What was the problem you were grappling with?
In 2012, we were in the handing-over stage for one of our projects when there was a dispute between our contractor and the projects team regarding the interpretation of the contract. Both teams had a different take on the scope of the work. With the contractor requesting for a larger payment, we only had two options—either litigation or making the additional payments.
Who did you approach for advice?
I approached my father whose judgement in such matters I implicitly trust. He asked me to evaluate both the options. Litigation would have resulted in several months of delay in our project handover, thereby affecting our customers. By making the additional payment, our profits would have been impacted.
What was the advice you got?
He said that the most important thing in business is relationships. Yes, we would lose some of our profits and we may be right in saying that we do not have to pay the additional amount, but our relationship with our contractor would have soured. Furthermore, the project would suffer and this would also hurt our reputation amongst our customers.
How effective was it in resolving the problem?
I decided to agree to our contractor’s demands and made the additional payment. The project was handed over in time, our customers were delighted and we built a sustainable relationship with the contractor that has continued for six more projects since then.
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