PARENTING & CHILDREN - PART 2: Yesterday I talked about parents who are co-parenting. Today I want to talk about co-parenting and dating. Many time parents enter into a dating relationship while they are co-parenting. They want the children to use the term mom and dad when there is already a real mom and dad, and disputes between the two real parents escalate because of these terms. I have had to mediate this issue in co-parenting mediation. The other issue is when the real parent wants their new relationship to step in an discipline, suggest discipline, of their child.
Sometimes the child is a troubled child, will not listen to parents, gets their way, and puts the BF/GF in a negative view by the child. No BF/GF wants to be the bad cop in the relationship, it will destroy the relationship every single time. The BF/GF may get frustrated because the child abuses the parent relationship, because they know they can through guilt or aggressive behavior, an no correction is done by the parent. Thus, more frustration to their BF or GF. I have seen this happen.
Many times when individuals are co-parenting and they have a BF/GF they try to inject themselves in the process of co-parenting mediation process. I have to tell the two parents, in fact it is in my mediation agreement, that the only two people that can make a decision in the mediation process are the parents, no outside parties (including relatives) should be involved. What we talk about is confidential conversations and decisions made only by the parents. We have had to put this in our mediation agreements because since we do zoom mediation sessions, there may be other people in the room that are not part of the mediation process.
The parenting of the child is the responsibilities of the parents only, that why it is called co-parenting. Don't get your significant others involved in the child's life until you say "I Do" and you are united in the family home life. It is very important that parents have in place a co-parenting plan so everyone knows the rules and can visit the plan from time to time in mediation. www.lodge-co.com
PARENTING AND CHILDREN: My Mom always repeated this verse to me - "As the scripture teaches, `Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ' (Prov. 22:6.) Now I understand why there were rules in the home and discipline when the rules were broken. I broke some of the rules and I remember the outcome. Even to this day if I am tempted to do something I shouldn't, I am certain she has a switch and will use it on me. Good children come from strong moms.
Today I see too many divorces where children are involved and rules get put to the side because the parent doesn't want to be the bad parent. This creates conflict and the child gets to rule, they learn how to play the game of guilt against both parents. Until both parents set the rules and agree to them, so there is consistency, the same problems will always be there. Oh, the child will say sorry, but they use sorry to still get what they want. And the parents send messages through the parent creating greater conflict and anger.
Both parents need to sit down with a mediator and work out a parenting plan. Families don't divorce, only adults do. If you don't have a parenting plan in place, the rules are understood, and the child understands the rules, conflict will continue. - Michael Lodge - Certified Mediator
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP: I sat down this past week with a family owned business to discuss the father retiring and who would take over the business. I enjoy these types of mediations because it allows the individuals involved in the business to plan an exit strategy in a peaceful state of mind. It also allows the business to plan for a key member leaves or dies.
In the past I have done succession mediation where no one wanted to take over the business and the just wanted to walk away, person emotions and past history was the main cause. However, last week I had very bright individuals that knew what they wanted done and to formalize it through mediation. I love business. I have owned so many businesses myself and knew what I wanted to do with the business and when to exit through a sale or close.
The process of meeting in mediation and working with the family and management members of the business creates a path to leaving and finding a new path. If you have a small or large business, mediate a succession plan. Makes it a lot easier in the end.
1. Start Early
Business is highly competitive, so the most talented employees will have a number of options available to them. Even more so with the rise of remote working and the ability to work from anywhere. 30% of CEO departures are unplanned, and sudden departures of senior leaders causes disruptive ripples throughout a business. Succession planning is one of the safest ways to reduce the issues caused by a sudden departure. Succession planning allows you to preserve and pass key knowledge before a critical employee leaves. It's important to get feedback on succession plans from senior management.
Early planning allows you to iron out any issues as early as possible. Consider the busy nature of senior employees and potentially strong personalities. Start early and give yourself time to sort out issues, disagreements, and organise training in time for any abrupt departures!
2. Prioritise The Most Critical Roles
You’ll need to decide which roles will be prioritised. Succession plans tend to focus on the most senior positions, but you’ll also want to consider succession plans for specialist roles and pools of talent. Are there key employees who may not be very senior, but the lack of their specialist knowledge and skills will disrupt the company? Technical roles such as full stack developers or machinery operators are often critical to smooth work processes.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding which roles are the top priority for succession planning:
After this you should have a key idea of the top roles to succession plan for first.
3. Promotion or New Hire
Employees are more likely to stay at companies where they know there’s opportunities for advancement and training. 94% of employers have reported seeing a positive impact on employee engagement due to their succession plan. 90% of 18 to 34 year olds find that knowing their company has a succession plan in place for employees improves their engagement.
