I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits.
When building a profitable practice, you must learn how to navigate business partnerships. You must also learn how to have difficult conversations with your business partners. You have a great relationship with your business partner, but sooner or later a tough conversation needs to happen. While this is normal with all business relationships, they come to points where they have bumps along the way. How you handle those conversations will determine whether you come away from this conflict with a stronger appreciation for each other, or not. Therefore, it’s so important to handle difficult conversations well.
How do you ensure you engage in the best conversation possible in these circumstances?
1. Refrain from putting off the talk longer than necessary. Take the time to count to 10 or to take a few deep breaths before beginning. After all, starting with too much emotion will be more damaging than helpful. Once you’ve cooled down, though, it’s time to talk. Why is it better sooner rather than later? By putting things off, you tend to build up resentment and inflate the conflict. It’s important to address situations before they get out of hand. A small problem today is much easier to solve than a giant one several weeks from now.
2. Drop the good news, bad news approach. No one likes waiting for the other shoe to drop. So instead of giving the compliment with a “but” lurking to negate everything you’ve just said, just come out and say the bad news first. If you’re determined to add in the compliment, do so after the best stuff is out of the way, so you leave the person on a more positive note. It’s better to be upfront when having difficult conversations, as opposed to sugarcoating or beating around the bush.
3. Plan the conversation. Rather than blindside your business partner with an uncomfortable discussion, let them know you have something you want to talk about. Make it clear you’re wanting to discuss something that affects your feelings, rather than starting out in an attack. There’s a vast difference between “I’d like to talk to you sometime about your lack of presence in the business,” versus “I’d like to talk to you about how I feel when I see you are not as engaged in the business.”
4. What are your goals? In any heavy conversation you need to agree at some point on common goals. Without common goals, there will always be conflict and essentially, more difficult conversations that won’t produce positive outcomes. Working toward the same thing will help you find your way through the conversation to that eventual place. It’s great to have differences and individuality, but in business, a common goal is necessary to effectively work together.
5. Keep a positive spirit. Aim for optimism. Even if the conversation isn’t going the way you would like it to, finding something to hope for will soften the outcome no matter what. When you remain positive, you’re able to see the situation from multiple perspectives and help get the conversation to a common ground. Staying positive also inspires your business partner to do the same.
Difficult conversations are just that–difficult. But having a plan in place will help you get through them. Use these steps to build the framework of your conversation. And even if the outcome is bad, getting there won’t be as difficult as you think.
Most often, we must step outside of our comfort zones to have difficult conversations. Check out our blog post here for some daily habits that will help get you out of your comfort zone.
I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Please go to businessofrehab.com/contractnegotiations to pick up the free guide to help you negotiate the contract of your dreams.
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