to dispute resolution. When both parties start taking up positions for battle, battle follows. Before making a battle plan, make a peace plan.
If you find yourself in a dispute with a partner or business associate, don’t start an arms race. When talks start with ‘strategic’ threats, the other party will begin looking for their strongest battle arguments. This causes an unnecessary escalation in tension. Rather than getting your demands and threats on the table, start by gathering the facts and seeking input. If you can find any common ground, you will have a far better chance at finding a satisfactory resolution.
Shooting threats back and forth causes people to go into a defensive posture. Once that starts, talks stop and costs rise. The best battle plan is the plan that avoids battle. Nobody jumps into a legal fight thinking they will lose. Good lawyers always start by seeking a quick settlement. A good lawyer will always discourage you from entering a court fight because they know from experience that courts seek quick, fair, and non-controversial conclusions to disagreements. You can spend a ton of money only to be forced into a compromise you could have made $20,000 earlier!
So when there is a dispute, I propose that you gather facts and ask the other party to do their own fact finding. Get the facts on paper. Stop with the crazy demands and wild accusations. Put the facts on paper and look for common ground.
Can resolution always be reached by talking? No. Sometimes people are beligerant and/or irrational. It is still better to try to resolve the dispute before charging into a fight. It’s cheaper and smarter. The first step in your strategic plan should be trying to resolve your dispute peacefully. If you do end up in court, you’ll have the advantage by being the more rational party.
Chris Reich, TeachU