Internal disputes occur in teams & especially startup teams when they are making pivotal decisions early on. It can be a power struggle when we disagree & can expose poor behavior & attitude issues. These disputes are difficult to resolve, cause us friction, and upset the dynamics within the team, which can leave us walking on eggshells. As you may know, more than 90% of startups fail due to poor decision-making. We believe uncivil behavior causes internal disputes and contributes to poor decisions and failures. Also, we have recognized that in the #metoo movement world, tackling uncivil issues early, before it becomes a legal problem, is an important issue. The fact that startup teams do not usually have middle management or HR departments also contributes to unresolved disputes & ultimately contributing to poor decision-making.
the solution to this problem
We have developed a simple procedure for tackling uncivil behavior in teams. It requires the team to agree to use a standardized three-phase procedure for objecting to offensive behavior. When we are offended by a team member’s behavior, especially during a disagreement, our first reaction/action should be to OBJECT starting with a mild:
1. Caution & receive an acknowledgment or, if not
2. Object & receive a simple apology or, if not
3. Stop & post on the Disputz Network for review by our startup peers & receive an acceptable apology, or if not
4. Zoom video review & take our dispute to a vote & final recommendation.
We can use AI & machine learning on the network, collating the number of objections given & received to later on assist in any recommendations.
Why we decided to work on this idea
My brother & I went into business in 2003 on the premise to refine a way to treat each other well, tackling any poor behavior & attitudes. Our 1st startup 2004-08 failed due to a poor investment decision made during our ongoing dispute that contributed to our failure. In between projects, I did an experimental social change project in 2009-1 0 trialing a quit smoking month called Quitober. In the 2nd year, I had 1/3 of all Australian universities sponsoring their staff to quit smoking. After failing to secure funding, I quit, but I learned how to start a social change project on a shoestring. Presently my brother is running our latest startup in the USA & I am a silent investor.
After 15 years of trial & error and a self-published book, the Object123 Procedure & Disputz Network are the outcome.
our target market and how large is it?
Initially, our target market will be to recruit startup teams through startup accelerators and incubators. These team members also form the cohort peer review network. A trial of just a few teams in a cohort would be enough. If the test is successful, all accelerators and incubators could offer the service to their cohort teams. And if we are getting good results, we could extend to all organizations & teams such as medical teams, financial teams etc.
What we have done to validate our solution
I have worked with several startup teams over the past 16 years and experienced internal disputes throughout this time that I can testify contributed to poor decision-making. I have recently spent a lot of time in psychology forums, especially on Linkedin, where I have received positive feedback. But mainly, my brother and I have trialed it to the point where we just caution each other, and that is enough for us to acknowledge our poor behavior or attitude. As we see it, most disputes are caused, not by disagreements but by how we disagree, our attitude. By objecting to this, we can nip-in-the-bud uncivil behavior in real-time before it gets out of control. Of course, this needs testing. We hope to do this within an accelerator or incubator by enlisting a team to participate within the cohort. Posting our disputes onto the network will only be necessary if we cannot or refuse to resolve our conflicts beforehand.
our competition & why our solution is better?
There does not seem to be any direct competition for Disputz.
There are plenty of books on the importance of Psychological Safety; however, achieving it still seems to be a mystery, with many different schools of thought. Most talk about leaders educating their teams so that they do not offend each other. Our approach is to empower team members that are offended by creating a program that encourages them to OBJECT to misbehavior. I have been unable to find one dispute network specifically designed for team members to lodge their unresolved internal disputes.