Family Business Conflict

“Emotion beats Logic: OK in Family; Not OK in Family Business”

Family Business Conflict

Family conflict in a Family Business creates disputes.  Disputes cause disasters by destroying good decision making in both the family and the business.   


The idea of starting a family business conflict resolution process may be daunting, but doing nothing creates bigger problems.

When family leaders go missing in action – failing to provide strong, compassionate, effective guidance, and the wise decisions needed to sort things out in a troubled family – they create resentment, increase family dysfunction, and may collapse the family.

Family Business Conflict thrusts family systems into toxic contact with business systems.  Maximum friction occurs in the Zone of Interaction:  where nurture fights nature – as the family’s desire to support and protect fights the business’s need to be competitive, efficient and profitable.

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Obviously …Family Business Conflict Solutions need to be solution-oriented; AND family-sensitive, AND commercially responsible.  These are less obvious, and not-so-easy.

Getting everybody out the other side of a conflict in better shape than they went in requires a non-destructive approach that addresses Individual + Family + Business needs and interests, without sacrificing anyone, or anything, during the process.

This is about as gnarly as it gets, which is why we developed SODR for Families.

SODR  (Solution-Oriented Dispute Resolution) –  for Families

SODR Is a purpose-designed, complete dispute resolution system for resolving family business disputes and conflicts.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Resolves conflicts and repairs relationships.
  • Confidential, practical, flexible, family-sensitive, time-efficient and cost-effective.
  • Guaranteed outcomes: written Agreement, Determination, or Decision – enforceable at law, and/or under Family Rules.  Individuals can’t unilaterally stop the process.
  • Safer and less damaging than doing nothing, or litigating.
  • Closure for individuals, the family, and the business.
  • “Disposable” Dispute Resolvers save family peace makers from getting burnt.

SODR for Families – Process Contract

At commencement, family members agree the terms of a formal, written Process Contract, and choose options to suit their family:  participation ground rules and procedures; personal responsibilities and accountabilities; consensus building; implementing agreed actions; consequences, effects and enforcement of outcomes.

To view a standard SODR Process Contract, click here.

Click here to commence a SODR for Families process.

Click here to request a callback from a human.

SODR Process

3 Phases:  (1) Facilitation   >>   (2) Determination  >>  (3) Independent Decision 

Commencement requires a Process Contract between family members that explains, and obtains commitment to: (a) ground rules; (b) participation; (c) implementation; (d) enforcement.

Phase (1)    Facilitation (resolves most disputes and conflicts 80%+)

Activity: Facilitated family conversations + private support as required.
Outcome: Voluntary Agreement.

Phase (2)    Determination (resolves most of what’s left)

Activity: Facilitator makes a Determination, based on known information.
Outcome: Written Determination.
Options: (A) Advisory, or (B) Enforceable under Family Rules, or (C)   Enforceable at Law, as a contract.

Phase (3)    Independent Decision (rarely required – final solution)

Activity: Issues referred to a neutral, Independent Decision Maker (“IDM”) for a Decision.
Outcome: Written Decision.
Options: (A) Advisory, or (B) Enforceable under Family Rules, or (C)   Enforceable at Law, as a contract.