Women In Business

Business goals must overcome a two-party system

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We’re knee-deep in election season, and no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there are some valuable business lessons it can teach us. The fact is everyone is different, and you’re going to run into issues with partners, investors, and even coworkers that don’t necessarily share all of the values and goals you do. How can you collaborate and work across the aisle to get the job done and continue to run a successful business?

Government vs opposition, men vs women, IT vs procurement…

We’re not here to talk about the party platforms and to discuss who is right or wrong, but you’ll have a similar division in your office, from issue to issue, and from task to task. Regardless, for things to happen in any nation, the two main parties must work together. Your business divisions won’t be based on political standing, but you’ll often have two or more parties arguing to get their way.

Compromise

The Affordable Care Act in the US, even with its faults, is a perfect example of compromise between the two parties to try and make it possible for everyone to have health insurance. If there’s a conflict in your office, it’s important to meet with all involved parties and discuss everything. Find out what people like, what people don’t like, and why. Then brainstorm solutions together.

No matter what the issue at hand, everyone in the company has a vested interest in the outcome. Learning what people like and don’t will make it easy to open the door to discuss alternatives.

For instance, if employees are upset because they want more vacation time, but there are concerns about how to cover it financially and handle staffing while people use the vacation time, it may be worth discussing a paid time off policy that allows people to earn a certain number of hours with each pay period. Then, those hours can be translated to either vacation or sick pay. It offers flexibility, and benefits corporate rather than giving X number of vacation days and X number of sick days. Some PTO programs also allow employees to donate hours to other employees.

Or, it may be time to visit the idea of offering an unlimited vacation policy, because with the freedom to take time off when they need it, employees are often more productive while they’re at work and less apt to cash in on the time off.

Don’t be afraid to turn to company data from your CRM and other sources to back up your points in company meetings. When you’re making your point about why something should go your way, data helps prove your point. But, be aware the other party can come back with equally impressive data to support their point. That’s exactly what presidential candidates do when they debate, and when politicians draft legislation.

What makes compromise effective?

Compromise is hard, and the complexity of the issue you’re working on can make it even harder. Ultimately, each party must walk away with something they’re happy about, but something they’re unhappy about – because if either party gets their way and the other party gets nothing, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Compromise helps potential disasters come to a quick settlement. Each party can save face, maintain their integrity, and walk away without feeling humiliated. Using compromise as part of conflict resolution helps build a company culture of tolerance. All parties will achieve at least a partial victory, and appreciate that all points of view are considered. Perhaps most importantly, there are times when parties will have equally strong points of view that can make it difficult to impossible to determine which party is “right.” Continuing to negotiate may not do anything to end the stalemate, but compromise can allow each party to give in and create a solution they can all live with. Ideally, all parties involved will give up something of equal value.

Conflicts are going to arise, and there will be disagreements on nearly every business issue. That’s just part of being a business owner. To keep your business running successfully, negotiation skills and compromise are necessary.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web.

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