Code of Conduct Does your business have one in writing?

May 3, 2010 11:22 AM

If you work in a multigenerational or a multipartner operation, stressful times mean business discussions can sometimes erupt into shouting matches.

Those types of incidents often lead to even more problems down the line, says Michael Stolp of Northwest Farm Credit Services. Stolp specializes in working with farm family business arrangements.

If you and your partners are getting into too many arguments, or simply aren't communicating well, your business might need a specified "code of conduct” that every partner agrees to and carries with him or her.

"You may have to put it on a wallet-sized card to remind each other what's been agreed to when things start spinning out of control,” Stolp says.

Here are some samples of elements you might find in such a code:

  • It's time to stop acting like kid brothers and sisters and start acting like business partners.
  • Don't raise your voice when disagreements occur.
  • Be on time. Let others know if you're going to be late or absent, and the reason why.
  • Work on the problem at hand, not on one another.
  • Listen before speaking and think before talking.
  • Be proud of your associates' strengths and accomplishments; it's not a competition between partners, it's a team.

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