Family business conflict is often over long-standing concerns relating to roles and contributions to the company as well as family issues like rivalry and jealousy, and can simmer just below the surface for decades. Nothing can undermine a successful family business faster than an unresolved conflict among its owners.
One thing that distinguishes conflict in family businesses is that the owners make the rules and therefore can also break them.
Family squabbles are usually highly subjective, irrational and overly emotional. It is difficult to be emotionally detached when family members are on the opposite side of a dispute.
Because for most people, conflict is uncomfortable, families have a tendency to sweep them under the carpet rather than confront. Looming large is the rich history of other family arguments tearing successful businesses to pieces.
However, too little conflict can have an equally destructive impact. When the disagreement is too cold, there is quiet seething and avoidance rather than addressing the issues head on. Family members stick to light conversations and ignore the elephant in the room. They do not have the ability to maintain healthy debate and discussion over important issues.
What to do?
* Having more intimate financial discussions can actually bring your family closer
* Encourage family members to share their expectations and perspectives so that they have a collective understanding regarding the intergenerational transitions
* Clearly define management responsibility as separate and distinct from the ownership structure of the company.
* Put policies in place before they become personal issues.
Consider This: Thinking about your own family … What are the simmering issues that are never discussed? What is the reaction when they are raised (if they are raised)? How do these elephants in the room impact the ability of the business to move forward and grow, and impact family relationships?
Original articles: https://www.campdenfb.com/article/finding-goldilocks-zone-conflict-family-business, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/13/how-to-navigate-uncomfortable-money-matters-with-your-family.html, https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/22/gary-miller-when-should-you-fire-your-kid-from-the-family-business/, https://www.ftadviser.com/pensions/2020/12/10/how-to-manage-conflict-over-asset-distribution/, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/intergenerational-conflict-is-getting-worse-deutsche-bank-analysts-warn-200542605.html, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ten-tips-for-avoiding-litigation-tip-2-47096/, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/02/19/when-youre-in-business-with-family-three-critical-considerations/#4b88c86e24d1
Actionable Generational Wealth Succession
For more in-depth, thought-provoking discussion points and further commentary on family and business conflict resolution, access my Familosophy newsletter archives: www.transitionbook.co/member-area/