Families have been embroiled in disputes since the first cavemen’s sons “borrowed” their flints, and their daughters refused to wear hand-me-down skins. There’s nobody quite like a sibling for knowing how to press your buttons, and as for inter-generational tensions ……
Family disputes have myriad causes. When limited to family members and family issues, family disputes can be incredibly damaging to family relations, and painful for anyone in close contact.
When family disputes are caused by things happening, or not happening, in a business in which the protagonists are involved, the destructive energies generated often spill out into the business itself – creating disruption, anxiety and divisive cliques amongst family members and employees. Even large businesses can be seriously undermined by family disputes when the family members concerned are directors or senior staffers, especially when they’re also owners of the business.
In our experience, family disputes are rarely really about the obvious presenting issues. Although recent events may be a catalyst, there’s usually a backstory that goes back some or many years.
So, rather than trying to address action or event-based conflicts head on, we’ve learnt to apply a different style of dispute resolution process. We call it “de-construction”. The basic idea is to:
- Reduce the dispute to its components parts and causes.
- Validate their existence and their right to exist, even if they appear to be perceptions, rather than factual realities.
- Examine and work through all the little pieces, using appropriate paced, timing and language.
- Identify and explore root causes.
- Examine past and present interactions, influences and consequences.
- Discuss and work through all remaining issues to gain better understanding, appreciation and new perspectives.
- Agree (from the perspective of here and now) what to do with any issues that remain significant enough to care about.
- Resolve how to interact with similar issues, and with interactions in general, in the future.
Through this process, in the vast majority of situations, the presenting problems evaporate and the real issues are constructively resolved without a great deal of fanfare.
For help resolving any type of family dispute please call, or contact: The Solutionist Group.