I recently read a very interesting blog on ‘A business lesson in conflict resolution from fly fishing’ which really resonated with me, being a keen fly fisherman myself and a specialist in dispute resolution. The author observes how thorny business and leadership issues; i.e.: conflict, parallel with fly fishing – a quick lesson…
After being hooked a fish’s first instinct is to tear off downstream hoping to unnerve the angler and create enough slack for the hook to come out – the standoff! And here is where the angler usually fails – they start to pull in order to get the fish back upstream, and more often than not the fish wins the battle. Here is where ‘conflict’ comes into play where you have two opposing points of view and strong-willed executives on either side – each hoping the other will back off, and so the situation turns into a struggle of one point of view vs another and the relationships starts to falter.
Knowing your opponent is key. If the angler knows the behaviour of the fish, he will be able to regain control, with a solid opportunity to land the fish. In business conflict, the same principle applies and often results in both parties feeling less conflicted – they are able to dial down the emotional rhetoric and have a better understanding of what the other seeks to achieve- can enter into a mutually constructive dialogue, usually producing a win-win situation. For the fish, the win is being gently guided into the net, the hook removed and then released. The other alternative is not pretty – definitely not good for the fish, nor the angler, the director or shareholder, and ultimately your business.
If you have read any of my opinion pieces or articles you will know I am a big fan of dispute resolution as a speedy, cost effective and engaged means of resolving issues within a business and with that of its shareholders or directors. My advice; read the water – a good executive is constantly reading the environment, pay attention – small things matter in the river and the office, and do the right thing. If all avenues fail consult a specialist in conflict resolution who can reel in both parties to bring about a mutually beneficial outcome.
Catch our top topics for 2022 below, and an appeal to support my favourite organisation, Pitpals. This year, in particular, is important to me given the ridiculous call to ban these beautiful animals in South Africa. It is sickening that people blame the dog not the owner, who never takes the time to train the dog or give it the love it needs.
On that note, my team and I would like to wish you a wonderful festive season – take care out there, and of yourselves (and your pets).
Yours in law
** Our offices will be closed from 22 December 2022 and re-opening on 4 January 2023.
Top topics for 2022:
Reporting prejudicial conduct of directors
Wayward company directors who fail to comply with the obligations set out in Section 163 of the Companies Act can now be declared “delinquent” under certain circumstances. Provisions within the Act allow for affected persons or prejudiced parties to report prejudicial conduct, abuse or mismanagement of directors and presiding officers who fail to act with due consideration for the company’s financial viability or existence.
Buying or selling a farm in South Africa – make sure it’s a watertight contract.
With many people embracing remote working, and the increase in the semigration trend, the notion of farm life is extending its appeal. Sitting on your stoep, sipping on a glass of merlot overlooking your farm may sound idyllic, but buying a farm is a lot more complex than any usual property transaction.
What constitutes a contract? When a handshake won’t cut it.
Knowing whether you have a valid contract is not always as simple as it seems. We all know that a legal agreement signed by both parties is binding, but what about an agreement you made by email, phone, text message or a handshake?