Knowing these statistics, it's important to communicate your plans with your employees clearly, as it gives them something to aspire to. And with the high costs of hiring, it's important that your succession plans are linked to your talent pipeline plan.
Sometimes internal employees don’t always make the best fit for senior positions. You might want someone with external senior experience and a fresh point of view. In either case, you’ll want to set up a training plan for the new or promoted employee.
4. Training and Mentoring
As varied as humans are, it's difficult to find the perfect person to fit any role. 81% of HR leaders have found that the number one reason a potential successor wasn’t a right fit, was because they weren’t ready. This is why it's important to consider the development roadmap for the position. Decide which skills are key and what you can compromise on. Creating room for training and mentoring allows the new individual to bring in their own individuality and creativity to the role.
The most successful succession plans have high involvement from leadership and other managers. These leaders hold institutional information that should be passed on to other employees. Create a mentoring programme that allows your senior employees to guide your employees into future positions is an effective strategy. Mentors will share their knowledge with an employee who is eager to learn, and help them improve their leadership skills. This works to connect employees across departments, creating a more cohesive workplace. It's a great opportunity for employees to develop their leadership skills from experienced leaders.
5. Allow Room For Flexibility
Finally, one of the most important aspects of succession planning is allowing room for change. As businesses change, so will the needs and requirements of every role.
Employees may leave, some employees will need to spend more time on training programms than others, other employees may benefit from more than one mentor etc. It's normal for these things to be discovered at a later date. This is why we emphasize starting succession planning early, as it enables you to create an adaptable plan that acknowledges that businesses change, team sizes can grow and shrink, as can employee responsibilities.
Get feedback from the appropriate parties and communicate plans with your employees and you’ll be on the road to creating an effective succession plan that improves employee engagement and sets a standard for future succession plans!
#disputeresolution #conflictresolution #conflictmanagement #separation #successionplanning #planning #business #management #strategy
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP: I have had so many requests from Grandparents to help mediate issues between their children and grandchildren. Sometimes there are breakups in the family, something happens or was said, and they never resolved the issue. Conflict needs to be resolved quickly, or it will drag on, get bigger, and harder to resolve. There are groups out there trying to help grandparents who have been cut out of their grandchildren's lives. When I talk with them I can hear the pain and real desire to see their grandchildren. It's a painful situation when there is a breakup in families. If you have a family breakup, call in a mediator to help resolve the issues, set rules, but try and open the communication within the family.
There is an excellent group out there called "Grand Kids Matter". https://grandkidsmatter.org/ If your a grandparent, sign up for their newsletter. It is a great site to help you become a better grandparent, even being a grandparent takes work on developing solid relationship.
One of the issues is the custodial grandparent. I have a couple come into mediation relating to their custodial grandparent role of the two grandchildren. However, both grandparents were divorced and did not like each other, but they were the custodial grandparents and needed to work out issues between the two of them to raise their grandchildren. Here is a good link for you who are custodial grandparents: https://grandkidsmatter.org/category/hot-topics/custodial-grandparents/
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP: Many of us have family members that are in a healthcare situation where they are being cared for at home through caregiving, or are in adult living facilities, skilled nursing facilities where other people are caring for your loved ones. I have seen many issues in mediation where elder care is a vital priority for family members and the patient. Mediation is used often times, more and more, to resolve patient care disputes. I see it in my practice all the time. Since I have been in the healthcare industry and advising healthcare companies on various issues that arise, the patient care disputes are advised to go through mediation and to an agreement on the issues of patient care and elder abuse.
Here is a good article on elder care and using mediation to settle conflicts and disputes: www.nextavenue.org/can-family-mediation-help-if-youre-arguing-with-your-siblings-about-mom-or-dad/
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - I mediate family issues that involve the process of separation, parenting plans and divorce and there are a lot of times I can see that people want to know the process of mediation and how it will affect their lives. But they seldom ask are they ready for divorce and what to think about in making that decision. I found a very good article on mediate.com so I have provided you with the 8 questions you should ask before deciding to separate and divorce. I hope this helps you in your decision process. www.lodge-co.com
By Bruce Derman, Wendy Gregson - Your marriage is in question and you're facing a real dilemma. You may be the one who is deciding should you stay or should you go.
"I feel like I need to get a divorce and end this so called marriage. Yet how can I be sure? Some days I feel more confident of my decision than others. A part of me still loves him or at least I care for him. I don't think I am in love with him, but what if I make a mistake. A lot of people will be affected by what I decide. Maybe I should not rush ahead with this. That's amusing since I have been thinking about it for three years. This whole thing wouldn't even be an issue and I could forget about this divorce, if he would just change his behavior."
Or you may be the one who has just heard that your spouse wants a divorce.
