Building resilience will help you manage family disputes

By Doug Baumoel, Blair Trippe

Family businesses present a high probability of experiencing conflict, given the complex intersection of business, ownership and family systems. Conflict can be a serious disruptor of family business. Resilience can help you work with the challenge and can bring you back to stability. Resilience can be built, and building it is critical for success.

Here are four proven ways to nurture resilience in family business:

1. Be deliberate in building strong family connection. A strong family bond makes stakeholders better able to leverage compromise and more committed to change for the better. Building trust helps people consider making decisions outside of their own interests and in the interests of others.

2. Prepare for the journey: Invest in personal and family readiness. Building skills in dispute resolution, having discussions to develop clarity on personal and shared family values, developing empathy and striving toward alignment are all involved in developing resilience in family business. Specialized conflict management trainings for family business can help family groups develop these skills.

3. Define policy, process and organizational structures. Developing clear roles, responsibilities and accountability helps families respond productively during moments of transition or stress. Developing structures such as a family council or an owners’ council contributes to resilience by clarifying roles and offering an appropriate forum for discussions.

4. Look conflict in the eye — and maybe give it a wink. Conflict is inevitable in enterprising families. It is important to overcome fear of conflict, and to approach it as a close but maybe challenging friend. Avoiding conflict often makes it worse.

Related Article: