Cause #50 3rd Parties (1) – Externals

Observations The actions and inactions of non-family: Directors, Managers, Employees and Advisers (“Externals”) are a common cause of conflict in Family Business. Family Businesses are notorious for birthing warring cliques and factions – supporters for: Mum vs Dad; siblings against siblings (or cousins); generation against generation; and employees against family – please get them out […]

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Cause #49 Old Retainers

Observations Old Retainers are a common cause of conflict in family business.  Typically, Mum or Dad has worked with “old Phyllis / Sam” since the early days and over the years has (allegedly) promised: “we’ll always look after you”, in return for their unconditional loyalty. Conflicts arise when new business leaders are pressured to honour […]

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Cause #45 Retirement & Other Exits

Observations Generational transition (aka “succession”) and the retirement of one or some people that comes with it, is THE major cause of conflict in family business.  85% of my working life is spent trying to resolve the tensions that arise in business families through stalled and/or conflicted successions, and their many related issues. “Retirement” means, […]

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Cause #44 Business Performance

Business performance or, more often: lack of same, is a common cause of conflict in Family Business.  When business results are not what they could and should be, and worse, are not what people need them to be, tensions mount, and conflict often follows close behind. Poor business performance has many causes – some avoidable, […]

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Cause #43 Personal, Family and Business Values

Observations Values are personal internal motivators that encourage humans to do what they do, the way they do it, when they do it.  They’re a key component of character and personality, being created by a mixture of: genetics, intelligence, education, environmental upbringing and training (from home, social, ethnic and religious sources), lived experience, and (possibly) […]

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Cause #42 Next Generation “Issues”

Observations Next generation “issues” are a common cause of conflict in Family Business.  We’re talking here about macro, contextual causes.  Lots of other micro causes are covered in other chapters – specifically around personality differences and succession scenarios. A Family Business is defined as any business that substantially involves at least 2 family members as […]

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Cause #41 Buying & Selling Interests in The Business

Observations Another common cause of conflict in Family Business gains oxygen when family members are, or feel they are locked into ownership of the family’s business interests – notwithstanding their wish to not be involved.  This uncertain feeling develops into conflict when it begets an uncomfortable sense of: “obligation to do stuff” – either in […]

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Cause #40 Ownership vs Stewardship

Observations Ownership attitudes are grounded in a self-centred sense of: “here, now, and mine”.  They encourage individuals to consider the family business as theirs to do with as they see fit, irrespective of whether they built or inherited it, in whole or in part.  This attitude may be entirely rational and justifiable, but in pure […]

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Cause #39 Sibling Rivalry

Observations Sibling rivalry involves any form of competition between siblings.  It can range from good-natured tussling to all-out aggressive/destructive behaviour.  Its roots lie in competition between young siblings – for things, recognition and parental attention – and can start when a baby is introduced into a family, and causes older sibling(s) to fear they’ll be supplanted in their parents’ affections. […]

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Cause #38 For Lack of a Loving Reality Check…

Observations A common cause of conflict in Business Families has roots that date back to childhood, studenthood (not quite a word, but you get my point), business family ethos, and youthful career planning / decisions. Family members grow increasingly frustrated with themselves, with their role in the family business, and with their lot in life […]

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