"Divorce? Where did that come from? Two weeks ago we were talking about a vacation in the mountains. I had no idea our marriage was this awful? I am shocked and devastated. I have got to find a way to put a stop to this. Maybe this is all a dream and when I wake up things will be back to normal."
Most books and articles on divorce are written based on the assumption that once a couple says they want a divorce that they are ready for divorce. It is our experience as therapists and divorce coaches, who have helped many people through this process that this is in fact not the case. Usually when couples begin the divorce process, either one but more often than not, both, are not really ready for the divorce.
Divorce professionals such as therapists, mediators and attorneys often believe that statements such as, "I've had it with him." or "My feelings have died for her," are indicators that the marriage is over. Attorney's often equate being hired for their services as an indicator that the couple is ready to divorce. This is not so.
Most couples who begin a divorce are unprepared and are often not even on the same page when they begin. It is this lack of preparedness and readiness for a divorce that either causes marriages to end prematurely or divorces to deteriorate into competitive contests. The decision to obtain a divorce is one of the most crucial decisions a person can make with consequences that last for years or a lifetime. A decision this important requires much greater attention than it is usually given by both couples and professionals. It is a process in and of itself. Once a couple is prepared and ready, they will sooner be able to begin their divorce by both being on the same page and this will eliminate most of the emotional and financial struggles that cause divorces to become adversarial and ruthless.
The reason many people do not even think about getting ready for a divorce is because they operate under the assumption that the sooner you can get out of a stressful situation the better. So there is a natural tendency for people who are in difficult marriages to want to get the divorce over with as quickly as possible in order to move on with their lives. Family and friends often encourage this as well. They hurt for the family and so also prescribe to the myth that the quicker the divorce is over, the sooner everything will return to normal. But unfortunately in most cases just the opposite happens. Couples who make rushed decisions to leave the marriage have had no time to evaluate their feelings, thoughts or options. As a result they are unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the complicated legal system and the many life changing decisions that they need to make. Quite often they make agreements which they cannot sustain, and instead of the situation getting better, they often find that they have just traded one set of problems for another. So it is no wonder that they often get tangled up in lengthy court cases and the very thing they hoped for, a quick divorce, often takes years.
This article outlines what couples need to do in order to face the numerous dilemmas that are inherent in divorce. A dilemma implies that you are torn between two choices, each of which have undesirable fearful elements. If people have not resolved their dilemmas before the divorce, they go through the process trying to manage their fear in different ways by hiding their doubt, responsibility; vulnerability, or dependency.
Whether a couple is starting the divorce process or even just contemplating a divorce, they need to first identify with the following divorce dilemmas.
The Three Divorce Dilemmas
Couples who are facing the possibility of a divorce face one of three dilemmas:
1. I want the divorce, but I am not sure if it is the right decision. Since going through a divorce impacts the lives of your children, as well as your lifestyle, economics, and marital investment, the pressure to make the "perfectly correct" decision is enormous. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. The best case scenario is to make a decision that is not emotionally based, nor driven by your ego.
2. I do not want the divorce, my spouse does. Being in this reactive place will leave you feeling out of control and a helpless victim. You will experience intense emotional devastation, as your life will be changing before your eyes without you having any say in the outcome. In addressing this dilemma you need to ask yourself if you are clinging to staying on familiar, safe ground and to a marriage based on illusions. It is not easy to acknowledge and confront the problems in a marriage, when you are feeling so hurt by your partner.
3. I only want this divorce because my marriage is not working. If this is your dilemma, then you will want to avoid responsibility at all costs by seeing your partner to blame for the demise of the marriage. There will be tremendous preoccupation and anger about how your partner caused you to make this decision. The amount of noise generated from this blaming will be in direct proportion to your unwillingness to risk expressing any of your own fears and sadness. If this doesn't occur, the divorce proceedings to follow will be riddled with tension and conflict, and a continuation of the blaming.
The common element in all three dilemmas is fear. In the first group there is a fear of making a mistake and being incorrect, the second will hide from it by denying that there are any problems or admitting their attachment to the familiar and the third group will fear any accountability and softness. The result in all three circumstances will be dragging, combative, and back and forth divorces.
For divorce to be a collaborative and respectful process, the couple must be prepared and ready to separate their lives on all levels; legally, practically and emotionally. To do this each person must face their divorce dilemma by answering the following 8 questions.
The 8 Questions
1. Do you still have feelings for your partner?
Many people who say they want a divorce still have strong feelings for their partner, but due to an ongoing power struggle in the relationship there is a lack of intimacy and closeness. If this is you, it is best that you work on your relationship prior to deciding to divorce otherwise your feelings of loss will overwhelm you and you may find yourself worse off after the divorce than you are now.
