The dynamics of family members working together is anything but simple. Families in business face unique issues that do not challenge other families—or other businesses. Conflicts in a family business may be interpersonal, e.g., between generations, in-laws or siblings; involve decisions that are business-related; or arise from the delicate balance between the sometimes-competing needs of the business and the family.
While the family and the business each has its separate and overlapping needs and interests, family members sometimes have a difficult time achieving a balance between them or keeping them separate. The tension created when family relationships spill over into the workplace or when work-related issues are brought home can strain relationships and undermine the productivity of the business.
Facilitated family business meetings can be help avoid or resolve these conflicts. Facilitated meetings create a collaborative environment encouraging positive family relationships as well as the continued viability of the family business.
Common benefits of a facilitated family business include:
- Separation of family issues from those that are about the business
- Maintaining trust and cooperation among family members
- Strengthening sibling relationships
- Clarifying expectations and values between generations
Mediation is valuable for resolving disputes over responsibilities and roles, shareholder interests and other matters. A skilled mediator helps find common ground among family members, leading to a mutually agreed-upon resolution that satisfies all parties.
Common issues addressed in a family business mediation include:
- Dividend distribution
- Succession planning
- Allocation of responsibilities
- Estate planning
- Family/non-family management conflicts
- Working vs. non-working family members
- Ownership planning
- Family issues /relationships