Reality TV always focuses on toxic relationship dynamics instead of healthy ones. Unfortunately, some people believe this is the norm for every family business. It doesn’t take an MBA to know how counterproductive that is. When there’s harmony at home, there’s also peace at work.
Family businesses add an entire dimension into the mix when discussing conflict. Things quickly become personal without a neutral party present. That may sound obvious to some, but it isn’t for everyone. At Positively People, it’s important to us to find a balance within your firm.
Every Decision Ends in Harmony
Many public brands are notorious for corporate backstabbing and shady tactics. A family-owned firm can hold itself to higher standards. From operational decisions to continuity planning, every choice should benefit everyone. While some decisions are easier than others, the family element should remain.
You wouldn’t expect a couple that constantly fights to stick together, but we’ll ask that of our members to avoid uncomfortable conversations. You can’t prevent every argument, but you can stop them from spilling over. Discover how family business consulting can assist your brand.
Create a Neutral Space for Difficult Conversations
Every company struggles with flared tempers and people interrupting to talk about what’s important to them. Over time, that can lead to members shutting down or becoming resentful. Instead, it’s best to seek out a neutral space for having difficult conversations. That is where our family business advisory shines.
Other dynamics, such as sibling rivalries, may also flare in this environment. It’s best to prevent bringing in the familial elements into business decisions. Leaving the boardroom for general discussions also relieves a lot of tension. Let our agents help keep the conversation from becoming too aggressive.
Embrace the Energy of Your Youth
As an original director ages, they can feel threatened by newer additions, and that only prevents the company from making any progress. Instead, it’s better to offer a welcoming environment where new ideas can be heard. That mentality creates deeper relationships between the different generations.
You may not always understand adopting new platforms, such as social media, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a point in pushing to learn more about it.
Listen to All Concerns
Over time, we can become blind to some of the firm’s most pressing problems. Not everyone wants to hear bad news, and some issues end up being brushed off. It doesn’t take long for an ignored problem to become a sore spot.
Sometimes, it’s best to start over, introductions and all, to grasp everyone’s place. Contact us for family business succession planning when you can’t find common ground.
Take Ownership of Bad Blood
Many people confuse silence with harmony, even when it’s hiding pain. Unfortunately, the corporate side is usually willing to accept the status quo. Even the tightest-knit family governance board will argue at some point. If no one else will acknowledge a rift, it’s up to you to do so.
That becomes especially true of relationship hurdles that involve you directly. Don’t allow old wounds to fester into bad blood in the boardroom. You will find that an accountable team makes better decisions overall. The first step in a new direction is being truthful with one another.
Everyone Must Be Accountable
Every good firm has members that are willing to hold themselves accountable, and that should also include any victories that are achieved. Make sure you create time to hear about what goes right. That can help ease tension and deepen the relational bonds between everyone.
Members should also feel safe enough to ask for help when needed. Some may feel their voice isn’t being heard or trusted like others, so be sure to keep the communication open for everyone.
Stand Firm in Your Beliefs
We tend to equate “beliefs” with “religion,” but we mean all beliefs. For instance, if you think something would improve the firm, it’s best to bring it up. Sure, there could be pushback, and maybe not everyone will see things the way you do. However, standing firm in what you believe helps others see your sincerity.
A shared common vision is important, but so is revisiting that mission. You should consistently listen to what others say when they believe in the brand.
Keeping the “Family” in the “Family Business”
While family business succession can include outside members, it doesn’t define your relatives. Even with new additions, you can keep family at the forefront. Every decision that is made should also include those outside of the firm. Sometimes, that means reminding yourself why the business matters.
You could even make a point of having directors demonstrate their positions in their division. Everyone involved in vital decisions needs to know the weight of each one. The company’s bottom line is essential, but so are those behind your directors. Make sure you don’t sacrifice what’s best in pursuit of profits.
What’s Your Minimum Threshold for Harmony?
We all have a differing expectation of what harmony looks like. We are all tasked with finding where to compromise to continue working with each other. Before you accept uneasiness as peace, ask what your harmony minimum is? How would that change the outcome if this were a disagreement at home?
It becomes easy to expect others to meet our standards, but we rarely reciprocate. If the uneasiness in the room is getting to you, it could be your conscience. It’s up to us to smooth over or accept tensions that we make. Include a neutral third party in your discussions with one of our agents.
Harmony Impacts the Level of Health of the Business
One thing that failed family brands have in common is long-term erosion. It’s rarely an unexpected blowout that happens, but small repeated jabs that happen over time. It doesn’t take long for rifts to impact the company’s direction going forward. Decisions are being made to stroke egos instead of bettering the business.
When significant changes are needed, they can stall from petty disagreements. Make sure you have a reliable partner on your side and contact Positively People today for a consultation. Learn more about Positively People services.