Celine had been married for seven years to a man she loved, who she considered to be a real sweet, gentle guy. However, she was very unhappy about their financial arrangement. She was the responsible one who paid all the expenses, while he seemed to be forever getting them further into debt. She was very stressed and miserable and saw divorce as her only way out of the financial strain she was under. But because of her feelings for him she was not able to support such a decision or even set a clear boundary, for fear of losing the relationship. With the help of her therapist, Celine recognized that she either needed to either set a clear boundary and be willing to lose the relationship, or else accept that all her hassling was a waste of time.
2. Were you ever really married?
To be really married a couple must have created a relationship that included an "us" or a "we." Many people who are considering a divorce have never had a marriage that was anything more than two individuals meeting their own needs. They may have raised children and shared a home but they participated in those activities from a competitive rather than unified position. They would ask -- "Do I want to do this or that", rather than ask "Is this good for us?" If you have not developed a genuine "we" in your relationship this would be the time to either commit to learning how to do that or to admit that you have never really had a marriage.
Even as a therapist who works in the area of divorce, I had a very difficult time admitting that my own marriage of fourteen years was in fact in name only, regardless of the years that we lived under the label of husband and wife. Our pattern was to threaten to break up every few months, and we had a daily ritual of fighting, and agreements that rarely lasted more than a week. I used to joke to my wife that she needed to keep her bags packed just in case she needed to leave quickly. This pattern remained despite the numerous counseling offices we attended. It was not until I was able to acknowledge to myself that I was neither single nor married, that I was in fact nowhere, did any real change occur. We started the real divorce process two months later.
3. Are you truly ready for divorce or are you just threatening?
Divorce is often threatened, especially in heated marital arguments for the following reasons;
Out of anger and frustration.
People who consistently threaten divorce lose credibility with themselves and their partner. If the person is not merely threatening, but is genuinely ready for a divorce, they can sustain the following thought in their own mind, "That I wish to close a chapter of my life, because I am at peace with the fact that there is no more that I can do or give to this relationship." They will discuss this appropriately with their spouse without any blame.
4. Is this a sincere decision based on self awareness or is it an emotionally reactive decision?
To be ready to divorce your partner means being able to make a clear, unemotional decision that you can support over time. Divorce means being able to let go of all strong emotional attachments to the other person, the loving ones as well as the hostile and hurtful ones. Emotionally charged decisions do not last and if acted on do not resolve the underlying problem. People who divorce out of anger stay angry even after the divorce is over.
A woman came to see me as her divorce coach after she had been divorced for five years because she was still struggling with the effects of her divorce. Her problem was that she was still feeling rage toward her ex husband and found her self hating him on a weekly basis. I said to her, "It sounds like you are still married." She insisted that this was incorrect due to the hatred she had for him. I responded that the hate she was experiencing essentially reflected a great passion toward him despite her hateful label, which I doubted any current man could match. I stated that only someone who is married could have such a passion. From that moment on she began to emotionally detach from her ex husband and work towards, with the help of the coaching, a real divorce.
A statement that would indicate that you are making a sincere, rather than an emotionally reactive decision is, "I acknowledge that you are a person in your own right with your own personality, hopes and dreams, I can respect you for that, but I no longer want to be married to you."
To be ready for divorce is to have a lower emotional attachment to the person you are separating from, other wise, the divorce process itself will be roller coaster of intense feelings, including anger, distrust and hurt.
5. What is your intent in wanting a divorce?
Any agenda, other than ending the marriage, is an indication that you are not ready to divorce. If you are hoping that through the divorce the other person will change and start treating you better, realize how much they have lost or pay for how much they have hurt you, you are getting a divorce for the wrong reason. Divorce has no power to right wrongs nor change people's hearts and minds. Divorce can only do one thing, end a marriage, and in so doing free each person to make new attachments to new people.
6. Have you resolved your internal conflict over the divorce?
Everyone who goes through a divorce is conflicted. People can feel guilty at the same time as they are sure that they want to end the relationship. Or they can feel betrayed and at the same time recognize that their life will be better once they are out of the relationship. Recognizing the conflict and owning that different parts of you will be struggling with the impact of divorce, at different times, is part of the process of getting ready for divorce.
Rick was having the hardest time deciding what to do about his marriage. For the longest time he claimed that he was confused, conflicted, and torn. He couldn't seem to feel at peace being in the marriage or in leaving. His wife was verbally beating him up over his indecisiveness, often calling him a wimp. As his therapist, I asked to speak to the part of him who wanted out and I told him I didn't want to hear from any other part. He started to speak quite clearly about feeling no passion for his wife, but within a minute he began to hedge this voice with statements like "She is a good mother or she is dependable." Each time he would attempt to dilute in this way, I would have to say that I only wanted to hear from the voice that wants "out." As the wanting "out" voice became more and more expressive, he began to visibly sweat. I asked "What is happening?" Finally, he said, "I am feeling guilty." Where is that coming from?," I asked He said, "I made a promise that I would never follow the path of my father who left my mother." With this opposing voice sorted out and clarified, he was no longer confused. He was able to see that this old promise to himself was in conflict with his present desire to end his marriage. As he continued to work through those two opposing parts of himself he was finally able to make a decision that he felt at peace with and three months later he began the divorce proceedings.
