Family Businesses call us for our mediation, coaching or facilitation services because it can be very difficult to manage a business with family members. There are relationship conflicts, communication issues, grudges and resentment, an underlying wish to be doing something else, high expectations, favouritism, productivity issues, and succession planning to do. Family relationships are embedded with layers of emotion and family interaction patterns that date back to the family’s creation and even further in terms of family of origin for the parents involved. These patterns of interaction can be complicated to say the least. The emotions behind family issues and relationships are far more likely to interfere within the workplace because they are triggered more easily. There is simply no or little separation between work and home. Anything that has happened or does happen at home is emotionally carried into work and can be repeated there and vice versa. We can assist you to resolve those issues. We start by meeting each family member separately to obtain an understanding of each person’s perspective and what they believe needs to be resolved. Then the mediator, skillfully and by enhancing creativity works with the members in joint sessions to the point of resolution and agreement. The members at the meetings determine what that agreement is on all levels. The mediator is neutral. Sometimes resolution means re-working the business plan, succession plan, organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, as well as sorting out appropriate “business communication” amongst the parties. In the end, everyone has had input and is relieved that there is a clearer path to follow. Remember that unspoken conflict often costs companies more in productivity than conflict that is open and can be resolved. The worst thing to do is let any conflict fester over time. In mediation each person is honoured and treated with respect and it is a confidential process. We get referrals for all kinds of family businesses small and large.
In Family Business, Family Matters!by