The Last Straw – Staring at the End of a Business Owner Relationship

This is about the last straw. We all know the saying “it is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Think about when you have said “that is the last straw,” the next thing you did was emotional. Often an emotional response is harmful to a relationship. With respect to your relationship with other business owners, think about what it would be that would make you say “that is the last straw.” Think about it and visualize it, because you should do everything you can to avoid that situation. Being in that situation may cause you to react with a harmful emotional response that will do traumatic and possible terminal damage to your business owner relationship.

So what should be done to avoid ever getting to the last straw situation?

A business owner dispute occurs when decisions made by each owner conflict. For a group decision to be made, there must be a consensus of individual owner decisions. The resolution of differences in individual owner decisions is essential to effective group decision-making. If the attempted resolution of these differences involves an argument about conclusions, the chances of resolving the dispute defaults to an exercise of power as opposed to a resolution of differences. The dominant owner prevails. For a variety of reasons, this form of resolving the differences in decisions is not effective or sustainable; moreover, it is likely to produce the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The decision-making process begins with learning. Knowledge is gained by research and consultation with independent and affected parties. Then the decision should be made with logic, reason, and common sense. The underlying foundation for this two-step process is the value system of the decider.

In group decision making, if individual decisions vary or conflict, the decision-making processes used should be compared not the conclusions reached by that process. Arguing about conclusions does not lead to consensus, but comparing decision-making processes will lead to consensus.

When decision-making processes are compared and the decisions differ, a review of the knowledge base and the values base for the decision will likely reveal the reason for the differing conclusions.

The knowledge base is the most easily reviewed. It is straightforward to determine if the data and evidence for each decision process is the same.

A comparison of the values upon which each decision was made is much more difficult. Do the business owners as deciders have the ability to articulate the values on which the decision was based? Often they do not. If the owners can articulate their values, a traumatic emotional response is less likely.

Businesses capable of making effective group decisions are successful businesses. In those businesses, the owners have been able to articulate the values upon which the decisions have been made. When differing decisions arise, the processes of decision-making are compared rather than having arguments over conclusions. Where the values upon which the decisions are made are known, a harmful emotional reaction from an owner is less likely.

Values discussions are difficult and are even more difficult if emotional issues are preventing effective communication. My work is to help businesses get out of these situations and establish effective group decision-making.