7. Can you handle the unpleasant consequences of divorce?
Divorce brings change and grief because it is the loss of the "happy family" dream. Hurts , disappointments, loneliness, failure, rejection, inadequacy can all take hold of the psyche when we are in this extremely vulnerable passage. To be ready for the ups and downs of divorce it is necessary to have a support system of family and friends who will be there to help you emotionally and practically when needed.
One of the hardest consequences of divorce is needing to face another person's pain, be it your children's, your family or friends because divorce affects so many people's lives. If you are the one choosing they divorce you will have to hold on to your decision and the ending of your marriage in the face of all these people and circumstances. If you are the one who does not want the divorce, but your spouse wants to proceed, you will still need to get ready to accept the following consequences of a failed marriage. To know if you are ready, ask yourself if you are prepared for the following changes;
I recall one woman who was totally bored with her one dimensional passive husband and she expressed what seemed like a very strong desire to leave him after 20 years of marriage. Each time she would tell me that she was going to tell him she wanted to separate, she would back off long before she got home. To help her recognize her own struggle we made a list of the consequences of divorce, and the one thing she said she could never accept was the fact that her kids would hate her for leaving their father. She said she could not risk that, no matter how bored she was. Once she owned that this unpleasant consequence of her divorcing him would be more than she could stand, she was able to think of other ways to resolve the problem of being bored in her marriage. Over time she became more independent and started to travel and develop interests of her own.
8. Are you willing to take control of your life in a responsible and mature way?
Whether you are the one who wants the divorce or the one who is having to respond to your spouse wanting the divorce both situations have one thing in common, the marriage is ending. How people respond to this fact determines the type of divorce and future they will have. They can come from a position of bitterness, revenge or helplessness or they can negotiate for their future from a position of strength, understanding and respect.. The attitude you choose will determine the type of divorce you have. Your options are as follows: You can make Agreements that:
Protect your rights only or Respect your spouse's rights too
Are only good for you or Are good for everyone
Give your spouse less or Give your spouse what is rightfully theirs
Do not inconvenience you or Work well for everyone
Need frequent court hearings to enforce or Need no court hearings to enforce
It is our experience that people who prepare themselves by first addressing all 8 questions are more likely to have a collaborative divorce. By starting the process in this way they are much better able to make lasting agreements with each other, resolve their difficulties and develop parenting plans that both supports the children and respects each other's rights.
Bruce Derman Ph.D. and Wendy Gregson LMFT have extensive experience in helping couples obtain a Better Divorce through preparation, collaboration, and effective negotiation.
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - I ran a LinkedIn survey that asked the question if you had experiences conflict in the workplace due to politics. 60% reported there was conflict in their workplace due to politics. Mediation has seen cases where people wanted other people fired because they didn't like the other person's political views.
Companies of all sizes need to do better at having workplace policies that address politics being brought into the office. Conflict costs businesses billions of dollars every year, and non-productive time lost. Address conflict quickly before it grown and hurts the reputation and work of employees. Bring in a certified mediator to help you address this workplace conflict. www.lodge-co.com - Certified Mediators.
#workplace #employment #conflict #dispute #business #smallbusiness #politics #USA #american
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP: At the end of the year, I went down memory lane of what I have done throughout the years and started to plan for in 2020. At the end of my life trip, I saw that I had a great amount of experience to share. It is why I have become a good mediator because I have experienced a lot. Some good and some bad, and the tough times is what has taught me a lot about dealing with issues, problems, conflicts, etc. I would not trade those experiences with anything. There were times that I honestly told myself, I may not make it. With conflicts there comes mental and emotional drain, which wears you out so that you do not realize that what you are going through is a good lesson and at some point, you will share that experience through counsel with a friend or client to help them. At some point in your life, you will teach someone what you have learned.
In our business or personal life, the process is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy. In my past I have had a lot of remarkably interesting experiences that I have had to deal with, I have met people who have gone through a lot in their life who have taught me. I listened, I adapted, and I moved forward. For me as a mediator in business issues, I have learned that my most experience skill was to listen. In my past business experience my most important experience was to listen, think and then respond. When people were at the negotiating table, pounding on the table, using the obscenest language ever, my experience told me to listen, stay on point, and get everyone to the point they are listening and thinking about options. But the most important was to listen. Many times, people have walked away from heated discussions and objections, to listening and considering the option put on the table. Some even walked away wanting to do more work with their former opponent.
