Those of us who are in the family business, are in the business of family – and the holidays are often met with conflict and uncomfortableness. That’s on top of a global pandemic hanging over us creating additional stress and anxiety. It is rare for family in business to have perfect interactions all the time. To be fair, it is rare for any family to have perfect interactions all the time.
Family relationships can be an inherent advantage or disadvantage to overall business performance and succession planning. Ineffective interaction breaks down harmony, collaboration, and ultimately trust within the business. It also creates tension when it comes to family getting together outside of work. There is a silver lining here. You can have less stress going into family gatherings this holiday season, while also enjoying your time together in the office.
Sounds too good to be true? It is not! When families that work together in business develop the policies and procedures for working together, they experience family harmony in the workplace and at family gatherings. Some of our legacy clients have even commented how closer their family relationships feel. Imagine going into this holiday season looking forward to spending time with each other, making memories, and enjoying the togetherness.
For many business owners Covid-19 highlighted the importance of family and community. Although the pandemic has created more anxiety and stress, it has in its own way forced us to spend more time together, even when we did not want to. This has created some new challenges or for some hypersensitized already existing conflicts to a point where some business owners have questioned if being in business with the family even makes sense anymore.
This led us to a series of discussions with a variety of subject matter experts who work with business owners where family is involved, both directly and indirectly. In this “Burning Questions” series, common themes emerged from experts across different disciplines.
The first was the importance of clear communication. But what was also shared was the importance of agreeing on expectations, creating policies and procedures for involvement with the business, and even talking through long-term vision and strategies for growth. Another way to bridge the gap to find harmony with family and business is to ensure you are developing a culture within your organization that supports family. Our founder, Loyd Rawls shared his perspective on running a family-owned business and the importance he placed on culture in this podcast series.
Each business faces unique challenges. However, conflict is common with family and business. We like to say that no business is worth the loss of family, and therefore it’s critical to build the foundation to ensure you protect the family core and relationships. You can have your family and the business collectively and look forward to getting together during the holidays. We know, we have been doing it for more than 45 years.