Family business landmines exist below the surface in every family! Most families know the landmines exist but tiptoe along hoping none of them will go off and cause the business and the family significant damage.
I’ve always liked to say – hope isn’t a strategy!
Every successful family business I have worked with has a leader that realizes the only way to create a strong and sustainable family business is through consistent and well thought-out communication.
Unfortunately for too many families, communication has not been their strong suit! The good news is families can learn to be better communicators when they commit to involving the family in communication skills building and training.
Most families don’t rush excitedly to the communications training. Yet it’s the leader’s job to gently lead the family into the skill building process in a way that is not threatening but inviting. This can happen when the family business leader picks subjects that are not too difficult and daunting for the beginner students.
Families can have fun and engaging dialogue around different personality types and communication styles. It’s important for the family leader to let everyone be heard in the process and make sure the conversations aren’t overly dominated by the strong personalities in the room. Sometimes that requires the family leader to dial back their style to model the new behavior!
The success of the process is contingent upon creating consistency. With every conversation the family learns to listen and interact with each other around important issues like family values, family vision and expectations for participating in the family business.
Play to your family’s potential!