What Is the Final Straw in a Partnership Dispute?
I get calls every day from people seeking advice for dealing with a partnership dispute. Sometimes, honestly speaking, it can be a little tough to find my footing because the situation is so bad. When you think of a partnership dispute, you probably picture a couple people arguing over money. Maybe you think of a situation where somebody isn’t pulling their weight in the business. That would be a pleasure for me to resolve!
I recently got a call that started out with a story about a partner refusing to pay a $600 credit card bill for business expenses that my caller had incurred. Well, $600 is hardly a cause for entering a mediation process. There’s a little more. Seems the partner who called me wasn’t being paid his share of the income. Okay, that’s pretty serious. How long has that been happening? 2 years. What???! Have you reviewed the books? There are no books. And the other partner has threatened my caller with physical violence. What?!!!
A reasonable person wouldn’t wait for a full out war before seeking some advice. Right?
No, not really.
You see, the reasonable person always thinks that things will get better. The reasonable person thinks that things can be worked out reasonably. But the situation gets worse and worse. It’s the reasonable person who often gets the short end of the stick. That should make sense. The unreasonable person doesn’t care about the anyone but himself. That unreasonable person will take advantage wherever they can without regard for the reasonable person.
I hate to see that happen but I understand how situations degrade. And there is nothing worse than trying to be a decent human being and facing criticism from friends and other professionals because “you let it go too far”. If you are in a very bad partnership situation with someone who is taking advantage of you, it’s not your fault. Yes, you need to act, but it’s not your fault. My office in the city was burglarized years ago and the police made me feel like it was my fault. “Why didn’t you have better locks on the windows?” This from the police who were supposed to protect me. It’s not the fault of the police any more than it was my fault. It was the fault of the people who broke in.
But here’s the thing. That break-in was the last straw for me. I got security cameras, alarms, and super locks on every door and window. That was my last straw.
This humble post is for all the reasonable people out there. Don’t wait until you’re robbed to deal with the unethical partner. Act as soon as you know things aren’t right. Sure, it’s hard. That’s why I am there to help. Just don’t wait until all you want is out. Act while you can recover what is rightfully yours. You’ll still be a reasonable person.
Chris Reich, TeachU