The experiences I have had in running and owning my own companies have taught me a lot. Especially during a crisis. The biggest crisis in my life taught me so much about listening and remaining silent, asking the right questions, never responding in anger. Well, not all the time. I have tried my best. But to get back on point, the toughest decisions I have had to make was during a crisis and the most I learned was during that time. When you are challenged with an adverse event, learn from it. As I said before that event will teach you and you will be able to pass on your experience and advice to someone else in the future. I know I have, repeatedly.
Now there will be some experiences you will only watch and observe and find out who in the experience are the ones to stay away from. I will give you a good example of an experience that I had no control over, but I learned who the bad players were. At one point in my business, I represented top boxer in the world, the boxer on tax issues. I had flown to the Philippines to meet with him and his legal staff. When you deal with high profile people you usually end up sit and wait for them to call you to sit down for a meeting. About 10:00 p.m. we got the call to go and meet him at a studio where he was filming a commercial. We zoomed and went into this old broken-down building with a sound state in it. We were lead upstairs and told to wait. I sat down at a table with the President of a TV station in the Philippines. As we waited one of the boxers managers came in and walked by. However, an actor was sitting at another chair, and he hated this guy. The actor got up and threw the first punch to the Manger, then one picked the other one up and threw him onto the table I was sitting at. Blood was flying and fists were pounding each other. Now this was an interesting story, and the drama of the room. When it was my turn to sit down with Manny on his taxes suddenly there was a crowd around us to listen to what I had to say. These people were part of the tax problem and the threats started flying at me. I sat there and listened, watched, and learned very quickly who the people in the room were that you could not trust, and I knew I had to change my approach when dealing with Manny. This however is a widespread problem when dealing with high profile clients, everyone wants to get in on the action and pretend they know something when they don't know anything. You learn by listening, watching, and make sure these experiences you learn from.
Listen, observe, ask questions, put options on the table, listen to other people’s options, negotiate well, manage the conflict quickly before it gets out of control. Conflict costs money and reputation, the faster you resolve the issue, the faster you can move forward. The faster you can focus on other things you want to accomplish. It is all about experience.
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - Back in 2019 a California State Assembly woman by the name of Lorena Gonzalez created a bill that affected millions of independent contractors working in California. Her bill was directed at Uber to make all their drivers W-2 employees, but it also changed the working relationships with many other people in various industries. It affected the healthcare industry, entertainment subcontractors working as writers and producers on movie production, and other individuals who have small business in their home and working part time for various companies. It killed those trying to start a small business. It did so much damage that individuals started to say "to hell" with California and began leaving the state of California.
Now labor leaders and Democrats loved the law. It brought in more tax revenues to the state. Killing off an independent business did not mean anything to them because they smelled tax money and more labor laws to control employers. I fought this bill, even after it was passed to kill this bill. Some big companies went after the bill and there were compromises made in the courts and in the State Assembly. However, the big companies were able to get their concessions, but the small guy was left out to die. Democrats wanted that tax money, and they would do anything to get it. Even the Republicans in the Assembly did not fight hard, only two of them stood up to create change, the rest of the Republicans just sat there and took it. It was a sad thing to see as independent contractors were under attack.
There is a difference from a company becoming political and bringing in a political agenda to create conflict, compared to a company fighting against a bill in any state Assembly or Senate that hurts businesses. AB5 was an unbelievably bad bill, and the state democrats knew it was and yet pushed it through to become law. It created such a stir that many people in California tried to get the Assembly to reverse course. But organized labor and far left politicians did not care what happened to business. Gonzalez even went on the attack with Elon Musk, which drove him out of the state of California and move everything to a business-friendly state of Texas. Many of us moved out of the State because we saw an abusive legislature and dirty rotten politics that did not care about the people of California.
The problem with big business in California (Yahoo, Twitter, Apple and other) have adopted a political agenda and it has also created conflict not just in their company but with their customers. Politics is an evil entity, it is corrupt in every way, and when businesses become political, they have become unethical. Politics always creates conflicts and should never ever be allowed into a business. There are people working for these companies that do not go along with their chosen politics, there are stockholders that are not happy, and then there are customers who are not happy and boycott politically driven companies. Good example is Coca Cola coming out against the voter laws in Georgia, they had to back off because the laws were not what Coca Cola said they were. It hurt their business and sales dropped significantly. Politics drives unethical behavior of CEOs who think they are making a difference by getting involved but instead create conflict. Conflict in a company is awfully expensive
There are times when companies do have to stand up against bad legislation that will harm their business, contractors, and even their tax situations. Bad laws must be fought against. Business owners must monitor what is happening in their state legislatures and at the federal level. Bad law in attached to laws not even associated with what they want passed. A good example, a few years ago a transportation bill was passed in Congress and the Senate, but deep in the law was a tax bill that said if you had $10,000 in a foreign bank account, or even a signer on the account, you had to report it to the Treasury Department and to the IRS. If you did not, jail time. Now this affected people who were signers on their mom or dad's accounts in a foreign country, they had to report anything $10,000 or more at any given time during the year. It remains in effect and foreign banks now report to the IRS these accounts. Again, deep inside a transportation bill that had nothing to do with taxes.
