Family Business Conflict and Resolutions (Part 3): Deal with it! Conflict resolution in a family business

Family Business Conflict and Resolutions (Part 3): Deal with it! Conflict resolution in a family business

In a family enterprise, the emotional or bloodline tie is subject to the stress of sibling relationships and further stretched by the influences of generations and other numerous influences of the business, multiple owners and multiple stakeholders. Often a bloodline is not sufficient for the continuation of the status quo into a common future or community of aspiration.

There needs to be more in common than just blood lineage, and this often is the intangible for a family, their values!

The values of a family are found in the parents of the family tree and are generally passed from generation to generation by the parenting practices of each generation or parents. Whether by design or by an event, the next generation has always learnt from their upbringing and experiences of nurture.

Perhaps there needs to be recognition of the decades-old debate of:

Nature: the inheritance of the DNA of one’s family tree, versus

Nurture the psychology and physiology or our home environment.

So, consideration of say a first-generation scenario implies the family values held in common by the next several generations will be traced back to their parenting, where (often in years of old) the founder of family wealth was working to create the future of their family to the detriment of being able to engage with their next generations!

We are all familiar of the stories of the single parenting of a family where one individual has (whether from their own, perhaps selfish, ambition or otherwise) devoted their life to the foundation of a wealth for the support of future generations, whilst the spouse was or is the source of nurture and implicitly the family values.

This is the generation dilemma of a founder; creation of physical wealth at the cost of perhaps being remote to their children in their early years.

Early recognition of this issue creates a solution foundation as the family unit begins to recognise the vitality of a family enterprise is sourced from the value of themselves as a family. This recognition creates the beginning of common family values.

These common values are shared by the day to day informal family language, shared experience and engagement with each other, without any real formality.

Perhaps the endurance of a family enterprise can be found in two core elements:

  1. Holding common and shared family values
  2. Communication of those shared values and nurturing them as a vitality of the family way of life.

This is the core family, but a family enterprise is more!

These core family values, when found and nurtured, are confronted with the family enterprise systems by the core elements from the “Three Circle Model” (discussed in our previous blog series – insert link); thus, recognition of those values of one family itself is not an answer.

When considering a multi-generation or dynastic family enterprise, the variety of self-interest amongst the family units or individual adds to the complexity of societal influences along with the inter-generational change.

Added to the inside the family tree influences, seeds of conflict can be found within the three-circle family business model dynamics where family, ownership and business aspirations collide.

How does one create the glue for succession?

Candidly, it is all about those values!

In essence, these values must be found across the enterprise, family members engaged within the ownership and/or management of that enterprise, as well as the overall family, along with those creating the wealth outcomes or aspirations necessary to co-exist with the core enterprise to sustain the family currently and into future generations.

We’ll talk about describing and prescribing family values in our next blog.

The values of a family are found in the parents of the family tree and are generally passed from generation to generation by the parenting practices of each generation or parents. Whether by design or by an event, the next generation has always learnt from their upbringing and experiences of nurture.

Perhaps there needs to be recognition of the decades-old debate of:

Nature: the inheritance of the DNA of one’s family tree, versus

Nurture the psychology and physiology or our home environment.

So, consideration of say a first-generation scenario implies the family values held in common by the next several generations will be traced back to their parenting, where (often in years of old) the founder of family wealth was working to create the future of their family to the detriment of being able to engage with their next generations!

We are all familiar of the stories of the single parenting of a family where one individual has (whether from their own, perhaps selfish, ambition or otherwise) devoted their life to the foundation of a wealth for the support of future generations, whilst the spouse was or is the source of nurture and implicitly the family values.

This is the generation dilemma of a founder; creation of physical wealth at the cost of perhaps being remote to their children in their early years.

Early recognition of this issue creates a solution foundation as the family unit begins to recognise the vitality of a family enterprise is sourced from the value of themselves as a family. This recognition creates the beginning of common family values.

These common values are shared by the day to day informal family language, shared experience and engagement with each other, without any real formality.

Perhaps the endurance of a family enterprise can be found in two core elements:

  1. Holding common and shared family values
  2. Communication of those shared values and nurturing them as a vitality of the family way of life.

This is the core family, but a family enterprise is more!

These core family values, when found and nurtured, are confronted with the family enterprise systems by the core elements from the “Three Circle Model” (discussed in our previous blog series – insert link); thus, recognition of those values of one family itself is not an answer.

When considering a multi-generation or dynastic family enterprise, the variety of self-interest amongst the family units or individual adds to the complexity of societal influences along with the inter-generational change.

Added to the inside the family tree influences, seeds of conflict can be found within the three-circle family business model dynamics where family, ownership and business aspirations collide.

How does one create the glue for succession?

Candidly, it is all about those values!

In essence, these values must be found across the enterprise, family members engaged within the ownership and/or management of that enterprise, as well as the overall family, along with those creating the wealth outcomes or aspirations necessary to co-exist with the core enterprise to sustain the family currently and into future generations.

We’ll talk about describing and prescribing family values in our next blog.