Family Dynamics in Business4 min read

I have a client that has a 98-year-old fourth-generation family-owned business. That’s 3% of the organizations in the world. He’s two years away from being a hundred years old. By the fourth generation, 97% of family-owned companies do not work. So many inconveniences and frustrations in the family dynamics of organizations. I see it all the time.

I’ve worked with husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, husbands with their mom, husbands with their dad, or any different combination you can think of, and they’re almost always some type of internal frustration dynamics that are going on to break down the synergistic culture of the organization.

If these are some of the challenges you’re having as a family-owned business, they need to be addressed. Even though you think by having these meetings and discussions of frustration, in a closed office and not in front of the team. That energy is, unfortunately, seeping out to your entire organization. They’re picking it up, they’re seeing the dysfunction, and that is not how you sustain success.

I will share a couple ofsimple tools that could help combat all these challenges. The first one is behavioral assessments. Most times when I start coaching an organization with these family dynamics, they’ve never done behavioral assessments.

Let’s take an example. You have one brother who’s a DI. D is dominant, I is influencing. The D is in your face, to the point, with no empathy, task-oriented, boom, boom, boom. The SC, C analytical, and S steady, is the complete opposite of the DI. Now, that person doesn’t like confrontation. That person wants to be spoken to a little bit slower. That person is an internal thinker. When a subject comes up, a D can decide in an instant. An SC has to internalize it, think about it, analyze it, and they’re not going to be able to decide on the spot. Now, the D brother may start chastising the SC brother, not knowing his opposite behavior. “It takes you too long to make a decision, quit over-analyzing everything and make a decision.” The other brother’s analyzing him, thinking, you’re so abrupt and in my face. Why do you have to be so rude? And then it becomes me versus you, as they go back and forth; never does anyone understand the actual dynamics going on in this occurrence in the business. This one simple tool not being used or properly understood could lead to a path of disaster.

Another tool I recommend is very simple, roles and responsibilities. Again, another dynamic of families is not everybody has their lanes. The successful companies do, and the non-successful companies don’t. Everyone’s roles and responsibilities are beginning to overlap with the others, one wants to make a decision and the other wants to do it this way. The older member has his or her way of doing things while the younger generation sees it in an entirely different way.

Get clear on exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are, and properly assign the roles and responsibilities to every member. Stay in your lane. Understand each other’s behaviors. Don’t make it personal because it’s all about business.

Finally, and most importantly, you all must get clear and aligned on the outcome of where the organization is going. If you’re not clear or agree exactly where the company’s going. You’re going to consistently squabble about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

However, when all of you are crystal clear on exactly the outcome of what this company stands for, its vision, its mission, and where it’s going and why, all you have to do is consistently focus on the outcome and what we are doing as a team delivering to the outcome.

If you’re an organization that is suffering from some family dynamics that aren’t serving the organization, perhaps you should book a call with me so we can discuss these things, I can help you be more synergistic because let’s face it, there’s nothing stronger than the blood bond of family, but if your business is breaking up that bond, we need to fix that.

Consider taking on an outside influence, someone like myself to see the things you’re not seeing to help you break through these personal family dynamics, to help you implement the strategies, solutions, and systems, to create a synergistic organization that works for everybody. If this is a dynamic you are struggling with, I hope to be speaking to you soon

COACH MICHAEL DILL is an Award-Winning Certified Business Coach, global speaker, and published author. He is a proud Action Coach Franchise partner as well as the President of Power & Ice Wealth Creation a strategic leadership company that works with business owners, leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs to both develop a systematized and structured organization while accelerating their mindset, efficiencies, and effectiveness to grow both personally and professionally to achieve extraordinary results. He brings more than 40 years of business and entrepreneurial experience in his leadership, team training, and mentoring practice. Businesscoachmichaeldill.com