The newsLINK Group - Problem Solving When the Stakes Are High

Editorial Library Category: General Business Topics: Problem Solving Title: Problem Solving When the Stakes are High Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Owning a business has many advantages, but there are downsides as well. As a business owner, you need to protect yourself from many things, which interestingly includes the potential for being sued. Editorial: Problem Solving When the Stakes are High 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Owning a business has many advantages, but there are downsides as well. As a business owner, you need to protect yourself from many things, which interestingly includes the potential for being sued. According to the website, Common Good, each year, 15 million civil cases are filed in the U.S., which corresponds to one new lawsuit every 2 seconds and one lawsuit for every 12 adults. The robust litigation market in the U.S. costs the economy $233 billion per year. According to Tort Liability Costs for Small Business, a 2010 study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, small businesses paid $105.4 billion in expenses related to lawsuits in 2008. So, how do you protect yourself from potential lawsuits? Doing this requires a combination of preparedness and problem solving. You cannot foresee every possible area that might cause a lawsuit, but you can do your best to find and fix potential targets for lawsuits. The very least expensive cases of all are the ones that are resolved well in advance of a court date. As a result, one of the things that many good lawyers would like all of their clients to know is the fine art of staying out of court by preventing conflict. Understanding Conflict and Why It’s Hard for Most People From earliest childhood, people are generally taught to get along with other people. There are subjects (politics and religions spring immediately to mind) that some people won’t even discuss in a social setting for fear of creating conflict. At school, at work, or in any other situation where conflict could potentially develop, the expectation is that everyone might not be friends, but they ought to at least keep things civil on the surface. Failing to do so can have serious consequences, such as a suspension at school or a negative entry in an employee file at work. For most people, what that means as a direct result is plenty of experience trying to treat others with civility and respect in formal settings, but little or no training in dealing with conflict, especially when the person you are talking to is angry and aggressive. It isn’t hard to deal with those who like us and who are treating us in a friendly way. When serious disagreements come up, however, the situation is immediately more challenging. Even for those who have training, angry people can be hard to handle. They aren’t thinking rationally, and they often don’t fight a fair fight. If they can engage you emotionally, you can find yourself behaving in ways that are irrational and unfair, too. An Inescapable Business Reality Unfortunately, business does inevitably involve conflict sometimes. If the conflict escalates to the point of going to court: It distracts managers and employees from doing their work. It can damage business relationships with vendors and clients. It can hurt the reputation of any business that is involved, which in turn can scare off any number of people: consumers, investors, potential partners, groups involved with industry oversight, and even company employees. Conflict can have a negative effect on a company’s livelihood now and in the future. In an ideal world, therefore, any intelligent person will try very hard to avoid letting any business conflict get out of hand. But sometimes businesses just don’t have a choice. Why, then, do so many cases involving businesses end up in court? There are several reasons, all of which can be traced back to the fact that businesses are run by people, and people have weaknesses: