Worcester Business Journal

August 6, 2018

Issue link: https://nebusinessmedia.uberflip.com/i/1011263

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18 Worcester Business Journal | August 6, 2018 | wbjournal.com 10 T H I NG S I know about . . . … Conflict resolution By Danielle Clark Danielle Clark is director of Nichols College's Master of Organizational Leadership (MSOL) Program and an assistant professor in Dudley. 10) Know the signs. There is healthy conflict, and then there is toxic conflict. If it's toxic, resolution is impossible, and an exit strategy should instead be the focus. Cues of toxic conflict include a rapidly escalating argument, blaming and aversion. 9) Pick your battles. Take time to assess how important an issue is before you try to resolve it. Ask yourself, "In seven minutes will I care about this? What about in seven days, seven months, or seven years?" This quick exercise will offer perspective. 8) Location matters. Meet in a neutral setting. Consider where you and the other party would be most comfortable: a conference room, local coffee shop or a brewery? 7) Come prepared. Unexpected thoughts, comments and emotions occur during conflict, so be ready. Play out the conversation in your head, get advice from your trusted network, and bring notes so you stay true to the message you want to convey. 6) It's strategic. There is a variety of tactful strategies. Common conflict management approaches include forcing, accommodating, avoiding, compromising and collaborating. Know when to use them. 5) Be clear. When you want to express a concern 1) concisely state the problem; 2) educate the party on how it impacts you; and 3) state your desired resolution. Stay focused on the future, not the past. 4) Own it. Healthy conflict isn't about who wins or who loses. If done right, it's about addressing concerns and strengthening understanding. Drop your ego. Stay calm. Actively listen. Ask clarifying questions. Apologize. Grant forgiveness. 3) Circle back. Don't assume a conflict is resolved after what appears to be a successful meeting. People process information at different times so check in with the person after the resolution to see if there are unsettled feelings or concerns. 2) It's a skill. Just like public speaking and time management are skills, so is conflict resolution. To improve this skill, there are books, resources, mentors and college classes. 1) Stay strong. Not everyone is going to be your biggest fan, and that is OK. K N O W H O W Internet sales tax law changing 10 1: T E C H T R A N S I T I O N S T he U.S. Supreme Court decision in June in the South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. case repealed the previously required sales tax physical presence standard. In doing so, the Supreme Court opened the door for states to impose a sales tax collection obligation on large and medium-sized out-of-state retailers operating over the internet. e amount of connection a party needs to have with another state in order for that state to tax under the U.S. Constitution is called nexus. Up until late June of this year, the Supreme Court provided nexus for sales tax purposes required a seller to have at least a min- imal physical presence in the state of a customer. Last month's Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. formally repealed this physical presence require- ment. In doing so, the Supreme Court significantly expanded the potential burdens for businesses operating over the internet. Specifically, for Massachusetts busi- nesses, the primary consideration is sales of tangible personal property and certain services into 20 other states may now be subject to sales tax, even if the seller otherwise has no connection in the state of the customer. e Wayfair decision did not precisely outline what the new nexus standard is for sales tax purposes, providing only physical presence is no longer required. e statute being challenged in Wayfair required vendors selling goods to South Dakota customers to collect sales tax if they either had at least $100,000 in annual sales to in-state customers, or alternatively 200 or more separate orders to customers over the same period of time. e Supreme Court indicated vari- ous factors mitigated the compliance burdens on out-of-state sellers who had a sufficient amount of sales to South Dakota-based customers. For instance, it noted South Dakota offered free compliance soware to internet sellers, was a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement conformity initiative, and enforcement of the nexus standard would not begin until the con- stitutionality of the law was settled. Although it is technically still an open question as to whether $100,000 in sales to customers in a state is constitution- ally sufficient to create sales tax nexus, businesses should assume these sales thresholds are sufficient to establish nexus going forward and should be prepared to adjust their sales tax compli- ance procedures accordingly. e number of states with statutes imposing a collection and filing obli- gation on out-of-state sellers crossing a hard sales or transaction hurdle will almost certainly increase over the next six months. But, where Massachusetts internet retailers may face the most challenges is not in figuring out which states they may have to begin collecting sales tax in, but rather, figuring out what transactions may now be considered taxable halfway across the country. Sales tax is usually due on the sale of tangible personal property in most jurisdictions, but states may offer very different exemption op- portunities compared to Massachusetts and other New England states. Alterna- tively, services, soware or digital goods may unexpectedly be subject to sales tax in remote states as well. And lastly, sales tax audits represent an enhanced risk for businesses, because there is a possibility that a seller can end on the hook for a tax burden that should ultimately be borne by customers. In any event, companies that have, up until now, been counting on a lack of physical presence to manage their possible sales tax exposure should consider doing a deep dive. BY MICHAEL P. DUFFY Special to the Worcester Business Journal BY SUSAN SHALHOUB Special to the Worcester Business Journal C ycles of transitions to new work- place technology is inevitable. With changes in industries, innovation and individual companies – or all three at the same time – teams can expect to have to adapt to new technolo- gy on a regular basis. Here are three ways upper management can make new tech transitions more palatable. There needs to be a reason – and input. According to Harvard Business Review's Herminia Ibarra and Patrick Petitti, new tech has a better chance of succeeding and being fit for purpose, if its adoption comes from the bottom up. "It's not about the technology, it's about solving a problem," they say. Visionary leadership does not always translate well if those leaders have not been in the position where the technology is to be used. "Because operational managers are closer to the action, they have better insights into specific business challenges and customer pain points that can be addressed by new technologies," write Ibarra and Petitti. Ensure solid training. It seems ob- vious, but assumptions should not be made on employees' levels of techno- logical expertise, says Dan Ruch at Inc. com. A complete support system, pref- erably with digital help centers, should make the team feel comfortable. "If the intended audience feels intimidated when your launch comes around, or cannot access proper support when they need it, your entire implementation could fall apart," he writes. Wrap it up, wisely. An all-important final step aer a tech transition is a full evaluation. Once installed, there may be issues with the way the technology works, says Bert Markgraf at Small- Business.Chron.com, which need to be addressed. But some problems are perceived by teams. "Remove the false perceptions," he writes. "To deal with individual concerns and successfully integrate new technology in the work of the organization motivates employees and improves company performance." W Michael P. Duffy is a tax attorney at Worcester law firm Fletcher Tilton. Reach him at mduffy@fletchertilton. com or 508-459-8043. W W

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