Are people in your business violating your boundaries?
Most tensions come from misunderstandings … let’s talk about the clarifications that can help!
Here is the ninth video in the 10 part Business Boundaries series on Violations by Others …
Here is the pdf guide mentioned in the video and below is the full transcript:
Day 9: Violations By Others
Now, we’re on day nine. Do you want to talk about what happens when other people violate your boundaries? As we were talking about last time, the framework that happens when you’re violating your boundaries is the same as you are going to have when other people violate your boundaries, which is hopefully, a framework of partnership.
You may think that this is just me talking about an idealized world. But honestly, I have seen so much conflict and so much litigation and stuff as a lawyer, most of the time, including lawsuits, including gigantic corporation, including billion dollar disputes. People really actually do want to act in partnership.
They do not want to be paying lawyers millions of dollars to file about stuffs. They really don’t. It is a waste, and we all know it. We would much rather work things out. We can’t, because we’re stuck in our own junk. We much rather work out things in partnership, we much rather than negotiate.
We can’t figure out how to do it, so we much rather act in partnership. It’s relatively rare. But occasionally, you have someone who is in a place where they are incapable of doing that. Someone who is really disturbed, who really is incapable of acting in their own best interests. That does happen.
Do not get me wrong. There are people who are truly incapable of acting in their own best interest.
Hopefully, you are not going to run into that. Hopefully, you will able to screen people like that out before you do business with them. But I am aware that happens. If that does, the best thing to do is cut your losses and just not deal with that person as soon as you possibly can.
Let’s assume we are not dealing with that person. We are going to try to gather that dispute as soon as humanly possible. Out of everybody else, we’re going to try to find a place of partnership. Sometimes you can actually say to the person, “We want to negotiate.” That’s out of spirit of partnership.
Sometimes you can’t, because they are going to be like, “What?” It depends with the situation and who you are dealing with.
By the way, don’t forget what I’m saying spirit of partnership. I don’t mean like legal partnership or someone who have to be a legal partner with or business partner with. I mean this in the sense of approaching things in the sense of working things out, in the sense of not being antagonistic, in a sense of a win‑win as opposed to win‑lose.
That’s what I mean. I hope that was clear from what I said yesterday. I just want to make sure they are getting some clarity from that perspective.
The first thing to do if some is violating your boundaries is to just notice that they are violating your boundaries and to notice it publicly with them and assume that it is a misunderstanding. Most of the time, someone violates your boundary, it is misunderstanding.
I know it may seem impossible. It seemed impossible, I know. It seems like, “How could someone impossibly think that?” Most of the time, it is, really. People think in these things that you think, “How could they possibly misunderstand that?” But it seems obvious.
Most of the time, it is. I’m really serious. It could be a misunderstanding that you are interpreting the language different. It could be that they actually didn’t read it. It could be that they don’t even know about that rule, they don’t understand the law, they’ve never read that particular rule.
It could be a language problem, like a translation problem. It could be that they remember things differently. You could seriously 100 percent, for sure, remember what happened. They seriously, 100 percent, sure remember something else.
Studies have been done with people. One guy says his light was green, one guy says his light was red. They both honestly believed it was different. Neither of them, honestly, believed they were lying. It is amazing.
Most of the time, it’s a misunderstanding. Let’s just assume it’s a misunderstanding and go from that place. Let’s, number one, assume that, and as for clarification.
Then let’s look at approach, this boundary issue, from being one of two problems. Either the boundary isn’t a place. That’s the wrong boundary, which means that we neither need to do adjust the boundary. Adjusting the boundary may mean that you can’t do business together, because maybe it’s a boundary that you’re not willing to adjust.
Maybe you are not willing to take phone calls from them at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, and they need a live coach who will take calls in that 2:00 o’clock in the morning. Hey, you know what? There may be someone they need, they legitimate need that.
Maybe there’s some other live coach who would do that, and they are willing to pay for that. Probably somewhere, that someone will be happy to charge one for that. Awesome! Go find someone who will do that.