If you own a business keep an eye and ear open for bills that will affect you, speak out against them, contact your representatives. Always keep alert.
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - As a mediator I can tell you that mediation is used to settle so many types of disputes and conflicts. I have done all types of mediation to split the sharing of a dog, splitting up a company, succession mediation, grandparents who want to visit their children, various types of business issues, workplace conflicts, disputes between partners in a business, parenting plans, divorce plans, and the list goes on. Mediation is the best way to resolve conflicts that can end up costing you more if you let it live on. Mediate your disputes. For a free 30 minute consultation with a mediator go to - www.lodge-co.com
By Jharna Jagtiani, Aanchal Gupta - Mediate.com - February 2021: The mediation process is inherently flexible. Traditionally, it is used as a dispute resolution tool where parties can come together, call a timeout and reach a mutually acceptable solution. But in the time of a pandemic or even otherwise, there are several uses of the mediation process. Different situations and circumstances can bring out several issues that one might face especially when working in a group or dealing with other people in general. Principles or even the process of mediation can help figure out a plan or a strategy for the developments and help tackle any issue faced by the parties.
Here are some instances where mediation can be used other than resolving disputes -
Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding, informal process that helps the concerned parties to come to a table and talk about their concerns or conduct any negotiations that they need to. As effective as mediation is in resolving the disputes by deliberating upon the interests and positions of the parties, but it can also prove to be an effective tool when introducing new changes, strategizing, planning, etc. If we need to align interests of different people who are working together or need to collaborate, then mediation can help them find a common ground from the very start instead of waiting for a conflict and then resolving it. Mediation can also be a fast and economic way to ensure that costly conflicts and/or litigation don’t take place. The conflict does not only cost in terms of resolution but also causes lose in terms of the work and emotional costs are another concern. Mediation process will be able to help create a safe and friendly environment thereby reducing the mental stress that a person might go through in case of a conflict.
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - This past Month I conducted two succession mediations. One where a company was split in two and the other with a daughter not wanting to take over the company from her father. I love these kinds of mediations because business needs a plan when two partners want to go their way, when the CEO or owner of the company is leaving and there needs to be a plan on who is going to succeed the person. Sometimes people don't want to take over the company for specific reasons and there needs to be another succession discussion on what to do to go forward. Mediation helps formalize the succession and provides a way for everyone to talk and get to an understanding as to what will happen next, a set a rules to follow. Use a mediator to work with all parties to establish a succession plan.
WRITTEN BY: Robert Newcomer-Dyer - PUBLISHED OCTOBER 14, 2019: Writing a succession plan can be a daunting task. Indeed, many business owners put it off because they’re not ready to tackle the complexities. We’ve narrowed the process down to five simple steps to direct you along the way, including choosing your successor and determining whether to sell your business using life insurance, an acquisition loan, or other methods.
The five common steps to preparing a business succession plan template are:
1. Timeline of Succession
There are two key types of succession plans: an exit succession plan and a death-or-accident succession plan. You may wish to write a death-or-accident succession plan well in advance of when you think you’ll need it to protect your business and successors in the event of unanticipated events. An exit succession plan should be written when you have a specific plan to transfer ownership of your small business.
The two most common types of succession plans are:
While an accident plan should be considered at any age, an exit succession plan should be written when you are within several years of retirement or wish to otherwise exit the business. When writing an exit succession plan, you should have a specific date that you would like to transfer the business, and indicate whether you will remain involved in the business post-succession or prefer a clean separation.
On the succession planning template, answer all the questions in section one. If you’re writing this succession plan to exit your business on a known date, fill out any remaining details, including how long you expect the transition to last.
2. Determining Your Successor
A highly important aspect of writing a succession plan is choosing who will take over the business. Many business owners plan to have a family member, such as a child, take over the business. Other common choices include a business partner or key employee in the business. And of course, an outside buyer is always a possibility.
Common successors business owners choose are:
Choosing a successor may be difficult, and requires considering what is in everyone’s—including the business’—best interest. While keeping the business in the family may seem like a clear choice, keep in mind that second generation businesses have a high failure rate. For this reason, many business owners choose instead to sell the business and provide a cash inheritance for their family.
