Successful startups and leaders see the value in identifying and taking the necessary steps to minimize risk early. They recognise that educating themselves in the skills they lack or hiring skilled employees and advisors are crucial measures for sustainable progression.
One risk that many startups fail to anticipate is the potential for fall out between business partners, managers and employees. Failing to implement mechanisms that prevent and manage fall out can be detrimental to the business. Fall out or destructive conflict in businesses often occurs over time rather than one single trigger event.
We found that the most common causes for fall out in expanding startups are:
Individuals don’t share the same vision and mission for the business
Individuals focus on personal issues instead of tasks and problem solving
Inability to have constructive ‘difficult’ conversations
Allowing negative emotions drive decision making
No awareness of workplace triggers – Overtime the inactions or actions of others trigger negative responses and behaviours
Lack of skills to effectively collaborate and manage relationships and negotiations
No dispute system design (DSD)
The period when startups often struggle with the absence of these mechanisms or efficient conflict management skills is when they are established, successful and gaining momentum to expand.
How can you minimise the negative effects of fall out early in the business?
We suggest that you:
- Carefully construct an effective dispute system design (DSD). This involves the process of identifying, designing, employing, and evaluating an effective means of resolving conflicts within the business. The DSD should be revised when the business expands.
- Upskill in conflict management techniques and styles. This begins with self-awareness of our own conflict style and workplace triggers.
- Create a competent conflict culture. Conflict is naturally uncomfortable but productive conflict focused on concepts and ideas is essential for any team to grow and manage challenges quickly.
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