Since each Mediation is strictly confidential, the names of the parties have been changed and the conflict has been altered so as to be unrecognisable.
Inês, 23, MBA, single, no children
is the niece of:
Conceição, 63, married, no children, administrative services
and her husband
António, 62, no children, electrical engineer
The family electrical installations company was founded by António’s parents. It has 8 staff – 6 technicians and 2 sales staff – and in the past has enjoyed a turnover of 1 million euros. In recent years the company has been losing business, despite huge efforts on the part of the couple to turn the situation around. One day, her niece turned up ready for work. After completing her MBA, she was given the majority share by António to save the company. Determined to resuscitate the business, she took the reins. Because they failed to talk openly, a serious conflict blew up between a) Inês and b) Conceição and António.
When Inês began to feel really blocked and saw the whole company at risk, she confided in her mother who told her that she had heard that Mediation was the ideal method for this type of complex conflicts. Inês looked into it and managed to motivate her uncle to attend a first consultation with the mediator. Her aunt was against it, but ended up by going along when she realised that she could “leave Mediation at any time without having to give a reason”.
The conflict was a classic case of the old conservative guard and young progressive one. There seemed to be an innate skepticism, an attitude of deep distrust founded on primordial fears, between the people who wanted to keep things as they were, and the people who wanted to innovate. For a business to be successful, both sides are essential and vital. They complement one another and making compromises is fundamental to secure the company’s future. It was this that Inês, António and Conceição discovered through Mediation. They discussed their fears in relation to the results and found a common goal: the future prosperity of the company. The uncle and aunt recognised Inês’ education as an asset to the company and Inês recognised their long experience in the market.
In the Mediation Agreement, they made a commitment to act as a team, with the goal of making the company grow 3% in the following year, and 5% in the two years that followed. They also signed up to a long list of measures. Some examples follow:
– daily 1 hour meetings between them to redefine the business
– a weekly meeting with staff to keep them involved and up to date
– study and renegotiate contracts with suppliers
– contract a Marketing and Communication agency
– invest in a new website and a sales course for the sales staff and technicians.
A reunited family that is committed to the family business, a healthy working environment and a team with a positive spirit and open mind to discuss situations and find compromises. They ended up by all standing to gain.