Consider filling out profiles for at least three potential candidates. This will give you a good preliminary comparison of everybody’s skill and experience. Even if you’re already set on a candidate, you may wish to have a backup plan in the event the person leaves your business or doesn’t want to become an owner.
3. Formalize Your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
As a small business owner, you should understand the importance of recording and formalizing day-to-day functions. Standard operating procedures should be documented for your managers and employees to reference, as well as any future owners of the business. Important items to document may include a daily checklist of opening and closing procedures, training for new employees, and a performance management system.
SOPs vary from business to business, but often include the following items:
Common Standard Operating Procedures
Org Chart - A flowchart of your employee structure, including roles, departments, and who reports to whom
A rundown of daily functions—e.g., open & close checklist, a project management flowchart
An overview of any computer, tech, or software systems used by your business
A handbook that covers company policies, procedures, culture, benefits, safety, and more
A set of training and onboarding procedures, sometimes called talent management systems
Skill Retention Strategies
Plans for ongoing training—e.g., quarterly meetings, changes to employee handbook
An explanation of how employee performance is measured and reviewed
An overview of any other regularly held meetings, such as staff meetings and sales meetings
While not required, many businesses include standard operating procedures when writing their initial business plan, and update these regularly as procedures change and the business grows more complex. It is a good idea to have these SOPs in place prior to succession planning, as they will help your business grapple with growth and change.
4. Value Your Business
Figuring out the value of your business should happen early—and regularly. It’s an unfortunate fact that many business owners tend to overvalue their enterprise, and these misjudgments can snowball into financial errors when planning for retirement.
There are several ways you can determine the value of your business, from using a simple business valuation calculator to provide a rough estimate, to following more advanced methods for how to value a business, as well as hiring a professional appraiser.
A good practice is to consider the lowest price the business should sell for. When the business is eventually listed for sale, it may take a long time to find a buyer who is willing to pay your asking price. The succession plan should provide stipulations regarding how long to wait before dropping the price, how much to lower the price, and the lowest acceptable offer.
5. Fund Your Succession Plan
Few buyers out there have enough liquid cash to pay for your business upfront. This is why every succession plan needs a specific plan for how the buyer will make the purchase, whether it’s a loan, installment payments, or other option. The last thing you want is to reach your retirement date, or triggering event, and find that your chosen successor has no way to afford your business.
This is also why your funding plan will often need a buy-sell agreement. This is a legal document in which your buyer agrees to a specific course of action (like taking out a loan or life insurance policy) in order to afford the purchase. Once you’ve settled on a specific method of funding, make sure you meet with a legal professional to draft your buy-sell contract.
Common Succession Plan Funding Options
Life Insurance - Family member or partner takeovers
Acquisition Loan - Outside buyer or key employee takeovers
Seller Financing - Owners comfortable with taking payments over time
Here are the most common ways succession plans are funded:
Most commonly used when a family member or co-owner is taking over the business, a life insurance policy can help your successor purchase the business from you or your heirs. Contrary to how it sounds, life insurance isn’t only used in the event of one’s untimely death. Permanent life insurance builds cash value that can be taken out at any time, so it can also be used in the event of retirement, disability, or any other triggering event.
Life insurance arrangements are common in family successions, especially when you may have multiple children, but only one is taking over the business. With your chosen successor as the beneficiary, a life insurance payout can enable them to purchase shares from your other children, thus leaving everyone with some compensation and financial security.
An acquisition loan is money borrowed by the buyer in order to purchase the business. This is common when a key employee or outside party is taking over and they need some funding to afford the purchase. Buyers can typically get 70% to 80% of the purchase price financed from a bank or the Small Business Administration (SBA)—which is great news for sellers who want to be paid in full upfront.
Acquisition loans are secured against future profits of the business. While this makes them a generally reliable option, it also means a bit of work for the seller. Prior to the purchase, you’ll need to provide a lot of details about your business for the bank’s due diligence. Even then, however, the loan is not guaranteed. Pre-approval can provide some security, but it would need to be undergone regularly (every six to 12 months) up until the transfer date or triggering event.
Seller financing is when the buyer pays you back gradually over time. This is one of the easiest and most flexible arrangements, as the business owner and buyer can set whatever terms they like. Most agreements involve a down payment of 10% or higher, followed by monthly or quarterly payments with interest until the purchase is paid for in full. Again, however, the exact terms can vary widely.
The key downside to seller financing is the time it takes to get paid back. Especially if you’re relying on the sale to fund your retirement, a 20-year term may be less than ideal. However, given the flexibility of seller financing, it can be possible to find an arrangement that works for everyone.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.