Like that, it just needs to be an express thing. We need to be clear about, “Is there a boundary that needs to be changed?” and maybe you are not willing agree to that boundary. Or is it that, “Well, you know what? It’s not that the boundary needs to be we need not do business together.
You’re fine with the 2:00 AM boundary, it’s that we need to change the price. “I’m willing to take phone calls at 2:00 in the morning, but you’ve got to pay a thousand dollars for each of those. I’m just suddenly going, “Mmmh, a thousand dollars.”
That’s what I mean. It’s that you need to look at always that we need to exchange the boundary, or we need to change circumstances or just other things such that the boundary is going to work.
What multiple things may need to be changed? There is a lot of clarifying language that may need to happen. As soon as you go back to the original contract and just explain things that are already in there, as long as you just need to read the language that is in there, then you go, “Oh, that’s what it says. I didn’t read it.”
A lot of times, you need to read the contract or “Oh, the [inaudible 00:07:36] address that issue? Sorry to hear that, the FedEx truck is going by or they can’t even address that issue and we need to put it in a whole bunch of more language.
It may be, however, that there was no ambiguity. It may be that they are not implying to you. It may be that the contract says, they had to pay you a thousand dollars on January 1st, and they didn’t pay you a thousand dollars. There is no ambiguity and they are not paying you a thousand dollars.
They violated the boundary, there is no ambiguity, then you may move on the next steps. We are talking about making a formal demand. Here is the thing that I want you to remember. It’s you need to move on to these next steps in a very systematic way, a non‑emotional systematic way.
Is there an ambiguity? You address, “I need potential ambiguities?” You make sure you get them messages saying, “Oh, your payment was due on 1st January of a thousand dollars. Do you understand and make sure they were sent in invoice.”
Maybe they didn’t get the invoice. Maybe there was a confusion when the payment was due. Oh, there was no confusion, “They have the invoice,” whatever, “they should pay it.
Now, in a systematic way, on the 15th or some reasonable amount of time, you send a formal demand, demanding payment. You want to make sure that you do this very specifically, very systematically.
Because I’ve seen people come to me, and it’s been six months or a year after someone didn’t pay them or after some boundary was violated like that, and then they want to send the man a letter. You can still do it. But really, the time to do it would have been then.
We want to make sure we are doing things in a systematic way. Let’s address problems when they actually happen. Send a formal demand, they’ll understand if someone could be, or they stole your photo and use it on their website or whatever it is, the thing that is violating, then decide what enforcement action you’re going to take.
It really depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s not worth to doing the formal enforcement action. Sometimes collecting on that thousand dollars may not be worth it, because they are in different state, financial claims. It’s just not going to work, you’re not going to go there. You’re going to hire a lawyer to collect $200. Maybe you might want to get someone, a collection agency or something.
Another thing is sometimes it’s not worth going to extremes. Sometimes you may do a DMCA take down for someone doing a copyright violation. Sometimes there are avenues that are relatively straight forward. Where as in some cases you may decide, “For me to try and handle this, it’s going to be a law suit and it’s going to cost me $20,000.”
Another case is someone sues something that’s going to destroy your entire business, destroy your entire reputation. It’s worth 20 Grand for you to hire a lawyer to take this, to at least get the law suit going, because this is your entire business on the line.
You have to evaluate the cost of what enforcement is going to be, and you need to be realistic about what the cost is going to be in that particular situation. Then you need to go back. This is the real important thing. You need to go back to those boundaries that created the problem in the first place, this particular problem.
That thousand dollars that was due on January 1st that this guy didn’t pay, well, maybe I need to change how my payments were structured. Maybe I need to make it such that the person didn’t have their entire website before they had made their final payment, because now, there is no ramification, the fact that they already have all their styles before they made their final payment.
They shouldn’t get on those files until they make their final payment. You see what I’m saying? The idea is that every time you have a boundary violation, it’s information that you can use to create better boundaries and to help you not to just create better boundaries but communicate those boundaries much more effectively.