Blog

Family Discipline in Business Families

Observations Family Discipline, or more accurately the lack of it, is a common cause of family business conflict.  The concept of discipline is often ignored by mature business families, who tend to think of it as only applying to children, as children, but when there’s a family business in the mix, it’s perilous to ignore […]

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Dysfunctional Business Families

Family dysfunction is a common cause of conflict in business families. Family Dysfunction (clinical definition): a family is dysfunctional when conflict and/or serious misbehaviours occur regularly and are accepted as the family’s behavioural norm. Business Family Dysfunction (family business definition): a business family is dysfunctional when its fundamental inability or unwillingness to solve problems and […]

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Business Family Succession

Observations If Family Business Succession is “The Big One” – being the most common cause of conflict in family business – Business Family Succession runs a close second, in business families. Businesses “enjoy” having legions of advisers at the ready with reams of rational, objective, precedent-based, best practice advice.  The consequences of their success or […]

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Family Business Succession & Continuity

Observations This is the Big One!  Succession, being the process of replacing one generation of owners, leaders and/or managers with another (usually younger) group is, in my experience, far and away the most common cause of Family Business conflict. For the many family business owners, and business family leaders, whose whole sense of identity is […]

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Decision-Making Processes

Observations Many family business groups, from small to large, young and old, don’t have an agreed, coherent process for problem-solving or decision-making.  Given that family and business life is a constant progression of issues, challenges, and problems that need to be resolved by wise decisions, it’s inevitable that the absence of good processes is a […]

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Implementing Change in Business and Family

It’s one of the more curious features of human nature: many people will put up with known pain, rather than risk something worse by changing their circumstances.  The condition even owns its own phobia:  metathesiophobia, from the Greek:  “meta” = change and “phobos” = fear. Fear of change, and problems implementing change, are common causes […]

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Rules of Engagement

Observations Most Family Businesses are private business.  This gives owner/leaders the legal and practical ability to do virtually whatever they like with the business, since they only have themselves to answer to.  Or do they? Similarly, family leaders (Patriarchs and Matriarchs) can wield their authority over “junior” family members in ways that would make Genghis […]

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Unrealistic Expectations & Entitlements

Observations Family Business can be a source of great pride to a family however, pride can get out of control – encouraging family members to create unjustified and unrealistic expectations of benefits they “should” receive from the business, including: cars, phones, travel and entertainment expenses, and credit cards for personal use. Whether caused by unthinking […]

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Employing Family Members

Most first generation family businesses are private businesses.  Their leaders are also their owners.  This gives them the ability to do (almost) whatever they like within the business, since said leaders are only accountable to themselves, as owners. When there’s shared ownership, in any generation, things get more complicated, because  business leaders are accountable to […]

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Nature vs Nurture – Parents as Bosses

Observations The debate about whether Nature (genetics: innate qualities you were born with), or Nurture (environmental conditioning: learned behaviours and abilities), has the greatest influence on personality development, is one of the oldest in psychology, dating back to the ancient Greeks. It may even predate the invention of Souvlaki! Current thinking is that it’s not […]

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