Case Study

Conflict in the C-Suite


A start-up that began with four friends in a bar, very quickly grew into an elite firm among service providers in a cut-throat industry. Although roles had been agreed, one partner “went off-plan” and was asked to leave. The napkin on which the partner agreement had been drafted paved the way for a very costly and drawn out lawsuit. This situation increased stress and tension among the remaining leaders. Against this background, a new serious conflict emerged when one of the partners began to lose focus, another became hyper-demanding and the third became the toxic handler trying to keep it together. Centauric was called in to help the partners avoid another lawsuit and resolve their differences productively.

Centauric Contribution

Centauric began by listening to each individual, trying to understand their aspirations, fears, values, work styles, personality and coping strategies. Our approach was to slow things down in order to turn down the heat. We found it useful to avoid rehashing old arguments and grudges, instead helping everyone to get to the root of the issues while at the same time appreciating what was already working well. Centauric facilitated conversations so that everyone could express themselves and feel heard. At the same time, we worked to clarify organization structure and roles. Along the way we consulted with each individual, focusing on business solutions and improving communications.


In the end, the partners came to the conclusion that it would be better to divide their interests into two separate firms, each with a different focus. This was a calm and rational decision based on an understanding of the irreconcilable differences related to vision, values and work style. Everyone was relieved to move on thoughtfully and with relationships intact. The only losers were the lawyers who didn’t get a chance to become involved.

Elements of Centauric Approach:

  1. Assessment
  2. Coaching
  3. Organization Development
  4. Change Leadership