Ep. 016: David Gage: Mediating Business Partner Disputes, and the Partnership Charter
In this episode, Susan interviews Dr. David Gage, a clinical psychologist, business mediator, entrepreneur and author. Twenty-five years ago, David founded what is still one of the only multidisciplinary mediation firms in the country that specializes in resolving conflicts among co-owners of businesses. Family and non-family closely held businesses make up the vast majority of the businesses globally, but until David wrote his book on partners, there was nothing written on the whole range of discussions, negotiations and agreements people need to have in order to lower the risks inherent in having partners. From resolving partner conflicts, David moved into conflict prevention with the publication of his book, The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right with Your New Business Partnership (or Fix the One You’re In). The Partnership Charter Workbook, based on the book, helps potential and existing partners plan their partnerships thoroughly, improve collaboration and reduce the risk of conflict.
In this episode, David describes how and why he founded his firm, gives some useful background on closely-held companies, and explains why mediation is such a perfect approach to resolve partner disputes. He also describes the Partnership Charter process, a kind of “collaborative pre-nup” for co-owners. With over two decades of resolving and preventing business partner disputes, David may be the most knowledgeable person on the planet on how to reduce conflict and promote collaboration in this niche population that controls so much of our global economic activity. If you are a mediator or someone who works in a co-owned business, this will be 45 minutes very well spent.